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FCT 20110524-03 - City Presentation - Ramallah - Mahmoud Abdullah
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FCT 20110524-03 - City Presentation - Ramallah - Mahmoud Abdullah


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  • 1. Ramallah
    A City in Transition
    Mahmoud Abdullah
    Prepared for :
    The 2nd conference of the forum for
    cities in transition
    Derry ~Londonderry 2011
    May, 2011
  • 2. Ramallah..A City in Transition
    • Overview
    • 3. Expansion in the Area of Municipal Master Plan Over Time
    • 4. Files of Buildings in the Municipality
    • 5. Growth in Population
    • 6. Urban Development Strategy
  • Some Facts about Ramallah
    Despite the wide international image, Ramallah is a small city in Palestine with about 40 thousands night residents and about 100000 day visitors.
    Ramallah economic and social growth is faster than any city in Palestine with about 6%.
    Ramallah residents are 83% Muslims and 17% Christians, despite the Christian origin of the city. In USA alone, there are about 40,000 Christian Ramallites.
    Ramallah life is liberal, cosmopolite and secular. It is the best example of diversities in all aspects like political, cultural, religious and ideology.
  • 7. Ramallah location in Palestine
    Tel Aviv
    West Bank
    Gaza Strip
  • 8. Local Boundary of Ramallah
    Old City
    Area = 18.69 sq km
    Area = 0.11 sq km
    The beginning of Ramallah
  • 9. Local Boundary of Ramallah
    Old City
    Area = 18.69 sq km
    Area = 0.11 sq km
    Municipal Master Plan 1963
    Area = 3.68 sq km
  • 10. Local Boundary of Ramallah
    Old City
    Area = 18.69 sq km
    Area = 0.11 sq km
    Municipal Master Plan 1963
    Area = 3.68 sq km
    Municipal Master Plan 1983
    Area = 10.46 sq km
  • 11. Local Boundary of Ramallah
    Old City
    Area = 18.69 sq km
    Area = 0.11 sq km
    Municipal Master Plan 1963
    Area = 3.68 sq km
    Municipal Master Plan 1997
    Municipal Master Plan 1983
    Area = 10.46 sq km
    Area = 14.20 sq km
  • 12. Ramallah… A City in Transition
    Expansion in the Area of Municipal Master Plan Over Time
    Percentage of the Municipal Area from the Local Area
    Area in sq km
  • 13. Ramallah… A City in Transition
    Increase in the Number of Building Licensing Files in the Municipality Over Time
  • 14. Ramallah… A City in Transition
    Growth in Population Over Time
  • 15. Municipal Cooperation:Ramallah, Al-Bireh, and Beitunia METROPOLITAN AREA
  • 16. Municipal Cooperation:Ramallah, Al-Bireh, and Beitunia
    Ring Road
    17 km
    The first Transition:
    In the beginning of the twentieth century, when the first immigration to the United States occurred .The savings of these immigrants lead to a growth and development in the construction activities. Ramallah started to take a different dimension when the Ottomans assigned the city to be an administrative centre for thirty surrounding villages. Besides the entry of the Christian predicatory missions, which came to the city and participated in establishing and building churches and schools in the fringes of the old core such as the Friends, Latin and Catholic sectarian schools. This causes the city to expand towards them and scattered buildings started appearing outside the borders of the old quarter.
    The second Transition:
    Occurred when the British Mandate came to Palestine in 1917.It provided improvement of the sustenance conditions by creating new jobs in the police, railway, education and citrus trade. Consequently, that induced a new constructional progress in the city with a new distinctive architecture exemplified in the new English fashion of villa houses surrounded by well treated gardens. Many of the old town original residents left their houses, and build new houses in the new prestige’s neighbourhoods. This transition indicate the beginning of change in the social and economic life styles when Ramallites start the exit from agriculture to civil transition, and Muslim residents employed the old city changing the original ethnic structure of the city.
    The third Transition:
    It was in 1948, when the Palestinians from the coastal cities imposed to the to leave their homes to mountainous areas due to the establishment of Israel. Because of the population increase, Ramallah grown from a town into a city. The need for new houses and public facilities invoked the city expansion to spread in all directions in the town, especially on the way that connects the town of Ramallah with the town of Al-Bireh. On this line new commercial buildings were constructed in addition to some public buildings such as the police station, the Hashemiya School and the radio station. This juncture made Ramallah (Christian) expand to Al-Bireh (Muslim) to create new centre for both cities, where no conflict was even traced.
    Third Transition- continue:
    Because of 1948 war a deterioration of the economical situation occurred, so many people immigrated to the neighbouring Arab countries, especially the Gulf countries. As a result, the money that came from these working immigrants helped in developing the living conditions, and participated in the city development. Ramallah entered a prosperity period, which made Ramallah a tourist and educational centre that attracted people from different Arab countries to come and spend the summer in its mild weather.
    The Fourth Transition:
    Began after the Oslo peace accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis in 1994, and the establishment of the Palestinian authority. Following political changes and the entry of part of the returnees to their home lands, a huge constructional movement was activated and encouraged the investments in the city and Ramallah became the Central Political and Governmental Centre in addition to other characters. Because of Ramallah location in the centre of the West Bank and its nearness to Jerusalem it is playing the role of acting capital. In addition, the closure of the west bank after second intifada attracted many new residents to the city.
    What is common:
    A- All transition milestones are related to main political changes in the governing power.
    B- All transitions occurred during and related to continuous national conflicts with the governing foreign Powers and/or occupations ( ottomans, Britanie's, Israelis).
    C- No ethnic conflicts in Ramallah was occurred or invoked due to transitions where Palestinians acted as one people.
    D- In each transition, Ramallah gained more important position, despite political and economic crises.
    E- All transitions were coincided with immigration from Ramallah and immigration to Ramallah, thus, Replacement.
    What is not common:
    Transition during Israeli Occupation is characterized by continuous Israeli actions to limiting the city development and urban expansion, where for example, till now, the two main projects in wastewater and solid waste management are still waiting Israeli permissions since 10 years because the proposed locations are in area C, despite the fact that the proposed locations are in Palest. owned land, fully sponsored and studied by German Government & consultants and essential environmental projects.
  • 24. Ramallah under Israeli Occupation
    Ramallah Remained a Central City during Israeli Occupation because:
    A) The so called (Yehuda & shemron) Central command of Israeli Occupation army locates near Ramallah, including
    B) The occupation Central Military court.
    C) One of the Main detainees prisons.
    C) The Central Civil Administration. In Addition;
    D) The main escape and immigration place for Arab Jerusalemite who are trying to escape Israeli high taxes.
    E) The main road corridor between north west bank and the south Palestinian cities where settlements blocked most other roads.
  • 25. Ramallah Under Occupation
    After 1967 war:
    • Large Immigration to USA and Gulf countries.
    • 26. Deterioration of tourism and summer season festivals, no more Arab visitors to the city. All hotels were closed (six hotels), all transport to Arab countries was abandoned.
    • 27. Deterioration of agriculture when most worker went to work in Israel. Ramallah was famous with olive oil and grapes markets.
    • 28. Deterioration of Education system when Ramallah was a vocational education center with the three main institutes in the west bank.
  • Occupation & major changes in Ramallah
    After 1967, major changes to the city were:
    • Second Christian immigration, new Muslim residents created change in demographic style.
    • 29. The city economy become relaying on services and non productive sectors.
    • 30. Settlements acquired the peripheral areas and potential urban expansion of the city.
    • 31. limiting movement and transportation of Ramallah surrounding villagers to the city, weakening the city market economy.
  • Occupation effect on economy
    In General:
    • after the 1967 War, Israeli government policies restricted the potential of the Palestinian industries and export of goods.
    • 32. Palestinian labour in Israel was allowed to increase before the First Intifada in order to provide a cheap labour supply for the Israeli economy and generate income for the survival of the strangled Palestinian economy.
    • 33. Consequently, while GNP per capita in 1973-1979 grew by 4% in the West Bank and 6% in Gaza (Arnon, 2007:581), the productive base of the Palestinian economy remained underdeveloped.
    • 34. Within the West Bank, very little industrial progress happened between 1969 and 1988 (Abu Kishk, 1988:171).
    • 35. The share of industry to GDP actually declined by 26% between 1979 and 1983(Abu Kishk, 1988:177).Essentially, the combined effect of different governance policies in the West Bank and Gaza and stunted industrialization comprised of highly unequal productive bases.
  • Occupation During first Intifada
    • The Closure policy in the west bank and Gaza began and increased rapidly. Checkpoint became a character and symbolic for daily life humiliation of Palestinians under occupation.
    • 36. Per Capita income declined and Rate of poverty increased.
    • 37. The denial of access to vital raw materials and export markets has resulted in negative growth rates, dramatic increases in unemployment and the destruction and deterioration of infrastructure.
  • Occupation effect on investment
    In Palestine’s case, prolonged conflict has a tangible and highly detrimental impact on the attractiveness of an investment climate. “It reduces physical security, undermines macroeconomic stability and threatens the rule of law, dries up access to credit and financial services, destroys infrastructure, distorts the labour market, disables the regulatory framework and dismantles the tax system” (World Bank, 2005:5)
  • 38. Israeli Economic policy against Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)
    The Israeli economic policy towards the OPT before the First Intifada was premised on two objectives that were designed to maximize the economic benefit of the occupation to Israel: “It is abundantly clear that whatever policies were implemented in the territories were consistently weighted in the light of their bearing on Israeli interests, economic or otherwise” (Awartani, 1994:282).
  • 39. Israeli Economic policy against (OPT)
    The firstobjective was the prevention of any developments within the Palestinian economy that could eventually threaten the Israeli economic primacy(Arnon, 2007:576).
    The secondobjective was the harmonization of the economic regulations in the OPT with those within the Israeli economy (Khalidi, 2009:2
  • 40. Occupation Policy During first Intifada
    • The Closure policy in the west bank and Gaza began and increased rapidly. Checkpoint became a character and symbolic for daily life humiliation of Palestinians under occupation.
    • 41. Per Capita income declined and Rate of poverty increased.
    • 42. The denial of access to vital raw materials and export markets has resulted in negative growth rates, dramatic increases in unemployment and the destruction and deterioration of infrastructure.
  • Israeli settlement policy in OPT
    The Israeli Settler movement has continued growing and expanding throughout the last few decades in spite of the international condemnation it has accrued for Israel, and regardless of which political party holds sway in Tel Aviv. That is to say that settlement building on the land occupied in 1967 is not a policy of either the right or the left; it is the policy of Israel.
  • 43. Israeli settlement policy in OPT
    There are currently 121 Israeli colonies, often referred to as "settlements" and approximately 102 Israeli outposts built illegally on Palestinian land occupied militarily by Israel since 1967. 26 colonies are in Ramallah surrounding area, one settlement is 500m from city urban.
    These settlements and outposts are inhabited by a population of some 462,000 Israeli settlers. 191,000 Israelis are living in settlements around Jerusalem and a further 271,400 are further spread throughout the West Bank.
  • 44. Israeli Settlement policy in OPT
    The international Law position:
    Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development [... and] have been established in breach of international law.“
    International Court of Justice Ruling, July 9, 2004
  • 45. Settlements and Bypass Roads
    Settlements are linked to each other and to Israel by an extensive network of “bypass roads”.
    All bypass roads have a 50–75m buffer zone on each side, where no construction is allowed. These buffer zones have led to a great loss of agricultural and privately-owned Palestinian land.
  • 46. Wall of Apartheid
    Currently, approximately 60% of the planned route has been constructed. Construction is ongoing in the districts of Qalqilya, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron. The Jordan Valley is almost completely isolated from the rest of the West Bank.
    When completed, the Wall will de facto annex some 46% of the West Bank.  Approximately 385,000 settlers in 80 settlements are located between the Wall and the Green Line.(98% of the settler population will be included in the facto annexed areas).
  • 47. Wall of Apartheid Law definition
    “The construction of the wall being built by Israel... in the occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem... [is] contrary to international law. Israel is under obligation... to dismantle forthwith the structure... [and] make reparation for all damage caused...”
    International Court of Justice advisory opinion, July 9, 2004
  • 48.
    Ramallah has no division or conflict inside the population, but external national conflict with Israeli Occupation.
    Ramallah has the potential to play essential and dynamic role in Palestine because of many characters it holds, thus new transitions.
    Despite the immigration of Christians from Ramallah, mainly to USA, It is still keeping and welling to keep the spirit of diversity and liberalism.
  • 50. Thank you..
    Mahmoud Abdullah
    May, 2011