Peace Now founder Tzali Reshef has vocally condemned Israel’s recent authorization of new construction in southeastern Jerusalem. Following a recent debate, however, it was revealed that Reshef’s own company also builds in the same controversial region.
Last week, Reshef participated in a televised debate with Dani Dayan, entrepreneur and former chairman of the Judea and Samaria Council of Jewish Communities (Yesha Council), on Israel’s Channel 2.
The topic of the debate was the recently announced approval of a construction plan in Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood, an area outside the 1949 armistice lines. The plan, which has been in the works since 2012, includes building residential and commercial spaces for both Jews and Arabs.
It has come under criticism from several governments, including the US, EU, France and Germany, which accused Israel of undermining peace efforts with the Palestinians, who want the land in question for a future state.
It was Reshef’s Peace Now organization which drew public attention to the construction plan, timed to coincide with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House and illicit maximum international disapproval.
The organization admits on its website, “The truth is that there is no private Palestinian land in this plan. The lands included in the plan are state lands and tenders to these plans will be published by the state, similarly to the case in Har Homa, Gilo, Ramot and other neighborhoods.”
That does not stop the organization from decrying the plan, however.
During his debate with Dayan, Reshef called the construction an “abomination”, saying it sabotaged peace efforts and was thus unpatriotic. Yet, Dayan told JewishPress.com in an interview, “I was shocked to discover the day after our debate that Reshef’s company, Arledan, actually initiated construction projects in Gilo and French Hill – two [other] major neighborhoods located over the ‘Green Line’.” Reshef is head of Arledan Investments, Ltd and its subsidiary, Keter Publishing House.
Arledan makes no secret of its projects in these neighborhoods. According to the company’s website, “Arledan acts as a developer with regard to properties it owns, and also rents out various commercial and residential properties, primarily in the city of Jerusalem. Some of the projects Arledan has successfully developed over the years include residential projects in the neighborhoods of French Hill, Gilo, Givat Oranim and Mevaseret Zion, as well as residential and commercial projects in downtown Jerusalem.”