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Netanyahu Meets With Obama Amid Settlement Row

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu talks to reporters before a meeting earlier in the day with Congressional leaders including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured). Obama and Netanyahu did not appear together after their meeting.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has held talks at the White House with U.S. President Barack Obama amid mutual tensions over Israeli plans to expand Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

In a sign of the tensions between the two governments, Obama and Netanyahu did not pose for news photographs or speak to reporters.

Officials said Obama and Netanyahu held two separate meetings for a total of some two hours. No official statement was released on the content of the discussions or if there had been any agreements.

Ahead of the March 23 meeting with Obama, Netanyahu said during a meeting with U.S. Congressional leaders that the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians could be further delayed by up to another year over Palestinian demands for a full freeze on Israeli settlement building.

Israel's announcement two weeks ago that it plans to build 1,600 new apartment homes in East Jerusalem triggered criticism from the Obama administration and led to the Palestinians delaying indirect U.S.-mediated peace talks with Israel.

Israeli reports on March 23 said Israeli authorities had given approval to a separate plan to build 20 homes for Jews on the site of a defunct hotel in East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state, while Israel says all of Jerusalem is its capital.