Ramallah, Palestine

Ramallah, Palestine


The city of RamallahRamla or Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the center of the West Bank, located just 10 km north of Jerusalem ―the spiritual capital of Palestine―, [1] at an average elevation of 880 meters above sea level, adjacent to Bireh. [2] Itcurrently serves as the administrative capital (de facto and provisional) of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

Ramallah was historically a Christian Arab city.


In Arabic its name is رام الله (Rāmallāh), which means ‘mountain of God ‘, from ‘rām’: ‘mountain’, and ‘ Allāh ‘: ‘ God ‘).


The city only has one relevant place to visit: the Mukata, headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority, besieged for years by the Israeli army, where today the Yasser Arafat mausoleum stands. But this is also provisional: when Palestine is a free state, Arafat will be buried in the Esplanade of the Mosques, in Jerusalem, as was his will. [1]

In Ramallah is the office of the president of the ANP, Mahmud Abbas (b. 1935).

Ramallah is the best known city in Palestine, a country located in Middle East according to ELAINEQHO.COM, since it is there that diplomats, journalists and aid workers who travel to Palestine usually reside. It is located in the West Bank, in an enclave full of small hills, 15 kilometers north of Al Quds (which is the name that Muslims give to the city of Jerusalem). Ramallah was originally a Christian city, but today the majority of the population is Muslim. However, there is still an important Christian colony (25% of the population) that coexists without problems with the Muslims. Ramallah is conurbation with Al Bireh, the university city. [3]

Ramallah life revolves around Al-Manara Square. It is a roundabout, with a fountain with lions in the middle, from which the main arteries of the city start. Restaurants, pastry shops and even artisan juice shops populate the square. Dozens of people are waiting there for someone or they just sit and watch people go by. No matter what time it is, there will always be people: the bread-delivery man meets in the morning with the last party diplomats, and again another twist, and a new day begins all over again. It does not matter the day of the week or of the month. Not to mention the crowds that gather during the festivities that occur after soccer games. Only the Israeli bombings are capable of stopping the life of Al-Manara. [3]

The visitor cannot miss the Muqataa, the architectural complex of the former British prison, which has become the symbol of Palestinian nationalism and in which none other than Yasir Arafat is buried. In Muqataa is provisionally the headquarters of the Palestinian National Authority, waiting for Israel to allow the transfer to Al Quds. In 2002 the Muqataa was almost entirely destroyed by Israel, but today it has been reborn. [3]

If one tires of Arab food and the constant tension in the area, Ramallah is capable of making the Westerner forget that he is away from home. After traveling through the West Bank and enduring the tedious checkpoints or the challenging questions of the Israeli soldiers, in Ramallah one can immerse, for example, in the idyllic Snowbar, where you can enjoy a pizza or a hamburger alongside other Europeans or Americans stuck. to their laptops, in an environment of relative tranquility. When spending time in the Middle East, one needs certain moments of escape to recharge. [3]

In short, in Ramallah, the stranger does not feel that he is in a Muslim country. Alcohol is often served in bars and many women are seen without a veil – although of course, especially Westerners. It is a city that is tolerant of foreign affairs. In addition, in recent years Ramallah has experienced a significant real estate boom, due to the emigration of Palestinians from the surrounding area, attracted by the lack of Israeli bombings and the possibility of finding employment. [3]

However, all is not peace in Ramallah. In recent years, there has been a large proliferation of illegal Israeli settlements around Ramallah, especially on the road to Al Quds, making it difficult for the city to expand. It is frequent to see the provocations of the settlers to the Palestinian population. If the advance of settlements in the West Bank continues, other Palestinian cities will disappear before Ramallah. What’s more, perhaps Ramallah is the last. But yes, when the Israeli settlers arrive at Muqataa, arguing that it belongs to them by some divine right, the Palestinian dream will be over. [3]


The history of Ramallah is relatively short, especially when compared to that of Jerusalem. The city was founded in the 16th century by the Haddadin, Christian Arabs from the Jordan River (about 30 km to the east).

Between the 11th and 13th centuries, the Lordship of Ramallah (see article) was one of the vassal states of the Kingdom of Jerusalem created after the First Crusade.

During the 17th and 18th centuries Ramallah developed as a predominantly agricultural and Christian city.

In 1908, it obtained the title of city from the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). In 1917 the British invaded the region, and Ramallah was occupied until 1948. Due to economic hardships, almost all Christian families – the vast majority of the population – left the city and went to seek their luck in the United States. In those decades, hundreds of Arab families – mainly from Khalil- Hebron – settled in the city. In 1948, the United Kingdom passed the city into Jordanian hands. [3]

In 1967 Ramallah was occupied by Israel after the Six Day War. Today it is one of the few places in Palestine that is not still occupied. After the Oslo accords, Ramallah remained within the so-called Zone A, where legislative and military competences would be exclusively Palestinian (in theory). [3]

In December 2017, protests broke out in the West Bank after Donald Trump (businessman and US president) announced that he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as a way of recognizing that city as the exclusive capital of Israel – and not the capital of Israel and of Palestine. The protests in several cities in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in some neighborhoods of Jerusalem, during which clashes between protesters and police were recorded, which left dozens dead and hundreds injured. [4]


In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by British Mandate authorities, Ramallah had a population of 3104 people:

  • 2972 Christians,
  • 125 Muslims and
  • 10 Jews. [5] [6]

At the time of the 1931 census, this had increased to 4,286 people in a total of 1,014 households:

  • 3766 Christians,
  • 519 Muslims and
  • 1 Jew. [7]

In the Samui Hadawi survey of 1945, the population had grown to 5,080, with Christians still making up the majority of the population. [8]

However, the demographic composition of the city changed dramatically between 1948 and 1967, when there was a considerable emigration of Christians. In 1967, a little more than half of the 12,134 residents of the city were Christian, and the other half Muslim. [9]

By 1987, the population had doubled: 24,722 residents. However in 1997 it had drastically decreased to 17,851. In that year (1997) the census of the PCBS (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) revealed that there were 17,851 Palestinian refugees (8,622 males and 9,229 females), representing 60, 3% of the population. [10] People under 20 years old constituted 45.9% of the population, while those between 20 and 64 years old were 45.4%, and residents over 64 years old constituted 4.7%. [eleven]

Only in 2005 the population reached more than 24,000. In 2006 – according to a projection of the PCBS (Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) -, Ramallah would have had a population of 25,467 residents. [12]

In the 2007 PCBS census, there were 27,460 people living in the city. [13] Sources vary with respect to the current Christian population in the city, which varies around 25%. Muslims now form the majority of the population (75%).

Comparison with Cuban cities

Its population, which in 2007 reached 28,000 residents, is equivalent to that of the following Cuban cities:

  • Puerto Padre (34 086)
  • San Antonio de los Baños (33 811)
  • Caibarien (33 683)
  • Cabaiguán (30 326)
  • Mayarí (29 259)
  • San Cristobal (29 119)
  • Sheds (28 890)
  • Jagüey Grande (28 870)
  • Southern Consolation (28 465)
  • Jovellanos (26 319)
  • Amancio (26 141)

Ramallah, Palestine