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First modern, planned Palestinian city now a reality

Work continues at the commercial center of the West Bank city of Rawabi. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Despite seemingly insurmountable setbacks, the first planned Palestinian city has made the leap from dream to reality.

Mohammed Daraghmeh reports for the AP that 250 Palestinian families now live in the still-unfinished hilltop metropolis of Rawabi in the Israeli-controlled West Bank. The city, expected to house 60,000 by 2021, could serve as a template for other new metropolises in the region, the article says.

The urban enclave is the vision of Bashar Masri, a Palestinian-American developer who initiated the idea in 2007 and began construction in 2012. There have been myriad obstacles, from political complications to water access that remains limited, the AP notes.

As the first Palestinian city with a modern urban design, Rawabi is easily identifiable with its high-rise residential blocks and signature open-air shopping center. The organized layout stands in stark contrast to the chaos and sprawl associated with other Palestinian towns and cities.

Rawabi is located just 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Jerusalem, the epicenter of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. For Palestinians, the development is more than a brash experiment in urbanism — it’s “a symbol of their quest for statehood,” Daraghmeh writes.

Learn more about Rawabi here and here. 

Source: 
Associated Press

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