The leaders of Israel and the United States will meet Tuesday at the White House for the first time since a bitter dispute surfaced between the two allies about Israeli housing plans.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama will hold talks, several weeks after Israel announced plans to build 1,600 new housing units in disputed East Jerusalem.
The two men will try to ease tensions and revive indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to be mediated by the United States.
The United States has condemned Israel's housing plan in East Jerusalem. Israel announced the plan while U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting the country, a move the Obama administration called an "insult."
Tuesday's meeting will come one day after Mr. Netanyahu said Jerusalem is Israel's capital, not a settlement, and that Israel will keep building there.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday the Israelis and Palestinians must ultimately resolve their disagreements about Jerusalem through direct negotiations. He said both sides will have to compromise on Jerusalem, refugees, borders and other issues.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Israel considers Jerusalem its undivided capital.
Mr. Netanyahu made his remarks Monday in Washington to a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also addressed AIPAC Monday, defending the Obama administration's criticism of Israel's plan to building new housing in East Jerusalem.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told VOA Tuesday that Israel and the Palestinians must refrain from doing anything that undermines peace negotiations.
Mr. Blair is the special envoy for the international Quartet on the Middle East, which includes the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union. The former prime minister said the most important thing now is to get the peace talks started.