Bal'a

Bal'a

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Bal'a is a Palestinian
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

 town in the Tulkarm Governorate
Tulkarm Governorate
The Tulkarm Governorate is an administrative district and one of 16 Governorates of the Palestinian National Authority located in the northwestern West Bank. The governorate's land area is 268 square kilometers. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the governorate had a...

, located approximately nine kilometers northeast of Tulkarm
Tulkarm
Tulkarem or Tulkarm is a Palestinian city in the northern Samarian mountain range in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank adjacent to the Netanya and Haifa districts to the west, the Nablus and Jenin Districts to the east...

 in the northern West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and three kilometers away from the highway connecting Tulkarm with Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics is the statistical organization under the umbrella of the Palestinian Cabinet of the Palestinian National Authority....

 (PCBS), the town had a population of approximately 7,300 in mid-year 2006. In 1922, the town had a population of 1,259 nearly doubled to 2,220 in 1945. After Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

's occupation of the town in 1967 after the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, Bal'a inhabitants numbered 3,800 after dozens of families from nearby towns such as, Deir al-Ghusun
Deir al-Ghusun
Deir al-Ghusun is a Palestinian town in the Tulkarm Governorate, located eight kilometers northeast of the city of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank. The town is near the Green Line...

 settled there after being expelled for security reasons.

Demographics


In 1922 its population was 1,259 — a large village at the time. According to a census by the British Mandate of Palestine in 1931, Bal'a had 1,539 residents. Then in a 1945 land and population survey by Sami Hadawi
Sami Hadawi
Sami Hadawi was a Palestinian scholar and author. He is known for documenting the effects of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War on the Arab population in Palestine and published statistics for individual villages prior to Israel's establishment. Hadawi worked as a land specialist until he was exiled from...

, the population rose to 2,220. The town's growth stunted after the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, going from 3,400 in 1967 to just 3,800 in 1987.

In the first Palestinian census by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics is the statistical organization under the umbrella of the Palestinian Cabinet of the Palestinian National Authority....

 (PCBS) in 1997, Bal'a had a population of 5,444 inhabitants. More than 20% of the residents were Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugee
Palestinian refugees or Palestine refugees are the people and their descendants, predominantly Palestinian Arabic-speakers, who fled or were expelled from their homes during and after the 1948 Palestine War, within that part of the British Mandate of Palestine, that after that war became the...

s. The gender make-up was 49.1% male and 50.9% female. In 2006, Bal'a's residents numbered 7,290.

Economy


Bal'a's primary source of income is agriculture. The town's land area consists of about 23,000 dunam
Dunam
A dunam or dönüm, dunum, donum, dynym, dulum was a non-SI unit of land area used in the Ottoman Empire and representing the amount of land that can be plowed in a day; its value varied from 900–2500 m²...

s most of which is arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

. The town annually produces an average 10,000 tons of olive oil
Olive oil
Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

 with olives being the main cash crop of Bal'a and surrounding towns and villages. Other common orchards include figs, apricots and almonds. Wheat and barley are grown during the winter while tomatoes, marrows and green peppers are grown mostly during the summer. Livestock is a major factor in Bal'a's agriculture sector as many families own thousands of hens as well as sheep, goats and cattle.

A few hundred in the town work for the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 (PNA) in careers as teachers, doctors and business managers. A large number of people are in service with various PNA security branches, including the Preventive Security Service
Preventive Security Service
The Preventive Security Force is the official security apparatus of the Palestinian National Authority. It was established in 1994 by President Yasser Arafat in accordance with the Oslo Accords....

. The town's built-up are is currently about 3,600 dunams. Bal'a has six schools: Two secondary, four primary. Boys and girls attend different schools. There are also three kindergartens.

Notable people from Bal'a

  • Hakam Balawi
    Hakam Balawi
    Hakam Umar As‘ad Balawi is a Palestinian politician and has been a member of the Palestinian National Authority cabinet and the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was born in the town of Bal'a, near Tulkarm in British Mandate Palestine....

     - Top aide of Yasser Arafat
    Yasser Arafat
    Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

    , former PLO ambassador to Algeria
    Algeria
    Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

     and Tunisia
    Tunisia
    Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

     and the Interior Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
    Interior Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
    The Interior Ministry of the Palestinian National Authority is the branch of the Palestinian National Authority cabinet in charge of the security and statistics of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics is a sub-branch of the Interior Ministry that has the...

     in 2003.
  • Fathi Balawi - Early Fatah
    Fatah
    Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

     leader. He died in 1996
  • Omar Jabar - Local Hamas
    Hamas
    Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

     commander and allegedly involved in Passover massacre
    Passover massacre
    The Passover massacre was a suicide bombing carried out by Hamas at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel on March 27, 2002, during a Passover seder. Thirty civilians were killed in the attack and 140 were injured...

    . He was detained by Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    i authorities in 2008.
  • Abu Yasin family is the richest family in Bal'a.