By Amie Parnes
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Friday would not discuss whether the Obama administration is considering sanctions against Israel for ongoing settlement construction in East Jerusalem.
While Earnest reaffirmed the strong bond between the two nations, he called the settlements "illegitimate" and said the U.S. was deeply concerned about the settlement activity.
But he refused to go any further, saying he was "not willing to talk about" backroom discussions.
The comments follow recent news reports that said administration officials have held internal discussions in recent weeks on possible sanctions.
On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also refused to answer questions about the internal conversations at the White House and Foggy Bottom.