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The Journal Gazette

Monday, February 11, 2013 7:12 am

Israel advances plan to build in Jewish settlement

By DANIEL ESTRINAssociated Press

An Israeli official says the government has given final approval for construction of 90 new homes in a West Bank settlement, a move that could cause tensions with the U.S. ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to the region.

The official says the homes were first announced last year in an agreement with Jewish settlers in exchange for evacuating an unauthorized West Bank outpost. The government published its final approval on Sunday.

The official spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Anti-settlement activist Hagit Ofran says construction could begin within weeks. That means the work could coincide with Obama's visit.

Obama has criticized settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories claimed by the Palestinians.