Netanyahu downplays rift with Obama

Netanyahu downplays rift with Obama

"The disagreement has been blown way out of proportion," Netanyahu was quoted as saying by his spokesman, a day after the Israeli leader slammed Obama's vision for Middle East peace as "based on illusions."

"It is true we have some differences of opinions, but they are differences among friends," Netanyahu said.

In a dramatic Oval Office appearance, after 90 minutes of talks on Friday, Netanyahu emphatically rejected a call from Obama on Israel to accept a return to territorial lines in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, with mutual land swaps with Palestinians to frame a secure peace.

"While Israel is prepared to make generous compromises for peace, it cannot go back to the 1967 lines -- because these lines are indefensible," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu is in Washington for a six-day trip that will also see him give a speech to the powerful Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) before a joint address to Congress next week, to which he was invited by Republican leaders who support his position.