Al Jib

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Al Jib
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic الجيب
 • Also spelled al-Jib (official)
al-Jeeb, el-Jib, el-Jeeb (unofficial)
View of Jib's center, 2012
View of Jib's center, 2012
Al Jib is located in the Palestinian territories
Al Jib
Al Jib
Location of Al Jib within Palestine
Coordinates: 31°51′N 35°11′E / 31.850°N 35.183°E / 31.850; 35.183Coordinates: 31°51′N 35°11′E / 31.850°N 35.183°E / 31.850; 35.183
Governorate Jerusalem
 • Type Village Council
 • Jurisdiction 9,879 dunams (9.9 km2 or 3.8 sq mi)
Population (2006, approx.)
 • Jurisdiction 4,700
Name meaning El Jib, personal name[1]

Al Jib or al-Jib (Arabic: الجيب‎, Hebrew: ג'יב) is a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem Governorate, located ten kilometers northwest of Jerusalem,[2] in the seam zone of the West Bank.[3] The surrounding lands are home to Al Jib Bedouin. Since 1967, Al Jib is occupied by Israel and about 90% of its lands are assigned as Area C. About a quarter of the land is seized by Military Orders for the establishment of Israeli settlements. The neighborhood Al Khalayleh was separated by the West Bank barrier. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, al-Jib had a population of approximately 4,700 in 2006.[4] The modern village is identified with the ancient city of Gibeon.


Al-Jib, 1938-39

The first scientific identification of al-Jib with the ancient Canaanite city of Gibeon was made by Edward Robinson in 1838.[5] Archaeological excavations led by James Pritchard in 1956, 1957, and 1959 confirmed this identification with the discovery of 56 jar handles inscribed with the Semitic triliteral gb'n.[5] The inscriptions were dated to the end of the Judean monarchy and have been cross-referenced against genealogical lists in the Book of Chronicles. While they include many Benjaminite names, they also include non-Israelite names, attesting to the intermixing of local population.[5]

In the Book of Joshua, ancient Jib or Gibeon is described as "a large city, like one of the royal cities", and as being the place where Joshua made the sun stand still (Joshua 10:12). The flat and fertile land with many springs which surrounds it gave rise to a flourishing economy, attested to in the large number of ancient jars and wine cellars discovered there. The jars could hold 45 liters of wine each and 66 wine cellars two meters deep and dug out of rock have been unearthed in Jib.[5]

"El-Jib" was described by the geographer Yâkût in 1225 as having two fortresses standing close together.[6]

By the 1550s the agricultural revenues of Jib belonged to the endowment (waqf) of Mamluk Sultan Inal (r. 1453-61) in Egypt. However, three tribes of the Hutaym Bedouin were affiliated with the village. The taxes they paid plus levies normally earmarked for the military were in the 1550s designated for the waqf of Hasseki Sultan Imaret in Jerusalem.[7]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "on the end of a hill, rising 300 feet above the valley. On the south is a narrow plain, and there is an open valley on the east, whilst to the north and west there is also a flat plain. The hill is thus isolated, and a position naturally of great strength. The houses cover the northern part of the hill. The village is of moderate size, the houses of stone, with a central tower, and massive foundations exist among the modern buildings. On the east, rather lower than the village and a little below the top of the ridge, is the spring, which issues from a cave. Below it are remains of a good-sized reservoir. There are many springs on the south and west, and caves in the southern side of the hill. Olives, figs, pears, apples, and vines are cultivated round the village and in the plain; there are also extensive corn-fields in the low ground."[8]

After 1967[edit]

After the 1948 termination of the British Mandate of Palestine, Jordan took control of al-Jib as part of the West Bank. In the 1967 Six-Day war, Israel occupied the West Bank. Since 1967, Israel confiscated 26.6% of Al Jib’s lands to establish the large urban Israeli settlements Givon (1978), Giv'on HaHadashah (1980) and Giv'at Ze'ev (1982)[9]

Under the 1995 Oslo II Accord, 7.5% of the total village area was assigned as Area B, the remaining 92.5% became Area C, under full Israeli control.[9]

Separation wall[edit]

The barrier in northern Jerusalem, which confines Al Jib to an enclave under Israeli control.

In 2005, Israel started the construction of a separation barrier around al-Jib, al-Judeira, Bir Nabala, Beit Hanina al-Balad and Kalandiya.[10] The wall was build on Palestinian land seized by Military Orders.[11] The wall completely surrounds the villages, forming an enclave.[3] One effect is that it prevents the Palestinian residents without Israeli citizenship or permanent residency cards from using the nearby road-system serving Jerusalem and nearby Israeli settlements.

The wall has also divided the village of Al Jib. Part of their farm-land lies on the other side of the wall and only a limited number of residents have limited access. A complete neighborhood, Al Khalayleh with an estimated population of 700 citizens, is now located west of the Wall in a separate enclave between Israeli settlements. In April 2012, Israel demolished a number of houses in Al Khalayleh and displaced 67 Palestinian refugees from the neighborhood, most of whom were children. About half of Al Jib's total area, including Al Khalayleh, is located on the other side of the barrier.[9]

Israel claims that it intends to build two alternate roads that will link the enclave to the rest of the West Bank to prevent its complete isolation. One will connect the enclave with Ramallah, which lies to its north, while the other will connect al-Jib to the Bedouin area, which lies to its west, by means of three underground passageways and two bridges. The road's construction will require complex engineering work and will cost tens of millions of shekels, so it is likely that the project will take a long time, if ever, to complete[9][10]

B'Tselem points out that because thousands of the enclave's residents hold Israeli identity cards, they are entitled to free access to East Jerusalem by law, and that the barrier thus "will severely impair [their] human rights" by cutting off direct access.[10]


Al Jib is on the list of "Endangered Cultural Heritage Sites in the West Bank Governorates" compiled by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOCIP) of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) due to the excavations of ancient Gibeon.[12] During the second Intifada, the Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange (PACE) brought together Palestinian youth and elders from the surrounding villages to repair and restore the ancient water pool and other sites around the village.[13]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 296
  2. ^ Mariam Shahin (2005). Palestine: A Guide. Interlink Books. p. 335. ISBN 1-56656-557-X. 
  3. ^ a b "West Bank Closures - Jerusalem". United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. March 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  4. ^ Projected Mid -Year Population for Jerusalem Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
  5. ^ a b c d Brooks, 2005, p. 93-94.
  6. ^ Le Strange, 1890, p. 494
  7. ^ Singer, 2002, p.49
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 10
  9. ^ a b c d Al Jib Village Profile, pp. 17-20. Applied Research Institute (ARIJ), August 2012
  10. ^ a b c High Court approves Bir Nabalah enclave. B'Tselem, 26 November 2006
  11. ^ Israel’s Segregation Wall Encircles Three Palestinian Villages in Northwest Jerusalem. ARIJ, 7 May 2005
  12. ^ "List of Palestinian Cultural & Archeological Sites". Jerusalem Media and Communication Center. Archived from the original on 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  13. ^ Adel Yahya (18 February 2004). "Palestinian Work to Preserve Historic Sites". The Daily Star's Outlook Magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-12. [dead link]


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