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Tuesday Jan. 11, 2011 1:23 PM (EST+7)
Israeli company counters Palestinian investment bid

Read more: Bashar Masri, construction, settlements, colonies, colonization, Nof Zion, business, economy

RAMALLAH, January 1 (JMCC) - An Israeli businessman has countered an offer made by Palestinian investor Bashar Masri to buy out a failing construction company responsible for settlement housing in Jerusalem.

“The fact that some of the investors want to sell to a Palestinian is treason,” said Israel Zeira, chief executive officer of Bemuna Ltd., an Israeli real estate company that is marketing apartments in the Nof Zion complex.

Bashar Masri, chairman of Ramallah-based Massar International Group, said he offered bondholders of Tel Aviv- based Digal Investments and Holdings Ltd 36 million shekels ($10 million), or some 60 cents on the dollar, for a controlling stake in the company, which is developing Nof Zion. Bemuna is promoting a competing offer from an unidentified Jewish American investor in an attempt to sink Masri’s bid.

For decades, Jewish groups have tried to buy land from Arabs to boost the Jewish presence in the east of the city. Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital while Palestinians see the sector captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war as the capital of a future state. The U.S. and European countries have criticized Israeli building in east Jerusalem, saying it hurts efforts to reach a peace agreement that would establish a Palestinian state.

‘Valid Instrument’

“The dominant view among Israelis is that they can use money to do whatever they want in east Jerusalem,” said Arye Arnon, an economist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel. “Now a Palestinian is saying that money can be a valid instrument for both sides. Symbolically, it’s a very clever move.”

Read the story from Bloomberg...







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