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New city planned for West Bank

Sept. 8, 2009 at 10:44 PM

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Construction could begin soon on a new city providing homes and jobs for young professionals in the West Bank, a Palestinian businessman says.

Plans call for Rawabi to be built 6 miles north of Ramallah, the economic center of the West Bank, The Guardian reports. The project is funded by the government of Qatar.

An advertising slogan for Rawabi says the project will provide "jobs for Palestine's educated but underemployed workforce."

Bashar Masri, who is heading the project, said he hopes to begin construction within a few months. He said thousands of potential home buyers have expressed interest in Rawabi.

"I would like to think of this project as part of building a Palestinian state," he said.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said its goal is "economic peace." While Netanyahu and his cabinet have said little about a possible independent Palestinian state, the government has removed some checkpoints and other restrictions.

As a result, the West Bank has been enjoying economic growth, while the economy in Gaza continues to shrink, the newspaper said.

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