However, some say that the project, lauded as a sign of Palestinian potential, masks the reality on the ground in the West Bank and gives the impression that Palestinians can live in economic prosperity despite the presence of an Israeli military occupation.
“The project creates this illusion that there is this happy space in Palestine that is independent of the military occupation which governs many aspects of Palestinian life,” says Yousef Munayyer, Palestinian-American analyst and former executive director of the Washington-based Palestine Center.
Lisa Goldman, director of the Israel-Palestine Initiative at New America, agrees that the construction of the complex, which has seen $1 billion dollar invested by Masri’s Massar International and Qatari backers, distracts from the essential issue of the Israeli occupation and its effect on Palestinians.
“I think this is more of a publicity stunt in many ways. There are so many pressing problems in Palestine,” she adds. “Masri says let’s put all of that aside and build a small-plan community for middle class couples who have increments about 20 times the average Palestinian income.”
– Read more: Palestine’s Billion-Dollar City Can Finally Open, Newsweek