The Obama administration on Monday harshly criticized its top Mideast ally, Israel, over new settlement construction plans in areas the Palestinians claim for a future state and urged it to rethink them.

The White House and State Department said the plans run counter to longstanding U.S. policy, particularly as they relate to a sensitive piece of land outside Jerusalem known as E1.

“We reiterate our long standing opposition to Israeli settlement activity and East Jerusalem construction,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “We oppose all unilateral actions, including settlement activity and housing construction as they complicate efforts to resume direct, bilateral negotiations and risk prejudging the outcome of those negotiations and this including building in the so called E-1 area.”