In this Sept. 30, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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President Barack Obama said he takes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "at his word" for saying that an independent Palestinian state will never co-exist with Israel as long as he is in office, yet another sign of the strained relations between longtime allies.Netanyahu has backpedaled since he stunned the U.S. and the international community by announcing that dramatic policy reversal on the eve of his re-election Tuesday. But in his first public comments on the election outcome, Obama suggested that he does not believe the Israeli leader's softer position on the Palestinian state issue. Tensions between the Obama administration and Netanyahu escalated as the March 17 Israeli elections neared.Obama also criticized Netanyahu for saying as the election neared that Arab voters were heading to the polls "in droves".
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