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Officials Deny Peretz Involved in Okaying Modi'in Illit Construction

Following Haaretz report, U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv probing legality of new settlement neighborhood.

Defense Ministry officials denied Sunday that Defense Minister Amir Peretz was asked to involve himself in the decision by the Supreme Planning Council for Judea and Samaria to legalize the construction of the Matityahu East neighborhood of the settlement of Modi'in Illit.

The officials said that in any event Peretz was not partner to the "laundering" of the plan, which was frozen by the High Court of Justice over a year ago.

The head of the Civil Administration, who is subordinate to Peretz, must sign the development plan for the Matityahu East neighborhood of the settlement of Modi'in Illit for it to be legal.

Following the report in Sunday's Haaretz on the council's decision, the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv launched an investigation into its legality, including an examination of claims by residents of the adjacent Palestinian village of Bil'in that the course of the separation barrier was coordinated with the construction plan.