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Israel moves forward with settlement construction

  • Story Highlights
  • Houses will be built to relocate the settlers of the illegal outpost of Migron
  • Settlement construction a main point of contention between U.S. and Israel
  • Defense Minister Ehud Barak set for talks in Washington on issue
By Shira Medding
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel plans to build 50 new housing units in an existing West Bank settlement near Jerusalem, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

The houses will be built to relocate the settlers of the illegal outpost of Migron that are to be evicted, the ministry statement said.

Settlement construction has been a main point of contention between U.S. President Barack Obama's administration and the Israeli government.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is scheduled to leave for Washington Monday to meet with Obama's Mideast envoy Tuesday morning.

Barak's visit is a bid to ease the tensions between the Obama administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government over the issue of Israel's refusal to halt all construction in the settlements.

The plan to build 50 units is part of a larger, unapproved project to build 1,450 housing units in the settlement of Adam north of Jerusalem, according to a Defense Ministry document submitted to Israel's high court.

The document was in response to an appeal by Palestinians, whose land Migron sits on.

The ministry approved the building of only 50 units and said the remaining 1,450 units have not yet been approved and may not be.

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