WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington on Tuesday stepped up pressure on visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt Jewish settlements in the West Bank as a step to revive the peace process with the Palestinians. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a Press conference to drive home the US position on the settlements, and the issue was raised directly with Netanyahu earlier by Senator John Kerry during a visit to the US Congress. The president (Barack Obama) was very clear yesterday in his statement that he wants to see a stop to the settlements, Clinton told reporters. Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she told Israels Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States wants a stop to Jewish settlements in the West Bank. I hosted a dinner for Prime Minister Netanyahu later in the day at the State Department and we reiterated that that is the position and policy of the United States government. After meeting with Kerry, Netanyahu said he wanted to renew the Palestinian peace process immediately, in tandem with an effort to gain backing from Arab states for efforts to counter Irans nuclear ambitions. We have a unique historical circumstance in that Israel and many of our Arab neighbors understand the threat posed by Irans quest to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, Netanyahu said. We intend to pursue the peace track independently of what happens in Iran, but in point of fact it should be done in parallel, he said after a meeting with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was encouraged by the meeting but directly raised the issue of Jewish settlements with Netanyahu.I reemphasized to the prime minister the importance of Israel moving forward especially in respect to the settlements issue, Kerry said with Netanyahu at his side. We also emphasized that this is not a one way street and the burden is not only on Israel to take all the steps, he said. He said it was vital that the Arab world also takes steps to indicate its willingness to contribute to the progress on the road towards peace. The Israeli prime minister made the rounds of Congress a day after a White House meeting with President Barack Obama in which the two appeared at odds in their approaches to Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. However, Netanyahu told Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner he saw an American consensus regarding the special relationship we have between Israel and the United States. We face opportunities and challenge. The challenge is the potential arming of Iran with nuclear weapons capabilities. That is a great danger to all of us, warned Netanyahu. The prime minister said he would pursue the advancement of peace between us and the Palestinians omitting talk of a Palestinian state as well as normal relations with the broader Arab world. We have to do this in tandem, said Netanyahu. I was very encouraged to learn that this is the American policy. Were going to try to do it together, because if we do it together well get a lot further, a lot faster. Pelosi and Boehner, at odds over major issues of domestic policy and bitter foes in the dispute over alleged US torture, underlined the consensus in the US Congress over the need to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. The question of Iran is one that is of concern to us in Congress, said Pelosi. It is an issue for the world. It is important for all of us to work together to be sure that Iran does not develop a weapon of mass destruction. Pelosi noted the goal of a two-state solution but I emphasize the word 'solution. It must be a solution that provides for a democratic Jewish state of Israel living side by side with her Palestinian neighbors. Boehner said that what happens with regard to dealing with the Palestinians is of concern to all of us. And I think we share, as the speaker said, a mutual concern about the development of nuclear weapons in Israel I mean in Iran. We have no closer ally and friend anywhere in the world than the state of Israel, said the Republican leader. Pelosi assured Netanyahu that US lawmakers aimed to shine a bright light on the plight of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held in Gaza since Palestinian militants seized him in a June 2006 raid. The California Democrat said his captors should know that he has many friends in the Congress of the United States and we are concerned about his freedom.