Mr Netanyahu’s statements angered the White House, even though he has since tried to soften his remark.
Tensions between the US and Israel have been growing as the leaders have wrangled over a number of issues.
But Mr Obama described his relationship with Mr Netanyahu as “businesslike.”
“I’ve met with him more than any other world leader,” the president said claiming their personal relationship was not a major factor in the dispute. “He is representing his country’s interests the way he thinks he needs to, and I’m doing the same.”
“So the issue is not a matter of relations between leaders; the issue is a very clear, substantive challenge,” he said. “This can’t be reduced to a matter of somehow let’s all hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’.”
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