Ramallah, Palestine – Before and After the Balfour Declaration and WWII

Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank, located 10 km north of Jerusalem. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). With a population of nearly 27,092 in 2007, Ramallah was historically a Christian town, but today Muslims form the majority of the population, with Christians still making up a significant minority.

Ramallah grew dramatically throughout the 17th and 18th centuries as an agricultural village, thus, attracting more (predominantly Christian) inhabitants from all around the region. In 1700, Yacoub Elias was the first Ramallah native to be ordained by the Eastern Greek Melkite Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, the Christian denomination that prevailed in the Holy Land at the time. In the early 19th century, the first Greek Melkite Jerusalemite Orthodox Christian church was built. Later in the 1850s, The Church of Transfiguration was built to replace it and is the sole Orthodox Church in Ramallah today. During that same decade, the Latin (Roman Catholic) Church established its presence in Ramallah, constituting the second largest Christian denomination in the city. The Roman Catholic Church established the St. Joseph’s Girl’s School, runs by St. Joseph sisters, as well as the co-educational Al-Ahliyyah College high school run by Rosary sisters. With the influx of Muslim and Christian refugees and internal migration, new mosques and churches were built, with both Muslim and Christian Palestinians, peacefully cohabiting together.

Ramallah was declared a modern city in 1908 and had an elected municipality as well as partnership projects with the adjacent town of al-Bireh.

Then things changed… DRAMATICALLY


balfour-rothschildThe British Army occupied Ramallah in December 1917, one month after the Balfour Declaration, where Lord Arthur Balfour, on behalf of the Foreign Office of the British Government, declared to Lord Walter Rothschild, that their irrelevant third party authority, had promised Palestine to the Jews… and it remained under British rule until 1948.

British_bombing_of_Ramallah,_1938During the 1936–39 revolt in Palestine, Ramallah was a center of activities against the British. The British attacked Ramallah using the Air Force. Many were killed and wounded.

Palestine_1930 women protest British MandateFollowing the creation of the State of Israel and the ensuing war, Jordan seized the part of Palestine they named the West Bank. This included Ramallah. The West Bank was relatively peaceful during the years of Jordanian rule between 1948 and 1967, with its residents enjoying freedom of movement between the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. However Jordan annexed the West Bank, applying its national law to the conquered territory. Many Palestinians were jailed for being members of “illegal political parties.”



During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel captured Ramallah from Jordan, imposing a military closure and conducting a census a few weeks later. Everyone who had to register in the census was given an Israeli identity card, which permitted the bearer to continue to reside there. Those who were abroad during the census lost their residency rights.


{United Nations Resolution 194 (III) of 11 December 1948:
Article 11. Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date…
United Nations Resolution 217a, 10 December 1948 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 13(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

_77494246_israel_six_day_gUnlike the Jordanians, Israel did not offer citizenship to the residents. Ramallah residents were issued permits to work in Israel, but did not gain the rights associated with Israeli citizenship. The city remained under Israeli military rule for over four decades.

The Israeli Civil Administration (CA), established in 1981, was in charge of civilian and day-to-day services such as issuing permission to travel, build, export or import, and host relatives from abroad. The CA reprinted Jordanian textbooks for distribution in schools but did not update them. The CA was in charge of tax collection and land expropriation, which included Israeli theft of olive groves that Palestinian villagers had tended for generations.

Jewish settlements in the Ramallah area, prevented the expansion of the city and cut it off from the surrounding villages. As resistance increased, Ramallah residents were jailed or deported to neighbouring countries for membership in the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Ramallah demonstrationsRamallah residents were among the early joiners of the First Intifada. The Intifada Unified Leadership, distributed weekly bulletins on the streets of Ramallah with a schedule of the daily protests, strikes and action against Israeli patrols in the city. At the demonstrations, tyres were burned in the street and the crowds threw stones and Molotov cocktails. The IDF used tear gas and rubber bullets. Schools in Ramallah were forcibly shut down.
House arrests were carried out and curfews were imposed that restricted travel and exports in what Palestinians regarded as collective punishment.

Palestinian Authority HQ, - Defensive Shield
Palestinian Authority Head Quarters after ‘Defensive Shield’

In 2002, Ramallah was reoccupied by Israels IDF Operation Defensive Shield, which resulted in curfews, electricity cuts, school closures and disruptions of commercial life. Many Ramallah institutions, including government ministries, were vandalized, and equipment was destroyed or stolen. The IDF took over local Ramallah television stations, and social and economic conditions deteriorated. The Israeli West Bank barrier has furthered Ramallah’s isolation.

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Ramallah had a population of 3,104; 2,972 Christians, 125 Muslims, and 10 Jews.

This increased at the time of the 1931 census to 4,286, 3766 Christians, 519 Muslim and 1 Jew, in a total of 1014 houses.

palestine-1948_refugeesIn a 1945 survey, the population stood at 5,080,with Christians forming the majority of the population. However, the demographic makeup of the town changed drastically between 1948 and 1967 with only slightly more than half of the city’s 12,134 inhabitants being Christian and the other half Muslim, as many of Israels arbitrary settlements in the surrounding regions, created a huge influx of homeless refugees.

Ramallah’s population drastically decreased in the late 20th century from 24,722 inhabitants in 1987 to 17,851 in 1997. In the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) census in 1997, Palestinian refugees accounted for 60.3% of the population which was 17,851.
There is no explanation for the lack of increase in the population, especially considering the continual arbitrary settlements in the surrounding areas, nor for the unaccounted 6,871 Palestinians missing from the 1987 census to the 1997 census.
One only needs to use their imagination to find the answer to this unbalanced calculation.


 Benjamin Freedman, Jewish-Catholic convert, associate of JFK, attendee Diplomat at Versailles Peace Talks, gave the following speech at the Waldorf Hotel, 1961: Disclosing the real causes and manipulations for WWI, WWII and the establishment of the Occupying State of Israel, in Palestine.