I mentioned back in November the development of a new Palestinian city in the West Bank, designed to emulate American-style living.
Two months later, despite no indication that Israel’s occupation will ever end, developments continue:
Work crews have broken ground on what they hope will be the first modern, planned Palestinian city – a step that officials say will help build an independent state in spite of the current deadlock in the peace process with Israel.
Since last week, machine operators have been hard at work, taking chunks out of a rocky hillside near this West Bank village. If the project goes according to plan, it will provide 40,000 Palestinians with homes in an American-style development.
But complications remain.
The $500 million project hinges on Israel’s approval of a short stretch of road.
“We could build the whole city, but the question is, would people live in a city that doesn’t have an access road?” said Bashar Masri, managing director of the company behind the project.
Obviously, the answer is no.
Palestinians say Israel has not responded to their requests about the access road. The Israeli Defense Ministry, which is in charge of the area, did not return calls from The Associated Press about the issue.
Israel’s stated policy is to promote economic development in the West Bank, and construction of the new town would appear to fall within that goal. But two miles (three kilometers) of the road would have to be built through a part of the West Bank that Israel controls, within view of a Jewish settlement, raising possible complications.