A Middle-Class Paradise in Palestine?
Original story at The Atlantic• 2 mentions • 10 months ago
The Atlantic 10 months ago
The West Bank's first Palestinian-designed planned city offers a window into the promises and perils of the current situation in the Middle East. But will it be a novelty, or a game-changer? The sole outlet to Rawabi sits off a dizzying two-lane highway flanked by round, scraggly hills. In this part of the West Bank, just north of where the Jerusalem suburbs thin into a dry, granite-gray wilderness, the mountains seem to aid in the illusion that Israeli and Palestinian spheres of authority can remain perfectly, even harmoniously separate. Arabs use the road to get to the Palestinian-controlled cities of Bir Zeit and Ramallah; for Jewish Israelis, the road connects the Jerusalem area to settlements deep inside the northern half of the West Bank.Ramallah's skyline is barely discernible on a hazy day. Ateret, a red-gabled settlement of about 90 families that sits high above the Rawabi junction -- a community which would likely either be vacated or incorporated into a Palestinian state under a future peace agreement -- flickers in and out of view with every delirious knot in the road. Even a concrete pillbox looming over the highest point along the highway is abandoned, its connection to the territory's oddly invisible occupying army marked only by a tattered Israeli flag that no one has bothered to steal or replace.