Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has moved to soften the Washington's tough rhetoric over Israel's announcement that it will build 1,600 new settler homes.
At home, the White House has been criticised by US legislators and pro-Israel lobby groups for its harsh stance towards Israel.
And abroad, the Obama administration wants to avoid being seen to favour Israel, for fear of possible international backlash that could hurt its foreign policy agenda.
Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports.
Source: Al Jazeera