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Obama, Netanyahu meet at White House

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., looks on during a photo opportunity on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 23, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., looks on during a photo opportunity on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 23, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 23 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama met Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who earlier thanked members of Congress for supporting Israel.

Obama and Netanyahu met for three hours at the White House, CNN reported. The meeting came amid tensions between Washington and Tel Aviv over Israel's decision to build new Jewish housing in disputed parts of East Jerusalem -- a decision the Obama administration has urged Israel to reconsider.

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The White House is trying to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu met Tuesday with congressional leaders and thanked them for their "constant support" and "unflagging" friendship, CNN said.

"Even though the challenges are immense, our will and our partnership is also immense," he said during an appearance with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Pelosi told reporters the United States is "committed to advancing the peace process, preserving Israel's security, responsible sanctions against Iran," which has been sanctioned for its nuclear development program.

Boehner said the United States has "no stronger ally anywhere in the world than Israel and we all know that we're in a difficult moment, but I'm glad the prime minister is here ... so we can have an open and straightforward dialogue about how we can provide more security for our friends in Israel and do everything we can to make sure that the Iranians have no ability to develop a nuclear weapon."

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