RAMALLAH, West Bank — On the road linking Jerusalem and Nablus, construction continues on the city of Rawabi, 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) to the north of Ramallah in the central West Bank. The project has been controversial since the laying of the first stone, eliciting criticism over its design and the role of Israeli companies in its construction.
Following the 2008 Palestine Investment Conference, at which the development of Rawabi was discussed, the Qatari Diar Real Estate Co. and Massar International Real Estate Co. signed a strategic partnership agreement to build the city. The Bayti Real Estate Investment Co., owned jointly by Diar and Massar, is the project's developer. The Palestinian businessman Bashar al-Masri is chairman of Massar and heads the Bayti administrative board.