WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama is meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday at the White House — his first meeting with the Israeli leader since the recent spat over Israel's announcement of new housing construction for east Jerusalem.
However, the afternoon meeting will be closed to reporters, an unusual choice when hosting a close ally and a sign that suggested the rift may not be entirely healed.
Obama has remained out of the fray as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton and other US officials have rebuked Israel for its announcement
of new construction in Jerusalem, which came while Vice President Joe
Biden was visiting the country. It embarrassed Biden, a staunch
supporter of Israel, and led to new stress in relations between
Washington and its top Middle Eastern ally.
On Monday, Clinton
and Netanyahu presented dueling positions on Jerusalem construction
while simultaneously suggesting the incident is behind them.