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Israel reportedly to propose limited settlement freeze

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel would accept a complete freeze on settlement building for a limited amount of time, The New York Times reported.

Senior Israeli officials are quoted in the article, which appeared Monday, as saying that Israel would propose a freeze of three to six months as part of a broader deal including a Palestinian agreement to negotiate and confidence-building steps by Arab countries.

The potential settlement freeze proposal comes as Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak left Israel for the United States for a meeting Tuesday with Obama administration Mideast envoy George Mitchell.

The offer, under which no construction could start in any settlement, including the close-in blocs, suggests that American pressure is having some effect, according to the Times.

Since the issue is very controversial in Israel, the officials would not agree to be named, according to the Times.

Ha’aretz reported that Barak also could propose limiting building in settlement blocs to high-rise construction.

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