Palestinian developer builds city of dreams, but will they come?
RAWABI, WEST BANK — Before Manar Imad and her family moved into a new three-bedroom apartment here, a relative balked. “My brother-in-law said, ‘You are going to a ghost town. It has no shops. It’s empty,’ ’’ laughs Ms. Imad.
“It’s true that when we moved in it was empty, but now it’s a growing city. Day after day it is filling up with people and shops. It’s a great city,” she says.
The reality lies somewhere in between.
Rawabi, a $1.2 billion mega housing project five miles north of Ramallah, is the first-ever Palestinian planned city and was originally feted as a building block for a future state. But Israeli red tape delayed approval for roads and access to water, and it took six years from breaking ground for the city to welcome the first intake of residents, including Imad and her family.