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Netanyahu hits defiant note ahead of visit with Obama

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What has shifted since the height of the controversy, when the Israeli government announced March 9 that it was building new housing for Jews in East Jerusalem – a unexpected declaration made in the midst of a visit to Israel by Vice President Joe Biden – is that Netanyahu says he has made a commitment to better coordination with the White House.

The announcement of the Jerusalem housing units, Netanyahu said, took even him by surprise. Nonetheless, he reiterated Sunday that he will not curtail controversial building projects in East Jerusalem, dispelling media expectation that he might announce a hold on the projects.

"I believed it would be of great importance for these things not to remain in the context of commentary or speculation. I subsequently wrote a letter, at my own initiative, to the secretary of state [Hillary Clinton] so that things would be crystal clear," Netanyahu also said in the meeting.

An official in Netanyahu's office said that, to prevent further crisis like the one the US and Israel just endured, there will be a "mechanism set in place that will prevent surprises."

Heated rhetoric cools

The heated tenor of the US-Israel relationship, which some have characterized as being at its most intense in two decades, seems to have cooled off somewhat in recent days.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday called her last talk with Netanyahu "useful and productive," a shift from the previous week's airing of frustrations.

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