RawabiFlash 90

The new Arab city of Rawabi being built in Samaria (Shomron) with Israeli approval refuses to allow "Palestinian refugees" from UNRWA camps to relocate to the city. This, despite past statements to the contrary, and the general impression that the need for a new Arab city was partly because of the suffering of said 'refugees', especially those still living in refugee camps.

So reports investigative journalist David Bedein of Israel Resource News Agency.

"The new Palestinian Arab city of Rawabi," writes Bedein, "has publicized in all stages of its development that it would build schools that would promote peace and reconciliation". He quoted Bashar al-Masri, Rawabi's chief developer, as telling the Guardian for a story on Rawabi, “We are not what they are led to believe, a bunch of terrorists…"

And yet, the town refuses to accept refugees – and why? "Because that would violate the PLO doctrine of the 'inalienable right of return' to homes which they left in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Be'er Sheva, Tzfat, Ashkelon and more," writes Bedein.

This occurred in 1948 at the establishment of the Jewish State when the Arab leadership promised those fleeing that they would return to their homes once the Jews were slaughtered. When that failed to occur, the Arab world refused to resettle those who fled, purposely maintaining the only instance of multi-generational "refugeeism" in the world while Israel resettled and successfully absorbed an equal number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands during the same period.

The first residents of the city moved in nearly a year ago. The city, mostly large and modern apartment buildings, is planned to house 25,000 people, and up to 40,000 if the city expands in the future. It is located just three kilometers north of the small Jewish town of Ateret, and some 20 kilometers north of Ramallah.

The Jewish Federation in Brazil reportedly donated large amounts for the new city, with the understanding that the Rawabi would be founded upon a peace curriculum that would highlight the need to live in peace with Israel. However, Bedein writes, the president of the Brazilian Jewish Federation was "shocked" to learn that Rawabi will not allow UNRWA camp residents to relocate to Rawabi.

This is all the more shocking in view of the willingness of European countries to allow in hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees from Syria, even given fears of terrorists among them. In addition, the Palestinian Authority and its supporters perpetually point to the "suffering" of the fourth generation 'refugees' as another reason why Israel must cede Judea and Samaria – while the developers of Rawabi, when the opportunity to alleviate the refugees' plight arises, turn the other way.