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

Yesterday Defense Ministry officials said Peretz was not asked to involve himself in the decision by the Supreme Planning Council for Judea and Samaria to legalize the project, and in any event was not partner to the "laundering" of the plan, which was frozen by the High Court of Justice over a year ago.

Following the report in yesterday'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.