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New Palestinian city needs water to come to life

The new Palestinian city of Rawabi, seen here in February 2014, is expected to house 40,000 people but does not yet have access to water thanks to tensions in the region. (OLIVER WEIKEN/EPA /LANDOV)

On a West Bank hilltop, a brand new Palestinian city is taking shape, one that reflects the bitterness and aspirations of a region where even construction projects are politicized. With its rows of still empty apartment blocks and Roman-style outdoor ampitheater, Rawabi is intended to be a quiet, tree-lined residential community for Palestine’s burgeoning middle class, Lyse Doucet and Jane McMullen report for the BBC.

But this is the Israeli-controlled West Bank, where nothing is simple.

For starters, the emerging city — the largest project in Palestinian history — lacks access to water, the article says. That’s because a joint Israeli-Palestinian water committee that hasn’t met in years is reluctant to approve water pipes that benefit the opposing side.

The developer, American-Palestinian multi-millionaire Bashar Masri, insists that his $1 billion investment defies Israel’s occupation with “facts on the ground.” Critics, however, accuse him of “normalizing” the occupation. They point to Masri’s coordination with officials from Israel, which supports the initiative. Another complaint, the article says, is that apartments that cost around $95,000 are only affordable to the area’s elite.


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