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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, shakes hands with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell during their meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday. ((Dan Balilty/Reuters))

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank on Tuesday morning.

Mitchell pressed Netanyahu during their meeting in Jerusalem to stop building Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as a step toward bringing a comprehensive peace to the Middle East.

Netanyahu maintains Israel must continue some construction to allow for the "natural growth" of the settler population.

Emerging after two hours, both sides claimed progress but gave no details.

"We've made good progress and we look forward to reaching comprehensive peace," Mitchell told reporters at a news conference. Netanyahu echoed this hope and invited Mitchell back for another meeting next month.

Meanwhile, groups of Jewish settlers protesting against Mitchell's visit were establishing new illegal outposts in the West Bank.

About 200 Jewish settlers arrived near the West Bank town of Tulkarm and set up an illegal outpost, which is one of 11 being planned.