Deliberate timing

August 16, 2013

It’s no surprise that there has been near-universal condemnation of the announcement of further Israeli building in East Jerusalem.

The timing has been criticised as being deliberately provocative, at the beginning of the first talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians since 2010.

But whatever the rights and wrongs of such building (the JC has consistently opposed expansion in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank) the issue is not quite as black and white as the knee-jerk condemnations would have it.

The timing is indeed deliberate. But it is part of a de facto deal. The fact that the announcement came at the same time as the release of the first tranche of Palestinian terrorists is not a mere coincidence. That is the whole point.

It may well seem repugnant to balance an announcement about building work with the release of murderers but that is the deal. The idea is that both sides have been given something to keep them on board. No one ever said that such negotiations are anything other than traumatic.

Last updated: 6:45am, August 16 2013