Halhul

Halhul

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Halhul is a Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 city located in the southern 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...

, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 in the Hebron Governorate
Hebron Governorate
The Hebron Governorate is an administrative district of the Palestinian National Authority in the southern West Bank. It extends south to, and includes most of, the Dead Sea....

. 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....

, the city had a population of 22,108 mostly Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 inhabitants in 2007.

History


According to the Bible, Halhul was a city in the tribal territory of Judah
Judah
The name Judah can refer to:*Judah , fourth son of the Biblical patriarch Jacob All later individuals, groups and places of this name are directly or indirectly derived from this Judah....

, located in the hill country near Beth-zur
Beth-zur
Beth-Zur is a biblical site of historic and archaeological importance in the southern West Bank. Beth Zur is mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible and the writings of the Roman Jewish historian Josephus...

. Biblical scholar Edward Robinson
Edward Robinson (scholar)
Edward Robinson was an American biblical scholar, known as the “Father of Biblical Geography.” He has been referred to as the “founder of modern Palestinology.” -Biography:...

 identified the modern town with the "Halhul" mentioned in the Book of Joshua
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

. John Kitto
John Kitto
John Kitto was an English biblical scholar of Cornish descent.-Biography:Born in Plymouth, John Kitto was a sickly child, son of a Cornish stonemason. The drunkenness of his father and the poverty of his family meant that much of his childhood was spent in the workhouse. He had no more than three...

 noted that the modern name is identical with the Hebrew given in the Bible, hence "the name has remained unchanged for more than 3,300 years."

Chronicler Ali of Herat
Ali ibn abi bakr al-Harawi
Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Harawi was an early thirteenth century Persian traveller originally from Herat, located in Afghanistan. Born in Mosul, Iraq he travelled far and wide and died in Aleppo, Syria in a fort built for him....

 documented in 1173 CE, that while Halhul was a part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a Catholic kingdom established in the Levant in 1099 after the First Crusade. The kingdom lasted nearly two hundred years, from 1099 until 1291 when the last remaining possession, Acre, was destroyed by the Mamluks, but its history is divided into two distinct periods....

 of the Crusader
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

s, it was a village in which the tomb of Yunis ibn Matta (Jonah
Jonah
Jonah is the name given in the Hebrew Bible to a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century BC, the eponymous central character in the Book of Jonah, famous for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation...

 son of Amittai
Amittai
- In Islam :Amittai is also mentioned in Islam in Prophet Muhammad's Hadith, in which Muhammad emphasizes upon the belief that all prophets are equal in their importance and greatness:...

) was located. Under the Ayyubids in 1226, a mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 with a minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

 was constructed in the town. That same year, Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi
Yaqut al-Hamawi
Yāqūt ibn-'Abdullah al-Rūmī al-Hamawī) was an Islamic biographer and geographer renowned for his encyclopedic writings on the Muslim world. "al-Rumi" refers to his Greek descent; "al-Hamawi" means that he is from Hama, Syria, and ibn-Abdullah is a reference to his father's name, Abdullah...

 visited Halhul, reporting that it lay between Hebron and Jerusalem and contained the tomb of Jonah. In the 14th-century, Jews were living in Halhul and Jewish traveler Isaac Chelo (1334) noted that the tomb of Gad the Seer
Gad (Bible prophet)
Gad was a seer or prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He was one of the personal prophets of King David of Israel and some of his writings are believed to be included in the Books of Samuel...

 was located there. For a time, the village served as a place of Jewish pilgrimage.


Edward Robinson
Edward Robinson (scholar)
Edward Robinson was an American biblical scholar, known as the “Father of Biblical Geography.” He has been referred to as the “founder of modern Palestinology.” -Biography:...

 visited Halhul in 1838, describing its surroundings as "thrifty", with numerous fields, vineyards, cattle, and goats. He reported that it was the "head of its district" and that the old mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 was in poor condition and had a tall minaret
Minaret
A minaret مناره , sometimes مئذنه) is a distinctive architectural feature of Islamic mosques, generally a tall spire with an onion-shaped or conical crown, usually either free standing or taller than any associated support structure. The basic form of a minaret includes a base, shaft, and gallery....

 from which many other villages could be seen.

In July 1939, during the Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

, the village was the site of an atrocity committed by the British Black Watch Regiment. In an attempt to force the villagers to give up weapons they were suspected of hiding, all the men in the village were imprisoned in a wire cage in the sun with little water. According to the British official Keith-Roach
Edward Keith-Roach
Edward Keith-Roach‏ . British Colonial administrator during the British mandate on Palestine. served as the governor of Jerusalem from 1926 to 1945. Nicknamed "Pasha of Jerusalem"...

, after permission had been obtained, the officers
… instructed that they be kept there [in an open cage] and he gave them half a pint of water per diem. I saw the original order. The weather was very hot for it was summer. According to Indian Army Medical standards, four pints of water a day is the minimum that a man can live upon exposed to hot weather. After 48 hours treatment most of the men were very ill and eleven old and enfeebled ones died. I was instructed that no civil inquest should be held. Finally, the High Commissioner, MacMichael, decided compensation should be paid, and my Assistant and I assessed the damage at the highest rate allowed by the law, and paid out over three thousand pounds to the bereft families.
Some witnesses mentioned a second cage, either for women or a 'good' cage with adequate water for men who cooperated. A man who was driven by thirst to falsely claim to have hidden a gun down a well was killed when he failed to retrieve it.

In March 1979, the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF) enforced a curfew in Halhul lasting sixteen days. Two youths, one a young girl, were shot and killed by Jewish settlers while protesting during the curfew. In the Second Intifada, in February 2002, the IDF raided Halhul destroying its police station, several houses, and a machine shop suspected of manufacturing weapons for Palestinian militants.

Geography


It is built atop Mount Nabi Yunis, the highest peak in the West Bank at 1,030 meters above sea level. The city has a land area of 37,335 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.

Demographics


In 1922, Halhul had a population of 1,927, rising to 2,523 in a 1931 British Mandate census. According to 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...

's 1945 land and population survey, Halhul had a recorded population of 3,380 Arabs. While a part of Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, in 1961, there were 5,387 residents. Under the Israelis, in censuses taken in 1982 and 1987, Halhul had a population of 6,040 and 9,800, respectively.

According to the first 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, of the total 15,663 residents, 1,686 (10.8%) 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 makeup was 51.4% male and 48.6% female. About 54.7% of the inhabitants were below the age of 20, 41.2% were between the ages of 20 and 64, and 0.4% were over the age of 64.

Government


In the latest municipal elections in Halhul in 2004, held by Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

, 13 council members were elected to replace the very long-serving council headed by Mohammed Milhim
Mohammed Milhim
Mohammed Milhim is the former mayor of the city of Halhul in the southern West Bank. He graduated the University of Lebanon with a certificate in English literature in 1974. In 1980 he was exiled from the Palestinian territories for being a member of the PLO Executive Committee and was allowed...

. The newly elected council members elected engineer Raed al-Atrash who, despite the short serving period of nine months, managed to restructure the municipality and introduce new faces to the serving staff. After Atrash's resignation, the council elected deputy Ziad Abu Yousef as the new mayor. The council has two women in the female seats.

External links