I’m no expert on the Middle East, but it sure looks like the Israeli government trying to send the U.S. a signal. From the pool report, we were told Biden’s plane left for Jerusalem at 8:30 PM EST and arrived at 4:08 Israeli time (seven hours ahead of EST.) So, the Israel government made this announcement while the Veep was on his way:
Israel authorized the construction of 112 new apartments in the West Bank despite a pledge to slowdown settlement building, the government disclosed Monday — a decision that enraged the Palestinians a day after they reluctantly agreed to resume peace talks.
Word of the new construction in Beitar Illit came amid a flurry of activity by the US to try to salvage peacemaking.
US Vice President Joseph Biden is due to land later Monday on the highest-level visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories by an Obama administration official. Washington’s special envoy to the Mideast, George Mitchell, is also meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.