|• Also spelled||al-Obaidya (official)
Deir Dosi (unofficial)
|• Jurisdiction||97,232 dunams (97.2 km2 or 37.5 sq mi)|
|Name meaning||1881: Kh. Deir Ibn Obeid, meaning "The ruin of the monestary of the son of Obeid; also called Mar Theodosius|
Al-Ubeidiya (Arabic: لعبيديّه) is a Palestinian town located 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) east of Bethlehem. The town is a part of the Bethlehem Governorate in the central West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), al-Ubeidiya had a population of over 10,753 in 2007.
History and archaeology
Al-Ubeidiya is named after Saint Theodosius ("Ibn Ubeid" in Arabic), who built and was buried in a monastery 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) west of the town, known as the Monastery of St. Theodosius. It was originally constructed in the 5th-century CE and Theodosius was buried there in 520. The current structure was built by the Crusaders in the 12th-century. It is located on a hilltop and is under the administration of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Mar Saba Monastery—which was built by Saint Sabbas in 484 CE—is located further east of the town center, but within its municipal jurisdiction. An Ancient Roman pool is situated in the center of al-Ubeidiya and was used in the Roman era of rule in Palestine to collect water. According to Dauphin, most of current the Monastery dates from the 19th century, but incorporates Byzantine remains.
The area, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517. In 1596 Al-Ubeidiya appeared in Ottoman tax registers, called Dayr Bani 'Ubayd, being in the nahiya of Al-Quds in the liwa of Al-Quds. It had a population of 42 households and 6 bachelors, all Muslim. Taxes were paid on wheat, barley, occasional revenues, goats and/or beehives. According to local tradition, the modern town of al-Ubeidiya was founded when members of the Shammar tribe from the Arabian Peninsula settled there, and it was not named after St. Theodosius, but after tribal leader, al-Ubeidi Faris.
In 1863, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the place, which he called Deir Dosi, and described the remains of the monastery. In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described there Kh. Deir Ibn Obeid as "Ruins of a modern village".
British Mandate era
In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, the tribal area of Ibaidiyeh had an all Muslim population of 2,000, 880 males and 1,120 females. In the 1931 census the El Ubeidiya consisted of 1,187 persons, still all Muslim, 610 males and 577 females.
The residents are mostly descendants of the Shammar with the main families being al-'Asa, al-Radayda, al-Rabai'a, al-Hasasna, and Abu Sirhan. The population is Muslim (although the monasteries are populated by Greek Orthodox monks) and there are ten mosques in the town.
Since 1997, al-Ubeidiya has been governed by an 11-member municipal council appointed by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The municipality has jurisdiction over 97,232 dunams of land—much larger than the built-up and residential areas of the town which constitute 979 of those dunams. Other localities located within the municipal borders include Wadi al-Arayis.
- Guérin, 1869 pp. 88 -92
- Palmer, 1881, p. 303
- 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.118.
- Al ‘Ubeidiya Town Profile. Applied Research Institute–Jerusalem. 2010.
- Dauphin, 1998, p. 913
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 114.
- Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 111
- Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Bethlehem, p. 18
- Mills, 1932, p. 36
- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, H. H. (1883). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology 3. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Dauphin, Claudine (1998). La Palestine byzantine, Peuplement et Populations. BAR International Series 726 (in French). III : Catalogue. Oxford: Archeopress.
- Guérin, Victor (1869). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 1: Judee, pt. 3. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Hadawi, Sami (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. ISBN 3-920405-41-2.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Palmer, E. H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists Collected During the Survey by Lieutenants Conder and Kitchener, R. E. Transliterated and Explained by E.H. Palmer. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.