The United States has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning as "illegal" Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory.
All other 14 council members voted in favor of the Arab-sponsored resolution.
The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the veto did not mean Washington supports Jewish settlements.
But Rice said the resolution would hurt efforts to restart peace talks between the two sides.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, speaking on behalf of Britain, France, and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The Palestinians said the U.S. veto of the Arab-sponsored resolution harmed the cause of peace by letting Israel escape its obligations.
Israel welcomed the veto, saying in a statement that it deeply appreciated the Obama administration decision.
It was the first U.S. veto cast by the Obama administration.
compiled from agency reports