Ramallah, Palestinian Territory

Town in the Palestinian West Bank, 6 mi N of Jerusalem. Founded in the 1500s, Ramallah was an agricultural town under the Ottomans and prospered under the British mandate of Palestine. Ramallah was occupied by Jordan after 1948 and by Israel after 1967. Ramallah became the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority after Yasser Arafat established his headquarters (the Mukata’a) there in 1996. In December 2001 Arafat was at the Mukata’a in Ramallah for a regular meeting when there was a bombing in Haifa. The Israeli government responded by confining Arafat to the Ramallah compound, where he remained until his terminal illness in 2004. Arafat’s final resting place is in the courtyard of the Mukata’a, which is still the Ramallah headquarters of the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank office of the Palestinian president.

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