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Netanyahu: Israel, U.S. advancing ‘common interests’

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and the United States are working to advance "common interests," Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The Israeli prime minister at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting spoke about this week’s "important" visits to Israel by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Middle East special envoy George Mitchell and National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones.

Netanyahu said the visits are being held as part of a tight network of links between Israel and the United States "that has existed in the past and will to continue to exist in the present."

"Our common interests encompass all the main areas of bilateral cooperation," he said. "I believe that such an intensive continuity in contacts with the U.S. reflects our common denominator in the search for security stability, economic development, diplomatic progress and other strategic issues. This network of relations is important and steadfast."

Netanyahu downplayed differences between Israel and the United States on issues such as a freeze in settlement construction.

"Naturally, even within the fabric of friendly bilateral relations between two allies, there will not be full agreement on every point," the Israeli leader said. "On various issues, we are trying to reach the same understanding so that together we may advance our common goals — peace, security and prosperity for the entire Middle East."
 

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