Ramallah (rämäˈlä) [key], 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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