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The Milton Keynes of the West Bank

A businessman has a grand vision to build a high-tech, high-end city in the hills of Palestine—but political barriers are hard to overcome

By Jessica Abrahams  

The construction site at Rawabi, which will be Palestine's first planned city © Jessica Abrahams

The construction site at Rawabi, Palestine’s first planned city © Jessica Abrahams

Perched in the hills of the West Bank, nine kilometres north of the administrative capital Ramallah, a new city is rising from the ground. Currently covered in cranes and rubble, Rawabi (“Hills” in Arabic) will eventually be home to up to 40,000 Palestinians, complete with 23 different neighbourhoods, cinemas, a 15,000-seat amphitheatre for outdoor performances, parks, a shopping district, restaurants, public and private schools, a conference centre, mosques, a church and endless views of the surrounding countryside from…

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