Ehud Barak is in the United States for talks with the Obama administration. In a statement Tuesday, he criticized the Jerusalem municipality for not exercising "common sense" and "a sense of timing."
The plan to make room for an Israeli tourist center could raise tensions in the divided city and deepen a conflict with the Americans. The Obama administration has already condemned the plan.
In March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressured Jerusalem's mayor to hold up the plan so authorities could consult with Palestinians who would lose their homes. The delay appeared designed to fend off U.S. criticism.