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October 30, 2014 10:45 am

Is Peace Now Leader Profiting From Opposition to Jerusalem Building?

avatar by Jerold Auerbach

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A prefabricated home in Givat Hamatos. The Jerusalem municipality is building more than 2,000 new housing units in the neighborhood. Photo: Wikimedia.

During Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent White House meeting with President Obama the conspicuously impatient Israeli organization known as Peace Now seized the opportunity to make headlines. It leaked information to the press that a plan for building new homes in the Givat Hamatos neighborhood of Jerusalem had been approved.

The furious prime minister denounced the peace group for what he described as an attempt to sabotage his meeting. No less predictably, the president expressed his concern over the Peace Now announcement. His spokesman Josh Earnest asserted that “this development will only draw condemnation from the international community, [and] distance Israel from even its closest allies” – and we know who they once were.

Peace Now denied its obvious intention to sabotage Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama. It proclaimed its own honorable purpose, linking the timing of its disclosure merely to the publication of the housing plan yet to be made public. In self-exculpation it explained that such disclosures occur “on a regular basis in order to safeguard the two state solution” that Peace Now relentlessly pursues. It was all Netanyahu’s fault: the prime minister “should not have allowed for the publication of the plan if he did not want trouble with President Obama.”

Peace Now’s rectitude, if it must be said, is beyond dispute. Describing its mission “to promote peace and democracy,” it was founded in 1978 to encourage negotiations between Israel and Egypt that culminated in the treaty signed by Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat. That mission accomplished, it turned its attention ever since to a negotiated two-state solution between Israel and the PLO, now superseded by the Palestinian Authority, that would produce “an end to the occupation, return to the 1967 borders and negotiations for peace.” Any resemblance between the Peace Now and Palestinian agendas is purely intentional.

It turns out, however, that there is a fly in the Peace Now ointment. The proposed Givat Hamatos housing development is adjacent to the southwestern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, an ancient Israelite site mentioned in the Book of Joshua. Established in 1973, it now has 40,000 (mostly Jewish) residents and is an integral part of Jerusalem. There is no plausible way for Gilo to be within Jerusalem’s borders while Givat Hamatos, as Peace Now asserts, would comprise an illegal “settlement.”

Turn about is always fair play in Israeli politics. Tzali Reshef, a co-founder of Peace Now and a one-term member of the Knesset from the Labor party a few years back, owns Ariedan Investments Ltd, which has invested in the construction in Gilo and French Hill, a neighborhood in northern Jerusalem also built after 1967. This information was disclosed by Dani Dayan, former leader of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, following his recent television debate with Reshef. Danan cited the obvious: for Reshef to invest in Gilo, while claiming that next door Givat Hamatos would be an illegal “settlement,” is more than slightly hypocritical – if profitable.

Palestinians with whom Peace Now has long curried favor would expect nothing less. Any post-1967 Israeli community, even in Jerusalem, is considered an illegal “settlement.” But settlement in the Land of Israel, whether long ago in overnight tower and stockade outposts or kibbutzim, to say nothing of Jerusalem, has always defined Zionism. Givat Hamatos is only the most recent example of a practice that is more than a century old and the dream of Jews during two millennia.

Prime Minister Netanyahu responded appropriately to the Givat Hamatos kerfluffle: “The French build in Paris, the English build in London, the Israelis build in Jerusalem.” And State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki reacted predictably: continued Israeli building across the 1967 Green Line, she asserted, is “incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society.”

If Tzali Reshef was shrewd enough to invest in the Gilo and French Hill “settlements” (as Palestinians and members of the Obama administration refer to them) he might want to follow his own example and redirect his attention (and portfolio) to Givat Hamatos. The best guarantee for peace now is a strong and united Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital. With unprecedented hostility toward Netanyahu coming from the inner circles of the Obama administration (“chicken-shit” being the most recent term of invective), ever so eager to capitulate to Iran and lacerate Israel, the Jewish state is increasingly on its own.

But if Dani Dayan and Tzali Reshef can find common ground in the development of Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem anything seems possible. They need only disregard the increasingly inept American president and fawning acolytes in his government and the media.

Jerold S. Auerbach is a frequent contributor to The Algemeiner.

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  • Mickey Segal

    State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said that Israeli building across the 1967 Green Line is “incompatible with their stated desire to live in a peaceful society”, reminds me of demonstrators who chant “No justice, no peace”. It is a thinly veiled threat of violence.

    As to the merits of the claims, the Arabs and Israelis stipulated in 1949 that “The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto.”

  • Markus E Brajtman

    Robin Rosenblatt

    Agree with you 100%

    The “peace” now, is not peace.
    They want to play into the hands of the terrorist leader, Abbas. What they mean is (every) “piece” now.
    Abbas is not interested peace> he wants every piece of the Jewish biblical land. The spread of the Arabs.
    They want to “unplug” the bottle which Israel is, to them.
    Israel is also in the way of the spread of Islam

    Democracy or not, Peace Now, and Haarets should be banned.

    Every Israeli. Every Jew, wants peace.

    No Israeli wants their children to give three years of their lives to fight to protect Israel from the Arabs.

    Abbas is the one that Peace Now should be targeting. That drek does not wan t peace. Now, with those “chalerias” in the British parliament voting for a PA State, gives Abbas the upper hand. Why should he want peace? Why should he negotiate with Israel? He is such a bad bastard, that he spreads the worst kind of lies about Israel.

    The Arabs do not want peace. They want the destruction of the Jewish state.
    So, these idiots should try to talk to the Arabs and Abbas to make peace, but not at the expense of any land of Israel.

    • Ray

      Greetings… did you know that for many years before the State of Israel was imposed upon the sons of Abraham, the sons of Abraham lived and worshipped in peace side by side? What happened which shattered that peace after thousands of previous years of mistrust and warring between them? Those residing within higher negative frequencies were starving, and their survival depends/depended upon the fear that mistrust and warring creates. Whoever controls the Loosh Energy Field eats best;

  • Vivarto

    Terribly long
    Terribly boring
    could not get through it
    Don’t know what the point is.
    send the author to school where he can learn how to write news articles!

  • racy

    Sadat was not Hamas, ISIS, and the rest of the terrorist groups. He was very unlike any Palestinian leader of today. He was a smart and noble man. He gave his word and kept it because Begin was no fool. Today peace with these terrorists is IMPOSSIBLE, because of their
    terrorist leadership who would like nothing more than to
    annihilate the Jewish people. They will never get that chance.

  • interesting, that Jews are the worst enemies of Israel. reminds me o ‘rabbis’ furnishing the SS with names to be deported from the ghettos to the death camps, when they have also were headed. Jews are also traitors should be prosecuted.

  • NCS

    Israel needs to build and keep on building. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and always will be.

  • Paul

    During the visit of the US vice President, Jerusalem Municipal officials announced plans authorizing new building, in areas beyond the 67 borders – this timing was insulting to the US since it completely derailed the Us effort of promoting peace here, and was regarded as very damaging to Israeli-US relations. Without it being publicized by Peace Now.
    Peace Now didn’t authorise the current plans for Givat Hamatos – our government officials did. Peace Now pointed out what our government saw fit to authorise just prior to Bibi’s trip.
    Are you implying that authorizing the building is OK, but stating that it is authorized is treasonable ?
    If there is nothing wrong with the newly announced plans for building in Givat Hamatos – why are we so bothered that anybody announces the plan ? Is it supposed to be done in secret ?
    Maybe whoever keeps repeating these authorizations at such damaging times does it deliberately? Could it be that there are people here that have an agenda that is served by damaging our relations with the USA? Maybe somebody does not want a peace agreement with the Palestinians, that would entail handing over Holy ground, and prefers to sabotage these efforts whenever possible ?
    Or do you claim this is just coincidence – again and again and again and again ?

  • Elliott

    The Obama Administration’s State Department position on building in areas across the “Green Line” (areas previously agreed to in Oslo as remaining with Israel at the conclusion of a negotiated settlement) is in baldfaced contradiction to resolution 242, which is the resolution providing the guideline to settlement of the disputed territories. In other words, the Obama Administration has swallowed the Palestinian revisionist propaganda on the issue whole. No doubting whose side they’re on here…

    The following was written by Maurice Ostroff in 2011 about the idea and spirit of resolution 242. It’s original drafters themselves did not envision a “return to the 1948 armistice lines”:

    ” In drafting Resolution 242, British Ambassador to the UN in 1967, Lord Caradon, and American Ambassador, Arthur Goldberg, deliberately omitted a demand for Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders. In an interview in the Beirut Daily Star on June 12, 1974, Lord Caradon stated:
    “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967 because these positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers on each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That’s why we didn’t demand that the Israelis return to them, and I think we were right not to.”

  • Peace Now, the New Israel Fund and Jstreet are all Traitors.

    • Paul

      Yes, it seems that anybody who actually wants to promote peace here has become a traitor. Begin, Sharon, Rabin . . .