- Planning and developing a new Palestinian urban Core under conditional Israeli Occupation: the case of Ramallah City    click here to open paper content436 kb
by    Khamaisi, Rassem | rassem@013.net   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The paper gives a short description of planning and development of Ramallah city and the surrounding area, besides a discussion and analysis of the implications and consequences of the internal and external factors, which have direct impact on the crystallizing of the urban fabric of the city.
Planning and developing a new Palestinian urban core under conditional Israeli occupation: Ramallah City
Rassem Khamaisi*
Rassem@013.net or Khamaisi@geo.haifa.ac.il
Paper to be presented in the 42-st ISOCARP world congress Istanbul , 14-18 October 2006
Cities between Integration and Disintegration: Opportunities and Challenges


In spite of the ancient traditions of urban development in Palestine, the development of the Palestinian cities have veered from these traditions and suffered greatly since the middle of the twentieth centenary. The normal growth of the Palestinian cities changed in the wake of the establishment of the State of Israel, and put part of Mandate Palestine, under Jordanian rule (West Bank) and under the Egyptian administration (Gaza Strip). Between 1948- 1967 the Palestinians lost their urban centers in the territories where the Israeli State was established, and the other urban centers outside of Israel's borders, ruled by foreign Arab States, continue to be small and dependent on the Jordanian core - Amman, and Egyptian core - Cairo, respectively. Jerusalem, which functioned as the Palestinian core, was divided into West Jerusalem, under the sovereignty of the State of Israel, while East Jerusalem was under Jordanian sovereignty and dependent on Amman.

Since 1967, the territories administered by Jordan and Egypt came under Israeli rule. The Palestinian urban centers under Israeli occupation become disconnected from the urban cores of other Arab States. The Palestinian urban centers resume their growth under Israeli occupation. According to 1993 Oslo Interim Peace Agreement between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israeli Government, the rule over Palestinian cities (Zone A) is to be given to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA),
while the surrounding Palestinians territories will continue to be under Israel control (Zone B and C). Since the Palestinian cities passed to PNA, to the urban center has flourished to some degree. This growth and development is differential, and the intifadas and violent activities have strengthened the disparity between the Palestinian cities, with changes occurring to the core and others to the periphery.

Ramallah is an example of the Palestinian city whose has grown and developed into the actual capital of the PNA and compete with Jerusalem, in spite of Palestinian claims of East Jerusalem as core and capital of the emerging Palestinian State. The paper has three main foci. One is the description of the development of Ramallah and the surrounding area - the surroundings which have become a part of metropolitan Jerusalem, indeed one of its sub-centers. Ramallah is one of the main Palestinian centers, whose growth, particularly after Israeli closure in 1993 and establishment of the PNA with its official institutions, and other international economic agencies were located in Ramallah. The second focus is a discussion and analysis of the implications and the consequences of the internal and external factors, which have direct impact over the crystallizing of the urban fabric of the city, which is changing from a small tourist town to the main city in West Bank, and the core of the Palestinian State. The third point of the paper is to present the dilemmas and the obstacles of the spatial urban planning of city, whose development occurred under; semi-occupation, the dichotomy between the traditional and the modern, and outsider intervention. Much of the development occurred by using the method of up down opposed to organic development which clamed by the “native” and land-ownership, using the method of down up development.

The paper summarizes the process of developing a master plan for the City of Ramallah. The writer of this article is the head the planning staff and manages the planning process for the City.

* Dr Rassem Khamaisi is an urban planner, a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Haifa University, and a researcher at the Floreshimer Institute for Policy Studies and the International Peace and Cooperation Center in Jerusalem.

Palestine, Ramallah, Urban planning, Managment of urban growth
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