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Why a young Israeli woman spies on Israeli settlements in West Bank

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Israel's conservative government now faces a crucial decision over whether or not to extend a 10-month partial freeze on settlement building that expires in September. The Obama administration is pressing for the freeze to remain in place, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition partners want it scrapped to enable a wave of new building.

''If it is not extended then the freeze may have delayed a few hundred sites for months, but it will not have caused a real change,'' Ofran says.''If work is restarted it might mean that the chances of peace are doomed, at least with this government.''

A fluent Arabic speaker, Ofran sometimes is tipped off by Palestinians about new settler building. She pores over aerial photos commissioned by Peace Now, whose settlement watch unit is funded partly by the governments of Britain and Norway, and garners information from planning meetings and official documents.

In March, Ofran learned from the Jerusalem municipality's website that officials had given permits for settler building at the Shepherds Hotel site in East Jerusalem, which is predominantly Arab. She did not keep the information to herself – though she's tight-lipped about her exact role.

Embarrassingly for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, news of the new settlement project broke just before he was to meet President Obama at the White House, contributing to the frostiness of that encounter.

Ofran's detractors, challenges

Danny Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council that represents most of the half-million Israelis who have moved to the West Bank, accuses Ofran of serving foreign interests.

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