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Keep U.S.-Israel disputes private, House majority says

WASHINGTON (JTA) — More than half the members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed onto a letter urging President Obama to keep his disputes with Israel out of the public eye.

The letter, initiated recently by a bipartisan slate of leaders, including U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the House majority leader, and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the minority leader, says that "differences are best resolved quietly, in trust and confidence, as befits longstanding strategic allies."

Some 295 of the 431 sitting House members had signed the letter as of March 25. The letter was part of the package for which thousands of activists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee had been lobbying March 23 in their annual Capitol Hill lobbying blitz, which followed AIPAC’s annual policy conference.

Tensions have flared over the past two weeks between the administrations of President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after Israel announced plans for 1,600 new housing units in a Jewish neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem during a visit to Israel by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden aimed at underscoring close U.S.-Israel ties. 

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