The Lessons of the Palestinian Model City
Mosaic - Some five miles from Ramallah lies the city of Rawabi, built from scratch by a Palestinian-American real-estate developer to encourage foreign investment and economic growth in the West Bank and give Palestinians an opportunity to live in a modern, aesthetically pleasing, and carefully planned city. According to some, Rawabi is as much about the “dream” of Palestinian statehood as it is about real estate. Elliott Abrams disagrees:
The “statehood dream” is in the hands of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, which are both far too incompetent and corrupt to have built Rawabi. [The city] is successful in large part because it is a private-sector project that has as little as possible to do with Palestinian politics. Rawabi is in my view more about Palestinians’ desires for a normal life, in a new city where they can live well despite the political problems that surround them. . . .
Rawabi is a wonderful and impressive achievement, which Israelis should be applauding rather than intermittently slowing and obstructing. . . . The message to Palestinians, I would think, is that life in the West Bank can be greatly improved by Palestinians; Rawabi is certainly a rejection of the theology of victimization that makes Palestinians into helpless objects of Israeli action. Rawabi demonstrates that despite the failures of Palestinian politics, Palestinians can be actors, and agents of positive change.
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