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Inside Rawabi: A New West Bank City Built by a Palestinian for Palestinians



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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced the U.S. no longer considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank in violation of international law. The surprise decision reversed four decades of American policy. It drew criticism from allies around the world and alarm from Palestinians about the prospects for peace. To get a firsthand look at the politics of peace, we went to the West Bank, an area about the size of Delaware along the Jordan River, where Palestinians have long hoped to establish a state.
In the city of Ramallah, we found a businessman who isn’t waiting for the Palestinian Authority and the Israelis to hammer out a path forward. He’s trying to build one himself. Bashar Masri is the dreamer behind a brand new city on a hill called Rawabi. Everyone told him it was impossible but today it’s the biggest construction project in modern Palestinian history and the first planned city for Palestinians in more than 1,000 years.
When you think of the West Bank, chances are a Las Vegas-style concert is not what comes to mind. But this is what we found one night in Rawabi.
20,000 Palestinians jammed the largest amphitheater in the Middle East singing and swaying to the songs of Mohammad Assaf, one of the most popular performers in the Arab world.

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