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Rawabi still controversial among Palestinians

Rawabi, the new Palestinian city under construction in the West Bank, has faced criticism from Palestinians, ranging from the involvement of Israeli companies to its design, which largely mimics an Israeli settlement.
Palestinian labourers work at a construction site in the new Palestinian town dubbed Rawabi or "The Hills", near the West Bank city of Ramallah October 27, 2013. The crackdown on the Gaza Strip as Egypt demolishes the smuggling tunnels along its sandy border, and stagnation in the West Bank mean the Palestinian economy might shrink this year after average annual growth of about nine percent in 2008-2011. To match Analysis PALESTINIANS-ECONOMY/    REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS
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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.

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