The US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlement expansion in East Jerusalem, the BBC has learned.
The possibility surfaced at talks in Paris last week between a senior US official and Qatar's foreign minister.
The official said the US would "seriously consider abstaining" if the issue of Israeli settlements was put to the vote, a diplomat told the BBC.
The US usually blocks Security Council resolutions criticising Israel.
But relations between the allies have been severely strained by the announcement of plans to build 1,600 homes in an East Jerusalem settlement during a recent visit to Israel by US Vice-President Joe Biden.
A diplomatic source told the BBC that Qatar's Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Al Thani - who is also the prime minister - had recently met an official high up in the Obama administration during a visit to France.
During their talks, Sheikh Hamad asked the US official whether Washington would guarantee not to veto a UN Security Council resolution that was critical of Israel's ongoing settlement construction in East Jerusalem.
The diplomat said the US official had replied that the current feeling in Washington was that they would "seriously consider abstention".
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