The irony of Rawabi is that everyone, in both Israel and Palestine, seems to want it to happen. Nevertheless, Palestine’s first planned city still lacks a stable water connection, its continued cash flow is threatened and despite their best intentions, interested parties the globe-over cannot bring the project any farther forward. Officials involved in the project say a political power play — part of Netanyahu’s bid to undermine the Palestinian unity government — is the only thing stopping the water from flowing.
By Corey Sherman
“Rawabi,” Amir Dejani says, “is about the future.”
The deputy managing director of Rawabi, Dejani sits behind his desk with a neon construction vest on top of a neatly pressed short-sleeve button down shirt. His two cell phones periodically buzz and ring—not to mention his email notifications, and landline telephone—though he interrupts our conversation only once to offer me coffee and water.
The project, Palestine’s first planned new city, “is about creating hope, building for a better future [with] better schooling, healthcare services, infrastructure, a green city, a modern city focused on creating a more sustainable way of living, focusing on environmental concerns, bridging relations between local and international firms providing professional services to the tenants and residents.”
Rawabi’s future seems rather far away, however. It lacks a stable water connection; its continued cash flow is threatened; and interested parties the globe-over cannot bring the project any farther forward. Rawabi’s tenuous state, perhaps overshadowed by the wars to Palestine’s north, is nevertheless a part of the larger regional puzzle—and threatened by the same factors of instability.
The main hurdle at the moment is moving the project’s first residents into their new homes. But Rawabi simply doesn’t have enough water: the 300 to 500 cubic meters of water a week provided to Rawabi by the regional Palestinian water authority, the Jerusalem Water Undertaking, is just barely enough to keep construction going, Dejani explained to +972.
The solution they seek is seemingly exceedingly simple: just three kilometers away, in the Palestinian village of Umm Safa’, is a connection point belonging to the Israeli national water company, Mekorot. Hooking up in Umm Safa’, Dejani says, will provide the city-to-be with 300 cubic meters per day,...Read More