Not Quite Frozen
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to build 455 new homes in the West Bank achieved its primary goal of rallying support from conservative political allies, paving the way for an expected settlement freeze.
"Though the move stoked frustration in the US, Europe, and especially in Arab countries, Netanyahu appears to have reduced the risk of a right-wing rebellion over what is expected to be a temporary building moratorium. While the US hoped that such a freeze would help jumpstart peace negotiations, the Israeli prime minister was concerned it could have triggered the deterioration of his governing coalition...
"The new housing units help hard-liners like Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman argue that the government is actually sidestepping a freeze. 'He said, "We don't mention this word,"' says Tal Nahum, a spokesman for Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party."
The reason this move helps hard-liners argue that the government is sidestepping a freeze is that the government is, in fact, side-stepping a freeze. These units are being added to 2500 others also under construction, meaning that much like Netanyahu has endorsed a Palestinian state that is no state, he's also about to declare a settlement freeze that's still dripping all over the place.
We've seen this movie before, during the 1990's. Netanyahu will talk the language of peace while quietly, or sometimes not so quietly, taking steps that undermine negotiations and prejudice a final settlement. Olmert may have wanted to move dramatically toward peace but was unable to due to his coalition. Netanyahu, however, isn't even that interested in making real moves.
UPDATE: Comment from a friend: "It's just the defrost cycle."