Top U.S. and Israeli officials are downplaying perceived tensions
between the two countries, following last week's closed meeting in
Washington between President Barack Obama and Israel's Prime Minister
White House senior adviser David Axelrod says Tuesday's talks between
Mr. Netanyahu and President Obama were a "working meeting among
friends." He says there was "no snub (disrespect) intended."
Mr. Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday that Israel and the U.S. are "allies and friends" who can work out their differences.
He distanced himself from comments in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, where sources close to the prime minister said President Obama is a "disaster" for Israel.
The prime minister told the Cabinet the comments were "unacceptable."
Israel has rejected U.S. pressure to end construction of Jewish housing
in East Jerusalem, occupied after a 1967 war, insisting that the entire
city is its capital.
Palestinians want mainly Arab East Jerusalem as their capital for a future state.
The U.S. is trying to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and wants
Israel to stop building 1,600 new settler homes in East Jerusalem.
Israel announced the settlement expansion plan as U.S. Vice President
Joe Biden visited the country this month.
The divide has embroiled the two countries in what some diplomats
describe as the worst crisis between Israel and the United States in
In a related development, the Arab League concluded its summit Sunday
in Libya with an expression of frustration about the peace process.
Secretary General Amr Moussa said Arabs are fed up with the process and
called on Israel to change its behavior in Jerusalem and the Occupied
Territories to prove it is serious about peace.