Mar 04 2013
RAWABI, West Bank — As gambles go, it hardly gets bigger: A $1 billion dollar bet on peace — or at least a measure of calm — in the West Bank.
Even the founder of Rawabi, the biggest construction project in the history of the Palestinian people, says nobody in his right mind would invest here.
Standing on a wind-swept hilltop overlooking the biblical hills of Judea, a half-hour drive from Ramallah, Bashar Al-Masri points to the Palestinian flags flying atop the giant cranes that are building, with phenomenal speed, the first modern Palestinian town.
“As a teenager, raising the Palestinian flag was enough to be shot and killed,” he says, immaculate in a form-hugging, thin-lapelled dark suit and narrow burgundy tie.
“This is a small, symbolic way of how long we came along, and how much we will come along in the future,” adds Al-Masri, who as a teenager threw stones at Israeli soldiers.
The largest flag is mounted on a pole facing the Jewish settlement of Atteret, a community of about a hundred families located across a small valley.
The flag is a deliberate statement.