The $1.4 billion bet on a new Palestinian future

Source: The Washington Post

Occupied: Year 50

Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza began five decades ago, when Israel defeated three Arab armies. Today, millions of Palestinians still face concrete walls, checkpoints and other Israeli controls. What does it feel like to be “occupied” in 2017? The lives of three people – a construction worker, a cancer patient and a tycoon – offer some answers.

In the newest city in the wannabe state of Palestine, the developer Bashar Masri is putting the finishing touches on his mall. Not just any mall. “A shopping experience,” as luxe as any in Israel, with aspirational sneakers, designer handbags, all the international brands never available here before.

Upmarket consumer options might be ho-hum news in most of the world, but this isn’t any other place.

This is the occupied West Bank, a hornet’s nest of a home to 2.6 million Palestinians and brigades of Israeli soldiers and 400,000 Jewish settlers who have come to claim the land they say was awarded to them by history and God.

Rawabi is the first planned city in the West Bank built by Palestinians for Palestinians, a $1.4 billion metropolis constructed over the last nine years from bare rock.

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