|• Also spelled||'Aqraba (official)
|• Head of Municipality||Jawdat 'Abd al-Hadi|
|• Jurisdiction||34,659 dunams (34.7 km2 or 13.4 sq mi)|
Aqraba (Arabic: عقربة) is a Palestinian town in the Nablus Governorate, located eighteen kilometers southeast of Nablus in the northern West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Aqraba had a population of approximately 8,180 inhabitants in 2007.
Nearby hamlets surrounding Aqraba for natural extensions of the town; they are the khirbets of al-Arama, al-Kroom, Abu al-Reisa, al-Rujman, Firas al-Din and Tel al-Khashaba. The total population of these hamlets is estimated to be 500. The prominent families of Aqraba are Al Dayriyeh, Bani Jaber, Al-Mayadima, Bani Jame', and Bani Fadel.
History and archeology
Aqraba is mentioned several times in the Bible as Akrabbim being at the southern boundary of the "Promised Land". Its Arabic translation is "scorpions". Aqraba in Arabic means "scorpion" (singular).
In the town is a mosque built of ancient stones with Greek inscriptions and contained a cross. According to local tradition and a number of British scholars believe the mosque was originally a Byzantine-era church. To the north of the village there is a fort called Qal'at al-Hosn consisting of a block of buildings put on the hill. The masonry is drafted with a rustic boss. A cistern exists within the enclosure which still holds water. A birkeh ("pool") stands in the middle of Aqraba, while on the hillside nearby are some kokhim, tombs carved from the rock.
It consists of about 34,700 dunams, of which 1,783 is built-up area. Around 62% of the remaining land is covered with olive and almond groves, 8% with other fruits and vegetables and the remaining 30% for grazing purposes.
Aqraba's unemployment rate is above 50%. Because the Palestinian labor force is unable to work in Israeli localities, the town's workers currently hold public and private jobs. Some also depend on agriculture and industrial workshops as main sources of income.
Some farmland near Yanun owned by 300 Aqraba villagers was defined as an IDF firing range in 1967, but exercises were customarily suspended for brief periods in the past to allow the villagers access to their lands,according to local Palestinians. Since then they claim, the area has not been used in as a fire range for two decades. Recently these villagers, who either farm or live there have been denied access. They claim that this restriction does not apply equally to an outpost, Givat 777, of the Israeli settlement of Itamar. They complain of settler harassment, the burning of vehicles, and of settler sheep flocks being led to greaze on their wheat fields. The IDF has replied that both Palestinians and Israeli settlers are treated in the same way.
In August 2014, the IDF brought in bulldozers to demolish 4 Palestinian homes on the outskirts of the town, in the al-Taweel neighbourhood, apparently claiming that they were built without a permit. The villagers claimed that the houses have been there for a century.
Aqraba is located in Area B, giving the Palestinian National Authority control over its administration and civil affairs. The town is governed by a municipal council, consisting of eleven members including the mayor. In the 2005 Palestinian municipal elections, the Fatah-backed Future Palestine list won the majority of the seats (six) while the Hamas-backed al-Islamiya list won five seats. Jawdat 'Abd al-Hadi was elected mayor.
- 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.110.
- Aqraba Village: General Information Land Research Center. 2008-10-20.
- Acraba, the last village adjacent to the desert Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem. 2000-12-19.
- A new Expansion in the colony of Itamar on the Lands of the Palestinian Town of Aqraba: General Information about Aqraba The Land Research Center via POICA. ARIJ and LRC 2007-10-21
- Amira Hass,'IDF bars Palestinian farmers, but not settler outpost, from land in disputed firing range,' at Haaretz 3 July 2012.
- 'Israel demolishes 4 Palestinian homes near Nablus,' Ma'an News Agency 20 August 2014.
- Local Elections (Round Three)- Successful lists by local authority and No. of votes obtained Central Elections Commission - Palestine. p.4.
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- 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. (p. 251)
- Aqraba municipality
- Welcome To 'Aqraba
- SWP map 15, IAA
- SWP map 15, Wikimedia commons
- Aqraba, areal photo, ARIJ
- March 2009 demolitions orders for Aqraba homes and mosque