participation of the Islamic Movement’s political wing, later known as Raam, in Israeli parliamentary elections. That caused a split in the movement, with some members forming a now banned splinter group that rejected participation in the Israeli parliamentary process.

But Sheikh Abdullah continued on a path of moderation, writing a book that rejected any religious justification for suicide attacks. He also began to work on several peace-building projects with Rabbi Melchior, then a deputy foreign minister in the Israeli government.

communal violence in the city of Acre, in northern Israel.

In 2014, they coordinated to avoid religious violence in mixed Arab-Jewish cities when the Jewish day of atonement, Yom Kippur, fell on the same day as the Islamic celebration of Eid al-Adha, and tried to taper conflict during a low-level intifada the next year.

Mr. Abbas became involved in the initiatives and later developed a close relationship with Rabbi Melchior, speaking with him several times a month.

To the rabbi, these religious-based peace initiatives offered a way to move on from the secular-led diplomatic efforts of the 1990s and 2000s, which he said failed in part because they did not sufficiently include religious elements from the two populations.

“The traditional and religious population felt that the peace was part of the uprooting of what they felt was their sense of belonging, of their DNA, of their identity, of their narrative,” Rabbi Melchior said.

After Sheikh Abdullah’s death, Sheikh Raed took up his mantle. He worked with Rabbi Melchior to defuse another crisis in 2017, when the installation of metal detectors at the entrance to the Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem almost set off another uprising.

In 2020, Sheikh Raed released a lengthy religious tract that provided a theological justification for Raam’s joining an Israeli government. Several months later, Mr. Abbas joined the current governing coalition.

During the coalition negotiations, Mr. Abbas gave a televised speech in Hebrew, largely pitched at Israeli Jews, in which he called for coexistence and presented himself as a citizen of Israel. Analysts later said it played a pivotal role in positioning him as an acceptable partner for Jewish-led parties. The speech was his own, but he spoke beforehand with Rabbi Melchior about its content, both men said.

To some Palestinian citizens of Israel, Mr. Abbas is a sellout for helping put right-wing Jewish politicians in power in exchange for what critics perceive as only token victories.

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the left-wing party Hadash, said Mr. Abbas’s approach was transactional, positioning Palestinian citizens of Israel as servants and subjects instead of as true citizens with collective rights.

“I don’t want to work as a politician under a Jewish supremacy,” said Mr. Odeh, whose party includes a mix of Arabs and Jews. “I fight for deep equality on both a civil and national level between the two peoples.”

But to advocates like Sheikh Raed and Rabbi Melchior, Mr. Abbas’s decision was a hopeful byproduct of a long process of religious peace-building that seeks to place Palestinians and Israelis on a more equal footing, and which political leaders would do well to amplify.

“If the religious element is not inside the peace camp, and not included fully, it just won’t happen,” Rabbi Melchior said. “I, for one, do not want to exclude the secular — not from our society and not from the peacemaking,” he added. “I just want to expand that sense of peace.”

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High Lumber Prices Add Urgency to a Decades-Old Trade Fight

In 2016, toward the end of the Obama administration, the American lumber industry petitioned the government to impose duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports in response to what it contended were unfair trade practices. The proceedings continued under the Trump administration, which in 2017 imposed duties of 20.2 percent for most Canadian producers. The rate was lowered to 9 percent last year.

The status of the long-running dispute took on a new urgency as the price of lumber soared over the past year. The National Association of Home Builders estimated in April that higher lumber costs had added nearly $36,000 to the price of an average newly constructed single-family home. A benchmark for the price of framing lumber set a record high of $1,515 per thousand board feet in May, four times the price at the beginning of 2020, before beginning to plummet. Last week, the price stood at $930, still more than double its level at the start of 2020, according to Fastmarkets Random Lengths, the trade publication that publishes the benchmark.

“As an economist, it is very hard to understand why we’re taxing something we don’t produce enough of,” said Robert Dietz, the chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders.

On the other side of the issue are U.S. lumber producers. The U.S. Lumber Coalition, an industry group, has argued that strong demand, not duties, is driving lumber prices and that the duties make up only a small portion of the total cost of lumber for new homes.

The coalition credits the duties with strengthening the U.S. lumber industry, saying in a statement that American sawmills had expanded capacity in recent years, producing an additional 11 billion board feet of lumber since 2016. “More lumber being manufactured in America to meet domestic demand is a direct result of the trade enforcement, and the U.S. industry strongly urges the administration to continue this enforcement,” the coalition said.

Dustin Jalbert, a senior economist at Fastmarkets, a price reporting firm, attributed the chaotic lumber market and high prices in large part to effects from the pandemic. At the start of the pandemic, he said, sawmills “assumed the worst” and curbed production, only for the housing market to rebound and for demand to soar.

Mr. Jalbert said the duties stemming from the U.S.-Canada dispute were not a major reason for the high prices. “In terms of the short-term pricing situation, it’s lower down the list in terms of the factors that are driving the record prices that we’ve seen in the market,” he said.

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CastleGreen Finance Closes the Largest C-PACE Project in Connecticut

IRVINGTON, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CastleGreen Finance is pleased to announce the closing of One Park Road, West Hartford, CT, a $13,767,000 Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) transaction. In partnership with Lexington Partners LLC, the property developer, and the Connecticut Green Bank, the program administrator for the state of Connecticut C-PACE program, CastleGreen Finance is delighted to be part of the largest C-PACE transaction to date in Connecticut.

Project Overview

For 135 years, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambéry have occupied a convent on Park Road in West Hartford, Connecticut. One Park Road is the redevelopment of this iconic property which will add a 292-unit multi-family housing complex on the 22-acre property while maintaining much of the greenspace and preserving the Sisters’ history and ensuring their retirement security at the property.

One wing of the historic convent will continue to be owned and occupied by the Sisters. The remaining 111,000 square feet of the Colonial Revival-style convent is undergoing renovation into a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

A new 230,000 square foot four-story building over a one-story parking deck, will be connected to the existing structures and is designed to look like a series of separate buildings while providing a neighborhood feel.

The long-discussed redevelopment of this iconic property is the result of the partnership between the Sisters of St. Joseph, Lexington Partners, and the Town of West Hartford, and it will bring new rental housing to the fast-growing Park Road/West Hartford area. Construction on the $70 million project is scheduled to begin in mid-2021, with completion expected in the spring/summer of 2023.

CastleGreen Finance has facilitated approval of the $13.7 million C-PACE project through the Connecticut Green Bank’s C-PACE program. The project provides the project developer with access to affordable, long term financing for qualifying clean energy and energy efficiency upgrades that lower energy costs.

Martin J. Kenny, president of Lexington Partners, states, “We feel the Park Road business district is to West Hartford as Brooklyn is to New York City. The project will serve to strengthen the Park Road business district and provide a gateway to and combine with what is going on in Parkville. We needed creative financing in our capital stack to help bring this project to fruition. The CastleGreen team presented a compelling financing solution and delivered on time and as promised.”

C-PACE financing of clean, sustainable energy efficiency projects embraces the collaboration of public/private financing of energy improvements for the redevelopment of this iconic property.

Sal Tarsia, Managing Partner of CastleGreen Finance states, “Lexington Partners is a key player in the revitalization of the Park Road business district, creatively utilizing C-PACE financing for its ESG initiatives. It was a pleasure working with the Lexington team on a redevelopment which exemplifies the original purpose of what C-PACE was created for, but also respects and preserves the history of the property.”

“We are excited to see CastleGreen Finance closing their first project in Connecticut; the largest C-PACE project to date, in the state. This project is an excellent example of private capital working in the state’s open market for C-PACE financing,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of Connecticut Green Bank. “The redevelopment at the Sisters of St. Joseph’s convent will not only make energy usage at the property more efficient and affordable, it will create housing opportunities and continue to support the Sisters, who strive to serve all people, especially those in need. This project will make a positive impact in West Hartford and exemplifies the Green Bank’s vision of a planet protected by the love of humanity.”

About CastleGreen Finance – www.CastleGreenfinance.com

CastleGreen Finance, in partnership with X-Caliber Capital, is a private capital source focused on Commercial PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing. CastleGreen Finance brings extensive experience in commercial real estate across a broad range of financial disciplines. The extensive real estate experience of the CastleGreen team, combined with its core C-PACE capabilities, provides our clients with the knowledge and resources to create a superior capital stack that meets all its needs and helps to unlock the potential of their commercial real estate. We understand that the most important part of any real estate transaction is showing up with the capital at closing. Our team focuses on the details of every deal to ensure we can get our clients to the finish line.

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