Dozens of House Republicans on Friday demanded that President Barack Obama explain and clarify recent reports that say his administration is considering new sanctions against Israel.
The Obama administration has repeatedly said it disapproves of Israel's decision to build new homes in east Jerusalem, and that this construction undermines the peace process. But officials on Friday refused to confirm or deny reports that they are considering sanctions against Israel.
A letter sent Friday to Obama by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and 44 other House Republicans demanded more clarity than what's been offered so far.
"Recent reports suggest that your administration has held classified meetings over the past several weeks to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions against Israel for its decision to construct homes in East Jerusalem," it said. "We urge you and your administration to clarify these reports immediately."
"Israel is one of our strongest allies, and the mere notion that the Administration would unilaterally impose sanctions against Israel is not only unwise, but is extremely worrisome," it added. "Such reports send a clear message to our friends and enemies alike that such alliances with the United States government can no longer be unquestionably trusted."
The letter also said Congress has not given the White House any authority to sanction Israel, and in fact just passed legislation this week — by a unanimous vote — to boost U.S.-Israel security ties.
"While it is our hope that these reports are untrue, the fact that your administration has failed to denounce or clarify them is deeply troubling," the letter said. "We urge you to quickly and sharply address these concerns, as well as take the steps necessary to demonstrate America's unwavering support for Israel."