Existence, Resistance, Hope: Framing Rawabi
The seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict has ebbed and flowed for more than 100-yeas, often characterized by extreme violence countered by intense internationally facilitated negotiations for peace, contrasted with periods of seeming calm and stability. Over the course of time, both parties have crafted multiple collective identities and continually evolving narratives in support of those identities and to justify their actions toward the other. One particularly powerful Palestinian identity to emerge is as victims to Israeli occupation and oppression as the essential cause for their lack of agency and self-determination. Yet for the last several years, a private sector development initiative has been unfolding in the West Bank: the project is the city-building project of Rawabi, considered to be the first-ever planned Palestinian city. Rawabi is more than a massive construction project; it is a grand symbolic expression for Palestinians. Employing several on-site focus-group interview sessions, this study sought to discern how individuals living and working in Rawabi regard the project via the frames they used in their narratives to describe the project. Findings from the sessions are presented and the implications are discussed as they impact the meaning of the city for Palestinians residing in the West Bank.