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Palestinians building $1.5bn settlement - without water

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A new Palestinian settlement is being built on the hills of Judea and although it lacks water and costs over one billion dollars, it stands as a political statement. The settlement has been largely funded by a grant from the government of Qatar.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (Catholic Online) - The Palestinian settlement of Rawabi is being built in Palestinian territory, but remains in full view of Israeli settlements and its only access road and water, must come through Israeli-controlled territory.

Despite the obvious challenges to infrastructure, the settlement costs nearly one-and-a-half billion dollars with most of the money being invested by the government of Qatar. The other comes from private Palestinian investors.

Cranes topped with Palestinian flags are constructing the settlement comprised of high-rise apartments, theaters, shopping malls, and soccer stadiums. The settlement is intended to be modern and middle-class.

However, the flags are galling to nearby Israelis who see the settlement as a political statement - which it is. The Palestinians are saying they are not afraid to assert their claims and to build.

Both sides say they want peace, and recall with revulsion the recent days of conflict. However, neither side is happy with the other.

Palestinians who wish to live in the town will need a permit from the Israelis allowing them to drive to and from the settlement on the only access road.

Water will also need to be piped in through Israel.

Although both sides may look angrily at one another from opposing hilltops, neither side wants conflict. For those investing in the settlement, they will only see returns if peace holds. If conflict destroys the settlement, the money sunk into it will be lost.

New polls suggest that as much as 70 percent of Israelis are willing to accept a Palestinian state if it ensures peace.

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