Jerusalem Western Wall, Dome of the Rock 521.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hard as it is to believe, releasing 26 vicious murderers for the dubious privilege of resuming “peace” talks may not have been the worst outrage our government perpetrated last week. Equally appalling was the sudden announcement, after months of an undeclared freeze on planning and construction in Jerusalem and the major settlement blocs, of plans for almost 2,100 new homes in these areas. In other words, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the world he considers Israeli construction in its capital city so illegitimate that he dare not do it unless accompanied by an egregious concession like freeing Palestinian murderers.Last Sunday, the Housing Ministry announced plans to issue tenders for 793 homes in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem and 394 in the settlement blocs. Last Monday, the Interior Ministry gave final approval to plans for 900 homes in East Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. And last Tuesday, 26 killers went home to heroes’ welcomes in the Palestinian Authority. The connection would be glaringly obvious even to someone who didn’t know that construction in Jerusalem had hitherto been frozen since the start of the year, as Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Lieberman publicly admitted in June. The Gilo plan, for instance, had been ready since December, but the Interior Ministry postponed approving it under pressure from Netanyahu’s office.