Jerusalem24 – Almost any conversation about the economy in Palestine will make mention of the founder of Rawabi City and Chairman of the Massar International Group, Bashar Masri.
Masri was born in Nablus, he left the city to continue his education in Egypt before moving to the United States. There, he graduated from Virginia Tech in 1983. Today, Masar International has investments not only in Palestine but across the MENA region as well.
Speaking on the Economic recovery post-COVID, Masri does not believe that the recovery in Palestine will be the same as the one taking place across the world. He says this because of Palestine’s special circumstance, in addition to the failure of the Palestinian Authority that couldn’t bail the Palestinian economy out due to a lack of resources and the mismanagement of whatever resources they had.
While American support for the Palestinian means there will be 250 million USD coming to the Palestinians. According to Masri, these funds will be too conditional and too late to uplift the economy.
Masri is currently working on the Lana project in occupied Jerusalem. The project is worth 1 billion NIS so far. He has been planning and working on this project for the past 11 years, trying to get the necessary permits for the construction of high, medium, and low-income housing. Regardless of criticism towards the project, Masri says that he will be able to serve Palestinians from all walks of life with new homes to move into.
“In the last 20 years, we have heard talk about investment in Jerusalem, while we have been seeing little, little tiny delivery in Jerusalem.” Says Masri regarding other investors speaking about Jerusalem. Masri believes he will be able to deliver the first homes in Jerusalem in around 28 months.
He also believes that the tourism sector will be seeing a boom as more travel restrictions will be lifted as religious tourism will be exploding as pilgrims will make a trip to holy sites across the occupied territories.
Despite having a focus on development, Masri acknowledges that settlement expansion is a looming threat to the Palestinians and their economic ambitions. He sees them as facts on the ground being created at an accelerating pace.
As such he has created an initiative “Ala Al-Ard,” (Arabic for On The Ground). Believing the Palestinians need to take actual steps towards combatting settlement expansion through funding scores of initiatives across the occupied West Bank.
To listen to the entire interview with Bashar Masri, tune in below
Wake Up Palestine broadcasts every day from Sunday to Thursday at 8:30 AM.