Beit Hanoun

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Beit Hanoun
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic بيت حانون
 • Also spelled Beit Hanun (official)
Bayt Hanun (unofficial)
Official logo of Beit Hanoun
Municipal Seal of Beit Hanoun
Beit Hanoun is located in the Palestinian territories
Beit Hanoun
Beit Hanoun
Location of Beit Hanoun within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°32′29.23″N 34°32′10.60″E / 31.5414528°N 34.5362778°E / 31.5414528; 34.5362778Coordinates: 31°32′29.23″N 34°32′10.60″E / 31.5414528°N 34.5362778°E / 31.5414528; 34.5362778
Governorate North Gaza
 • Type City
 • Head of Municipality Mohamad Nazek al-Kafarna
 • Jurisdiction 12,500 dunams (12.5 km2 or 4.8 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Jurisdiction 32,187
Name meaning "The house of Hanun"[1]

Beit Hanoun (Arabic: بيت حانون‎) is a city on the northeast edge of the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of 32,187 in mid-2006.[2] It is administered by the Hamas administration. It is located by the Hanoun stream, just 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) away from the Israeli town of Sderot.



According to a legend, Beit Hanoun was the capital of the Philistine King Hanoun, who fought the Assyrians in the 8th century BCE.

The Ayyubids defeated the Crusaders at a battle in Umm al-Nasser hill, just west of Beit Hanoun in 1239, and built the Umm al-Naser Mosque ("Mother of Victories Mosque") there in commemoration of the victory.[3] A Mamluk post office was located in Beit Hanoun as well.[4]

Ottoman rule[edit]

In 1838 Edward Robinson passed by, and described how "all were busy with the wheat harvest; the reapers were in the fields; donkeys and camels were moving homewards with their high loads of sheaves; while on the threshing-floors near the village I counted not less than thirty gangs of cattle.."[5]

During the late Ottoman period, in May 1863, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village. Among the gardens he observed indications of ancient constructions in the shape of cut stones, fragments of columns, and bases.[6]

In 1883 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as a "small mud village, surrounded by gardens, with a well to the west. The ground is flat, and to the east is a pond beside the road."[7]

Egyptian rule[edit]

Residents of Beit Hanoun with neighbors from Kibbutz Nir Am, 1944

In the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the vicinity of Beit Hanoun, and later Beit Hanoun itself, served as an Israeli tactical wedge (Beit Hanoun wedge) to halt the movement of the Egyptian army from Ashkelon to forces to the south in the area that later became the Gaza Strip.

While under control of Egyptian authorities, Egypt complained to the Mixed Armistice Commission that on the 7 and 14 October 1950 Israeli military Forces had shelled and machine-gunned the Arab villages of Abasan al-Kabera and Beit Hanoun in Egyptian controlled territory of the Gaza strip. This action caused the death of seven and the wounding of twenty civilians.[8]

Israeli rule[edit]

The Israeli army besieged Beit Hanoun from 15 May to 30 June 2003, during which it demolished dozens of houses, razed large areas of agricultural land and largely destroyed the civilian infrastructure of the town.[9]During the Raid on Beit Hanoun in 2004, the town was besieged for 37 days. About 20 Palestinians were killed and again immense damage was caused to property and infrastructure. The infrastructure of Beit Hanoun was heavily damaged during an incursion by Israeli forces in 2005.[10]

Palestinian authority rule[edit]

In the 2006 shelling of Beit Hanoun, 19 Palestinians were killed by IDF shelling in response for its use as a base from which Palestinian militant groups fired Qassam rockets into northern Negev towns like Sderot and former Gush Katif settlements. Five Qassam rockets were fired from Beit Hanoun during Barack Obama's visit to Israel on March 21, 2013.[11] In December 2006, the UN appointed a fact-finding commission led by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu to investigate the attack. However, Tutu and the other members were not granted permission to travel by Israel and the investigation was cancelled.[12] Tutu's final report to the United Nations human rights council[13] concluded, however, that "[I]n the absence of a well-founded explanation from the Israeli military – who is in sole possession of the relevant facts – the mission must conclude that there is a possibility that the shelling of Beit Hanoun constituted a war crime."[14]

According to the Palestinian Authority, 140 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Beit Hanoun from September 2000 to November 2006.[15]

On 27 March 2007, sewage water flooded the northern Umm al-Nasser suburb of Beit Hanoun, killing five people.[16]

Educational and health institutions[edit]

There are twelve secondary, primary and agricultural schools in Beit Hanoun and an agricultural college which is related to al-Azhar University - Gaza. There is a medical center and hospital in the city and several clinics mostly managed by the United Nations.[17]


In 1922, Beit Hanoun had a population of 885.[18] The population more than doubled by 1945. In that year, a land and population survey recorded 1,730 inhabitants including 50 Jews.[19] In 1961, the population rose to 3,876.[18]

In the first official census by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Beit Hanoun had a population of 20,780. Over 90% of the residents were Palestinian refugees.[20] There were 10,479 males and 10,301 females. People of 14 years of age or younger constituted the majority at 65.6%, people between the ages of 20 and 44 was 26.8%, 45 to 64 was 5.7% and residents above the age of 65 was 1.9%.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 358
  2. ^ Projected Mid -Year Population for North Gaza Governorate by Locality 2004– 2006 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
  3. ^ Sharon, 1999, p. 98 ff
  4. ^ Beit Hanoon Municipality of Gaza.
  5. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1842, II, pp. 371 -372
  6. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 175, as noted by Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 247
  7. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 233-234
  8. ^ UN Doc S/1459 of 20 February 1950 Report of the Mixed Armistice Commission
  9. ^ Uprooting Palestinian Trees And Leveling Agricultural Land—The tenth Report on Israeli Land Sweeping and Demolition of Palestinian Buildings and Facilities in the Gaza Strip 1 April, 2003 – 30 April,2004. PCHR, 1 May 2004
  10. ^ European Commission report MED/2004/090-716 Damage Assessment: Beit Hanoun Area 17 December 2005
  11. ^ "Rockets hit Sderot as Obama visits Israel". 21 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  12. ^ BBC Israel 'blocks Tutu Gaza mission'. BBC News.
  13. ^ HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES Report of the high-level fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun established under Council resolution S-3/1
  14. ^ Israeli shelling of Beit Hanoun a possible war crime, Desmond Tutu tells UN, The Guardian, 15 September 2008.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Sewage flood causes Gaza deaths. BBC News, 27 March 2007
  17. ^ Our City Beithanoun Municipality.
  18. ^ a b Welcome To Bayt Hanun
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p. 45
  20. ^ Palestinian Population by Locality and Refugee Status Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
  21. ^ Palestinian Population by Locality, Sex and Age Groups in Years Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).


External links[edit]