Barak heads to U.S. in bid to end settlements row
Defense Minister Ehud Barak was set to head to the United States Monday in a bid to end a quarrel with U.S. President Barack Obama's administration over Israel's refusal to completely halt West Bank settlement construction, Haaretz reported
Barak is expected to propose two potential compromises on the matter: Either a temporary complete settlement freeze, or the limiting of building in settlement blocs to high-rise construction only.
The defense minister, who is also the chairman of the center-left Labor party, will tell Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, that Israel cannot completely halt settlement construction.
Despite this claim, the Israel Defense Forces has banned the settlement of Modi'in Ilit from building hundreds of new homes.The decision by the GOC Central Command, Major General Gadi Shamni, which was approved by Barak, pertains to two new neighborhoods in the ultra-Orthodox settlement.