Fifty New Units in East Talpiot

On April 10th – Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom HaShoah) in Israel, and coinciding with the visit to Israel by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – new Israeli Minister of Housing Uri Ariel announced the approval of 50 new residential units in East Talpiot, an Israeli settlement neighborhood (located across the Green Line) (also see the report from Arutz Sheva).

Under normal circumstances, the decision to approve these new units would likely not have merited a public announcement, nor would the approval have garnered much attention.  While the new units are across the Green Line, they are basically the expansion of an existing senior care facility in the area and do not represent a major change to the status quo on the ground.

Why, then, the announcement and the press attention?  The hook for Ariel was Holocaust Memorial day – according to Ariel’s announcement the units will be for holocaust survivors. It was also a way to poke a finger in Kerry’s eye.