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A top White House official doubled down on criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech to an American Jewish organization Monday.

Appearing before the annual conference for J Street, a pro-Israel liberal advocacy group, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said that Netanyahu’s new coalition needs to “match words with action” on the Israeli policy toward Palestine.

“An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end, and the Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state,” he said.

On the eve of an election last week, Netanyahu had said that he would not allow a Palestinian state if he was re-elected, though he walked back the comments in an interview on MSNBC after he won.

In his remarks, McDonough argued that a two-state solution would benefit Israel too, allowing it to remain “both Jewish and democratic.”

“I know that you are here because you care deeply about the cause of peace,” he told the crowd. “And your voices are important too – you can help remind people that there is a great constituency for peace; that there are people who believe, as President Obama does, that peace is necessary, peace is just, and – yes – peace is possible.”

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