|• Also spelled||al-Walaje (official)|
|• Type||Village Council|
|• Head of Municipality||Saleh Hilmi Khalifa|
|• Jurisdiction||17,709 dunams (17.7 km2 or 6.8 sq mi)|
al-Walaja (Arabic: الولجة) is a Palestinian town located in a seamline enclave in the West Bank, four kilometers northwest of the city of Bethlehem. It is under the joint jurisdiction of the Bethlehem Governorate and the Jerusalem municipality. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics the village had a population of 2,041 mostly Muslim inhabitants in 2007.
In 1596, Walaja appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Quds of the Liwa of Quds. It had a population of 100 Muslim households and 9 bachelors and paid taxes on wheat, barley, summercrops, vines or fruit trees, and goats or beehives.
The old village, less than two kilometers northwest of the new town on the Israeli side of the Green Line, was captured by the Harel Brigade of the Palmach in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The village defense consisted of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Arab Liberation Army as well as a local militia. It was reclaimed by Arab forces more than once before it capitulated to Israeli troops on October 21, 1948.
|Also Spelled||al-Walaje, el-Welejeh|
|Date of depopulation||October 21, 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
The original location was on the opposite side of the wadi. In the 1949 Armistice Agreements the Green Line was drawn through the village, with 70% of the land and 30 water springs[dubious ] on the Israeli side. In January 1952, an IDF patrol seized two Arab villagers in a field 300 meters on the Jordanian side of the armistice line and brought them to an abandoned house in Walaja, where they were killed. Israel told UN investigators that they had been shot inside Israeli territory when they had jumped out from behind a rock. The UN and Jordanian cross-examiners were unable obtain an Israeli admission, but the Israeli delegate on the Mixed Armistice Commission wrote privately to his superior that the allegations were true but the patrol was not acting under orders.
After the Six-Day War, Israel redrew the Jerusalem municipal boundaries, annexing half of al-Walaja's remaining land for the construction of Har Gilo and Gilo. Fruit orchards were cut down and homes were demolished due to the absence of building permits. The Israeli West Bank barrier is being built through the village lands.
In April 2010, Gush Etzion settlers and residents of al-Walaja united to protest the extension of security fences around Jerusalem. The event was partially coordinated by the Kfar Etzion-based organization ארצשלום ("Land of Peace") dedicated to building contacts between Jewish settlers and West Bank Arabs.
According to a census by the British Mandate government in 1945, al-Walaja had a population of 1,650 inhabitants and a land area of 17,708 dunams. The residents fled when it was captured and the Israeli village of Aminadav was built on the land. One of the few oldtimers is Abed Rabbeh, who lives alone in a cave and raises chickens. When US President Barack Obama was visiting Israel, Rabbeh invited him to his cave but the US Consulate in Jerusalem sent a brief note of regret saying this could not be arranged.
Landmarks and cultural institutions
The village has three mosques. It is also the site of al- Badawi, a 5,000 year old olive tree, claimed to be the oldest in the world. The Al-Walaja sports club was established in 1995. A women's club and the Ansar Youth Center opened in 2000. In 2005, the Ministry of the Interior established the Agriculture Charitable Society to aid local farmers.
- East Jerusalem
- List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
- List of villages depopulated during the Arab-Israeli conflict
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Al-Walaja.|
- 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.116
- Wolf-Dieter Hütteroth and Kamal Abdulfattah (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. p. 116.
- Conder and Kitchener, 1881, III:22. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.322
- Transformation in Arab Settlement, Moshe Brawer, in The Land that Became Israel: Studies in Historical Geography, Ruth Kark (ed), Magnes Press, Jerusalem 1989, p.177
- Khalidi, Walid All That Remains 1992
- Morris, 2004, p.xx, village #349. Also gives cause of depopulation
- Plans for a new Israeli "South Jerusalem" Grabbing Palestinian lands from Al Walaja, Battir, and Beit Jala
- Morris, Benny (1993) Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation, and the Countdown to the Suez War Oxford University Press ISBN 978-0-19-829262-3 p 183
- Sherwood, Harriet (15 September 2011). "Doubt and despair in a village that has been through hell". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- Living in a Cage
- Israeli Authorities Cut Down Hundreds of Fruit-Bearing Treesin Ain Jawaizeh Area of Al-Walaja Village, Bethlehem Governorate
- 'Settlers and Palestinians may unite'
- "I can't live without this place" March 3, 2010[dead link]
- Al Walaja religious and archaeological sites
- Conder, Claude Reignier and H.H. Kitchener (1881): The Survey of Western Palestine: memoirs of the topography, orography, hydrography, and archaeology. London:Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. vol 3
- Hadawi, Sami (1970), Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center
- Khalidi, Walid (1992), All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, ISBN 978-0-88728-224-9 p. 206-207
- Morris, Benny (2004), The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6
- Al Walaja Village (Fact Sheet)
- Al Walaja Village Profile
- Al Walaja Areal Photo
- The priorities and needs for development in Al Walaja village based on the community and local authorities’ assessment
- Welcome To al-Walaja
- al-Walaja, from the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
- Palestinian statehood: The olive tree of al-Walaja - video