(JTA) — President Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss talks with the Palestinians.
The conversation took place late Monday morning, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
“They discussed how best to work together to achieve comprehensive peace ... in particular by making full use of substantive proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians and transitioning to direct negotiations as soon as possible,” Gibbs said. Proximity talks are to start this week. They were derailed in March when Israel announced a housing start in eastern Jerusalem during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit.
The Obama administration has sought to tamp down the resulting tensions.
Israel and the United States favor direct talks. The Palestinians insist on indirect talks, demanding a total freeze on settlement and building in Jerusalem as a condition for direct talks.
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