Max Blumenthal puts the lie to the claim that the interior minister surprised Netanyahu with his announcement of further settlements with this report on a hoedown with John Hagee and Netanyahu on the eve of Biden’s visit, in which there was endless talk of further settlements:
Vice President Joe Biden was greeted in Jerusalem with the announcement that the Israeli Interior Ministry approved the construction of 1600 new homes in Occupied East Jerusalem contrary to U.S. wishes and complicating Biden’s mission to help jump start the peace process. But Biden should have known that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu intended to upset his plans by Netanyahu’s appearance with John Hagee.
The day after a series of talks between US Special Envoy for the Middle East George Mitchell and Netanyahu, and a day before Biden’s arrival, Netanyahu appeared onstage with Pastor John Hagee in Jerusalem. The occasion was Hagee’s Night To Honor Israel, an event the far-right Texas-based preacher arranged to tout his ministry’s millions in donations to Israeli organizations and to level bellicose rhetoric against Israel’s perceived enemies…
Hagee’s ceremony featured a 15-minute film highlighting the recipients of donations from John Hagee Ministries that totaled $58 million since 2001. The recipients included Jewish settlements from the West Bank like Gush Etzion and Shomron, which was involved in promoting an “Obama Hilltop project” that promoted more settlement building and compared Obama to Pharoah.