Rawabi (″the hills″ in Arabic) – vision of Nablus-born entrepreneur and billionaire Bashar al-Masri – is the first planned Palestinian city and the largest private sector project in Palestinian history. Mockingly referred to by some as ″the first Palestinian settlement", Rawabi is not without its critics, who argue it merely serves to sugarcoat the Israeli occupation.
The development has also faced difficulties connecting to the water supply: infrastructure had to be built across Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under Israeli civil and security control – the necessary permits were eventually granted, but the main access road remains unauthorised. By Ylenia Gostoli
Qantara dossier: European travellers in the Orient
Our dossier contains a selection of interesting biographies and reports on renowned European travelers to the Orient from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.More
An eye-catching tableau for resistance: graffiti art in Bethlehem
In 2002, the then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved the construction of a barrier wall that would run along the ceasefire line of 1949 with the intention of separating Israeli territories from the Palestinian West Bank. In Bethlehem, graffiti artists have started using the wall as a canvas for political protest and socially critical art. By Laura Overmeyer
Female Kurdish singer rallies the troops
Iraqi Kurdish singer Helly Luv was in Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, filming the video to her latest hit. Luv is aiming for international fame as she releases her new English song 'Revolution', calling for action against terrorism and violence.More
The civil war in Syria, which has taken the lives of thousands since 2011, is becoming increasingly brutal. Valuable cultural sites are also being destroyed in the fighting. UNESCO has now provided reports on the damage.
"The Crusades: Holy War"
In this three-part documentary by BBC 2, Dr Thomas Asbridge presents a revelatory account of the Crusades, the 200-year war between Christians and Muslims for control of the Holy Land. More