Here’s an interesting postscript to the first installment of the new Forward series “Imagining Two States for Two Peoples.” In the article, published yesterday, we consider Palestinian claims about the difficulties that settlements cause for Palestinians trying to travel around the West Bank. Now, settlers are making the same claim about the new Palestinian city of Rwabi.
Rwabi, just north of Bir Zeit, has been under construction for two months, and will be home to around 25,000 Palestinians. It is a project of a Qatari-based firm called Bayti.
Residents of the nearby settlement of Ateret are furious. One, Motti Hominer, has written to lawmakers asking them to put a stop to construction. He told Haaretz:
Where are those 25,000 people going to drive? My wife for instance works in Shilo, how is she going to get to work? You’re going to put 20,000 more cars on that road. Anyone going to Jerusalem will get stuck in traffic.
Also in the Forward series, you will read about Palestinian claims that settlements are dividing the West Bank in to a series of increasingly isolated sections. An Ateret resident quoted by the right-wing news-site Israel National News brought this charge against the new Palestinian construction. The resident said that “this essentially breaks up the Binyamin Regional Council into eastern and western halves. Building an Arab city, of course, deepens this split.”
Rwabi is the first case of a planned Palestinian city, and it’s fascinating to see the settler borrowing from Palestinian scripts for their response.