Netanyahu presented Clinton with a sketch illustrating the long bureaucratic process entailed in securing building permits for houses in Israel, including in Jerusalem. He described a process consisting of dozens of stages, including ones that many Israeli government ministers are not adept at.
Netanyahu explained that each stage has the potential of sparking an international controversy, trying to demonstrate the origin of the diplomatic crisis which erupted between the US and Israel last week.
Netanyahu told Clinton that he cannot guarantee that similar crises won't happen in the future, regardless of the prime minister's political stance on Jerusalem.
During the meeting, Clinton and Netanyahu tried to find ways of speedily advancing towards direct talks.
The Israeli stance as presented is that Israel is willing to hold immediate direct negotiations and that the US administration should recognize that the Palestinians do not help advance the process, and on several occasions have even stalled it.
After the meeting Netanyahu met US Vice President Joe Biden for dinner.
The prime minister is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama on Tuesday for what was described by the White House spokesman as a "private meeting."