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Ramallah

RAMALLAH

Palestinian city in the West Bank.

Located about 6.5 miles north of Jerusalem on the western side of the NablusJerusalem road, Ramallah was an important urban center under the British Mandate. After Jordan annexed the West Bank in 1950, Ramallah became part of the Jerusalem governorate. In the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, Ramallah was occupied by Israel. It was the site of many clashes between Israel's military authorities and Palestinians between June 1967 and December 1995, when Israel withdrew and the Palestinian Authority (PA) assumed control. The city underwent an economic boom during the mid-1990s when the PA established the town, unofficially, as its main West Bank administrative center. Many PA offices were built, as well as villas for returning emigres.

Ramallah was occupied by the Israelis several times after the start of the al-Aqsa Intifada in late 2000. It is noteworthy among Palestinian towns for its strong educational and professional heritage. U.S. Quakers established a girls' school in Ramallah in 1889, and nearby Bir Zeit University is one of the best Palestinian universities in the West Bank. In the last official census of 1997, the city's population stood at 17,851.

see also arabisrael war (1967); bir zeit university; palestinian authority; west bank.

Bibliography


Fischbach, Michael R. "Ramallah." In Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, edited by Philip Mattar. New York: Facts On File, 2000.

lawrence tal
updated by michael r. fischbach

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Ramallah

Ramallah (rämä´lä), city (2007 pop. 27,4000), in the West Bank, N of Jerusalem. The administrative center for the Palestinian Authority, it lies in a fertile farming region where olives, figs, and grapes are grown. Ramallah is inhabited mainly by Christian Arabs. It was occupied by Israeli forces after the Arab-Israeli war of 1967. It is the seat of Bir Zeit Univ. (1924), which became a focal point of Palestinian Arab unrest; the institution was forced to close numerous times. A number of Arab refugee camps were established in the area, and the environs were often a scene of unrest and violence during the Intifada in the late 1980s and early 90s. Israeli forces withdrew from Ramallah in Dec., 1995, as a prelude to the establishment of Palestinian self-rule. In the renewed violence beginning in 2000, Ramallah was again the scene of fighting between Palestinians and Israelis, but the city has since experienced significant growth.

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