updated 5/20/2009 11:43:00 AM ET 2009-05-20T15:43:00

An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that media focus on the idea of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, favored by President Barack Obama, is "childish and stupid."

The aide, Ron Dermer, spoke after Netanyahu and his entourage arrived home from Washington.

He denied that he called the two-state concept itself childish and stupid, as he was quoted earlier as an anonymous official briefing reporters on the plane carrying Netanyahu home.

President Barack Obama made it clear that the United States backs creation of a Palestinian state, but Netanyahu has not endorsed the concept. Dermer said focus on the idea of two states for two peoples was "childish and stupid," but he denied describing the concept itself in those terms.

Focusing on Iran
During his talks in Washington, Netanyahu constantly tried to shift emphasis away from the Palestinian issue toward the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. He and Obama publicly disagreed about the relative weight of the two issues.

In a brief statement at Israel's airport on his return, Netanyahu again began with Iran, mentioning the Palestinian issue as third on his list.

Referring to his talks with Obama, Netanyahu said, "There was an agreement that we need to immediately begin the peace process, I said I am willing to open peace talks with the Palestinians, by the way with the Syrians as well, of course without preconditions, but I made it clear that in any peace agreement there must be a solution to Israel's special security needs."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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