|• Also spelled||Bala'a (official)
|• Type||Municipality (from 1995)|
|• Head of Municipality||Ahmad Said Mansur|
|• Jurisdiction||23,000 dunams (23.0 km2 or 8.9 sq mi)|
Bal'a (Arabic: بلعة) is a Palestinian town in the Tulkarm Governorate, located approximately nine kilometers northeast of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank and three kilometers away from the highway connecting Tulkarm with Nablus.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the town had a population of approximately 6,604 in 2007. In 1922, the town had a population of 1,259 nearly doubled to 2,220 in 1945. After Israel's occupation of the town in 1967 after the Six-Day War, Bal'a inhabitants numbered 3,800 after dozens of families from nearby towns such as, Deir al-Ghusun settled there after being expelled for security reasons.
In 1922 its population was 1,259 — a large village at the time. According to a census by the British Mandate of Palestine in 1931, Bal'a had 1,539 residents. Then in a 1945 land and population survey by Sami Hadawi, the population rose to 2,220. The town's growth stunted after the Six-Day War, going from 3,400 in 1967 to just 3,800 in 1987.
In the first Palestinian census by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 1997, Bal'a had a population of 5,444 inhabitants. More than 20% of the residents were Palestinian refugees. The gender make-up was 49.1% male and 50.9% female. In 2007, Bal'a's residents numbered 6,604.
Bal'a's primary source of income is agriculture. The town's land area consists of about 23,000 dunams most of which is arable land. The town annually produces an average 10,000 tons of olive oil with olives being the main cash crop of Bal'a and surrounding towns and villages. Other common orchards include figs, apricots and almonds. Wheat and barley are grown during the winter while tomatoes, marrows and green peppers are grown mostly during the summer. Livestock is a major factor in Bal'a's agriculture sector as many families own thousands of hens as well as sheep, goats and cattle.
A few hundred in the town work for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in careers as teachers, doctors and business managers. A large number of people are in service with various PNA security branches, including the Preventive Security Service. The town's built-up are is currently about 3,600 dunams. Bal'a has six schools: Two secondary, four primary. Boys and girls attend different schools. There are also three kindergartens.
Notable people from Bal'a
- Hakam Balawi - Top aide of Yasser Arafat, former PLO ambassador to Algeria and Tunisia and the Interior Minister of the Palestinian National Authority in 2003.
- Fathi Balawi - Early Fatah leader. He died in 1996
- Omar Jabar - Local Hamas commander and allegedly involved in Passover massacre. He was detained by Israeli authorities in 2008.
- Abu Yasin family is the richest family in Bal'a.
- Location Balaa Municipality
- 2007 PCBS census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). p. 107.
- Welcome To Bal'a: Town Statistics and Facts
- Tulkarm District Statistics from Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine (1970) Hadawi, Sami. The Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- Palestinian Population by Locality and Refugee Status Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
- Palestinian Population by Locality, Sex and Age Groups in Years Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS)
- Economical Situation Balaa Municipality
- Education Balaa Municipality