Combined with last week's announcement, the decision authorizes a total of 5,500 new homes in Israel's biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.
Apparently, the US is reasserting its presence in the Middle East - in partnership with Russia. The move effectively coronates Putin as the superpower sovereign of the Middle East. Putin, in turn, and for now, is shutting down Iran and its proxies in Syria.
Yesterday the world learned that Iran recently tested a missile with a payload comparable to a nuclear warhead. Taking to Twitter, Netanyahu called the test "a flagrant violation of the [UN] Security Council." Six thousand miles away, another Twitter user responded. Trump and his new ambassador to the UN have called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council. They are meeting today.
Ammonia, an essential ingredient for life, could kill thousands of Israelis. The reason: its ammonia supply in northern Israel is a sitting duck for an attack by Hezbollah. Less than a year ago, Hezbollah leader, Nasralla, threatened the Haifa facility, calling it his "atomic bomb." It remains an obvious target.
There are two huge markets, mostly undeveloped, that are opening up to Israel: China and India. While the Western world largely ignores them, Israel is pursuing these Asian countries in the East where, in general, there is a unique openness to the Jewish state.
As the US and Europe struggle with the growing phenomena of fundamentalist Islamic terror, most are failing to maintain both parts of a duel responsibility: protect citizens from terror — and from racism. Israel is keenly aware of these obligations and the tension between them. Its struggle to honor that tension, without denying or rejecting either part, is ongoing. From that conscious struggle, Europe and the US have a lot to learn.
It would be a mistake to think there is, or will be, smooth sailing between Jerusalem and Trump's new administration in Washington D.C. When Netanyahu meets with the new US president, he will have four pressing concerns.
Why is Trump sending mixed messages about moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? Probably because Israel is asking him to take a different approach to regional peace. If so, it is likely Netanyahu is asking Trump to wait. There are bigger issues at stake.
During his first week at work, President Trump has not been idle regarding Israel and the Middle East. He is halting Obama's transfer of $221 million to the PA, working with Putin to oust Iran from Syria, and, in spite of reports to the contrary, still intends to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Apparently, Trump and Putin have done more than greet one another on the phone. According to DEBKAfile, they have struck a deal regarding Syria. Under that deal, Iran and its proxies must depart, leaving the US in charge of security along Syria's border with Israel. On the other hand, it solidifies Russia's presence in the Middle East. Moscow is not about to leave.