The U.S. and Israeli teams issued a three-sentence statement describing little more than a “good atmosphere” hours after President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met privately for 90 minutes.
Netanyahu is in Washington with a large team of advisers in a bid to end tensions with the Obama administration sparked two weeks ago when Israel announced a major housing start in eastern Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Joe Biden aimed at underscoring the close U.S.-Israel relationship and restarting peace talks. U.S. officials called the announcement an “insult” and Palestinians backed out of the “proximity” talks.
The Obama administration is pressing for a total settlement freeze. Netanyahu says building in all parts of Jerusalem will continue.