Oxford and Ramallah in Palestine signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 17 December in Oxford Town Hall, starting the journey towards twinning.
The memorandum was signed by Dr Husam Zomlot on behalf of Ramallah and Cllr Colin Cook, the Lord Mayor of Oxford.
The MOU is the first step in a new official twinning between Oxford and Ramallah. It builds on a 15 year friendship link between the two cities run by the Oxford-Ramallah Friendship Association. Dr Zomlot is the new Palestinian envoy in London. The move follows a July decision by the Council to initiate a twinning link between Oxford and Ramallah.
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the West Bank, 12 miles (18 kilometres) north of Jerusalem. It is the administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority. The Mayor of Ramallah hopes to visit Oxford in February 2019 to complete the new twinning.
Cllr Mary Clarkson, Board Member for Culture and the City Centre, said: "I’m delighted that our links with Ramallah have been strengthened. Ramallah and Oxford have much in common. Both have established and highly respected universities and are cities of culture and diversity. I am sure we can learn much from each other for the benefit of residents of both our cities."
Dr. Husam Zomlot, Head of Palestinian Mission to the UK, said: "I am honoured to be delegated by the Mayor of Ramallah, Mr. Mousa Hadid, to sign on their behalf this historic twinning agreement with the City of Oxford.”
“This agreement reflects the depth of friendship between the people of the United Kingdom and Palestine. We will continue to contribute to strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries and the two cities."
Cllr John Tanner said: “Oxford builds bridges not walls. We are thrilled to be setting up this new twin with Ramallah. It is long overdue. We want to increase understanding and friendship between the peoples of our two cities.”
Jenny Stanton, founding member of the Oxford Ramallah Association said, “After 15 years of friendship at the grass roots we are very pleased to see this made into an official city to city twin. We hope it will lead to even closer links between Ramallah and Oxford.”