Washington (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly emphasized the strength and durability of ties between their two countries Tuesday - part of an effort to dispel the notion that relations between the United States and Israel have frayed in recent months.
They said they had discussed new steps that can be taken to revitalize a Middle East peace process that many observers believe has recently stalled.
The two leaders also took aim at Iran, highlighting common efforts to prevent that country from acquiring a nuclear arsenal.
The meeting - their fifth since Netanyahu took office last spring - took place at the White House against a backdrop of speculation that the two leaders are increasingly at odds on a range of key issues.
Washington (CNN) – Middle East peace talks will be the focus when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Obama on Tuesday, officials from both countries said.
Right now, Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas aren't talking directly. They are communicating only through U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who serves as a go-between for negotiations.
Netanyahu told Israeli Cabinet officials Sunday that he was ready to meet with Abbas at any time.
Listen: CNN Radio's Bob Costantini speaks with Aylaya Hasson, a diplomatic analyst from Israeli TV, about the upcoming meeting.
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Washington (CNN) – The White House says President Obama will attempt to "seize momentum" in the Middle East peace process when he sits down Tuesday morning for a rescheduled Oval office meeting with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"The gaps have narrowed," said Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications.
In a conference call briefing ahead of the long anticipated meeting, Rhodes and Dan Shapiro, NSC Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said the meeting would focus on how to move proximity talks to direct talks, and on the recent "liberalization" of Israel's policy on commercial traffic into Gaza.
Washington (CNN) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will next meet with President Barack Obama in Washington on July 6 for talks originally planned for earlier this month, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
Emanuel told ABC's "This Week" program that Netanyahu's fifth visit of the Obama administration would discuss the Middle East peace process and other regional issues.
Netanyahu had been scheduled to meet with Obama in Washington on June 1, but the Israeli prime minister postponed the trip after Israel's military raid on an aid flotilla headed to blockaded Gaza resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists aboard one of the ships.
(CNN) – (CNN) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has canceled this week's scheduled meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli government officials said Monday. The two leaders were slated to meet Tuesday during a visit by Netanyahu to Washington.
Netanyahu also decided to cut short a visit to Canada and return to Israel, according to an e-mail statement from his media adviser.
Netanyahu's cancellation of the meeting came in the wake of international condemnation of Israel after Israeli soldiers stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid intended for Palestinians in Gaza, leaving at least nine people dead in the resulting violence.
Israel claimed it was defending itself, with the Israel Defense Forces saying the soldiers' lives were in danger after they were attacked with "severe physical violence, including live fire, weapons, knives and clubs."
Several nations, however, have condemned the military action and called for an investigation.
Obama spoke on the phone with Netanyahu Monday morning, according to a statement from the White House press office. He "said he understood the prime minister's decision to return immediately to Israel to deal with today's events ... (and) agreed to reschedule their meeting at the first opportunity."
Washington (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week, according to a White House official.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama spoke by phone Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the Middle East peace process, including how to get to direct peace talks "as soon as possible," the White House announced.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the 20-minute phone call discussed "how best to work together to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East, in particular by making full use of substantive proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians and transitioning to direct negotiations as soon as possible."
"They also discussed regional challenges, and the president reaffirmed his unshakable commitment to Israel's security," Gibbs said.
(CNN) – Obama administration's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, returned to the region Thursday, even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that "there will be no freeze" on construction opposed by Palestinians and the United States.
Mitchell's visit comes in the wake of talks this week that included U.S., Israeli and Palestinian officials.
"At the end of those discussions last night, we thought it was fruitful for George to travel to the region," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. He provided no details.
(CNN) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed the Obama administration that he will not attend President Obama's nuclear security summit in Washington next week, according to a senior U.S. official familiar with the situation.
The move could be a sign of further tension between the United States and Israel and may distract from the Obama administration's attempts to highlight the unprecedented nature of a 46-nation summit aimed at reducing nuclear weapons.
The Israeli government is sending Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor in Netanyahu's place, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer announced Thursday.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for more than three hours Tuesday evening amid a dispute over Israel's decision to build new Jewish housing on disputed land in East Jerusalem.
The Obama administration has pushed to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and has called on Israel to stop building settlements on territory it captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Netanyahu's meeting at the White House came the day after he defended his government's plans to build new housing units in East Jerusalem, a move that has strained ties with Israel's largest ally.
The Israeli leader arrived after a show of solidarity with leaders of Congress from both parties, during which he thanked the U.S. lawmakers for their "constant support" and "unflagging" friendship.
"Even though the challenges are immense, our will and our partnership is also immense," Netanyahu said at an appearance with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.