|This article may need to be rewritten entirely to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. (March 2013)|
|• Head of Municipality||Wajdi Melhem|
|• Jurisdiction||37,335 dunams (37.3 km2 or 14.4 sq mi)|
Halhul (Arabic: حلحول, transliteration: Halhûl) is a Palestinian city located in the southern West Bank, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of Hebron in the Hebron Governorate. The town is located on the highest peak of the Judean Mountains (1026 m above sea level). According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the city had a population of 22,108 mostly Muslim inhabitants in 2007.
According to medieval traditions (Jewish, Christian and Muslim), the graves of the biblical prophets Gad and Nathan are in Halhul, as well as a Muslim tradition that Jonah's grave is in this town. The burial sites had been designated in the list of Holy Places under Israeli rule, and now under the Palestinian Authority.
A small Israeli settlement Karmei Tzur is on the outskirts of Halhul, named after the Judean kingdom town Beth Zur, site of a Maccabeean victory, and later defeat. The town is surrounded by ancient burial caves, and is adjacent to the nearby archaeological site of Burgh e-Sur.
According to the Bible, Halhul was a city in the tribal territory of Judah, located in the hill country near Beth-zur. Biblical scholar Edward Robinson identified the modern town with the "Halhul" mentioned in the Book of Joshua. John Kitto noted that the modern name is identical with the Hebrew given in the Bible, hence "the name has remained unchanged for more than 3,300 years."
Burgh e-Sur, an archaeological site on the border of the town, is considered the location of the Battle of Beth Zur the first successful battle of the Maccabees against the Selukians, (The Syrian Greek empire). The town of Beth Zur was later demolished by the Greeks, after the Battle of Beth Zechariah.
The archaeological digs at Burgh e-Sur found remnants of an ancient fortress city of the mid Bronze Age, presumably of the Egyptian Hyksos. The city was demolished during an Egyptian raid in the 17th century B.C. and was left in ruins for over 300 years. At the beginning of the Iron Age in the 11th century BC it was resettled by Israelites. The bible mentions Rehoboam refortifying the city. Around 1000 BC the city was abandoned and then slowly resettled until around 650 BC it was a bustling city. The city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar I during his punitive pass through the Kingdom of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The city is mentioned again in chronicles of battles between the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic kingdom. It was fortified by Judah the Maccabee after his victory in the Battle of Beth Zur nearby. Following the removal of the Edomite threat by King Yohanan Hurkanus the town decayed. It was fortified again only 150 years later, during the Bar Kokhba revolt.
Because the Roman and Arab house foundations were dug deeply into ancient layers, many of the findings have been mixed up, and it is hard to determine and analyze the dig results. Much pottery emerged with Ancient Hebrew alphabet inscriptions most saying "To the king" and mentioning names of locations nearby. Handles with Jewish names inscribed in Greek have been found from the Helenistic period.
Also found were coins from the Persian period, with the Ancient Hebrew alphabet letters YHD, spelling Yehud, the name of the region (Yehud Medinata), and Yehizkiyahu – the name of the Jewish Peha, the region ruler. The modern New Israeli Shekel shape and inscription are modeled after these coins.
Chronicler Ali of Herat documented in 1173 CE, that while Halhul was a part of the Kingdom of Jerusalem of the Crusaders, it was a village in which the tomb of Yunis ibn Matta (Jonah son of Amittai) was located. Under the Ayyubids in 1226, a mosque with a minaret was constructed in the town. That same year, Arab geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi visited Halhul, reporting that it lay between Hebron and Jerusalem and contained the tomb of Jonah. In the 14th-century, Jews were living in Halhul. For a time, the village served as a place of Jewish pilgrimage.
Edward Robinson visited Halhul in 1838, describing its surroundings as "thrifty", with numerous fields, vineyards, cattle, and goats. He reported that it was the "head of its district" and that the old mosque was in poor condition and had a tall minaret from which many other villages could be seen.
In July 1939, during the Arab Revolt, the village was the site of an atrocity committed by the British Black Watch Regiment. In an attempt to force the villagers to give up weapons they were suspected of hiding, all the men in the village were imprisoned in a wire cage in the sun with little water. According to the British official Keith-Roach, after permission had been obtained, the officers
… instructed that they be kept there [in an open cage] and he gave them half a pint of water per diem. I saw the original order. The weather was very hot for it was summer. According to Indian Army Medical standards, four pints of water a day is the minimum that a man can live upon exposed to hot weather. After 48 hours treatment most of the men were very ill and eleven old and enfeebled ones died. I was instructed that no civil inquest should be held. Finally, the High Commissioner, MacMichael, decided compensation should be paid, and my Assistant and I assessed the damage at the highest rate allowed by the law, and paid out over three thousand pounds to the bereft families.
Some witnesses mentioned a second cage, either for women or a 'good' cage with adequate water for men who cooperated. A man who was driven by thirst to falsely claim to have hidden a gun down a well was killed when he failed to retrieve it.
Jordanian and Israeli rule
In 1948 after the founding of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and following the truce Israel, Halhul came under Jordanian rule, although Jordan had never officially annexed the west bank.
On 21 December 1953, the Israeli reparation Unit 101 (headed by Ariel Sharon) passed through Halhul's main street lead by Meir Har-Zion, reached Hebron and demolished a house, killing several soldiers from the national Jordanian guard. It was thought of as the unit's most daring mission.
In March 1979, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) enforced a curfew in Halhul lasting sixteen days. Two youths, one a young girl, were shot and killed by Jewish settlers while protesting during the curfew.
The same month, a Palestinian Security Guards member was killed, during a shootout following an Israeli raid in Halhul, to arrest Islamic Jihad leader Murad Jelid and an assistant, Haled Zbarra, suspected of participating in sniper attacks on civilians.
In August 2003 Israeli police uncovered a large workhouse for fabricating forged drivers license and Israeli ID cards.
According to a Tel Aviv University report, from June 2005 a four man Jewish terrorist cell (who allegedly killed over 10 Palestinians) lead by a former Jewish Defense League senior member, had totally burnt down the mayor of Halhul's house. No one was injured in that incident.
On 24 March 2007 Israeli authorities demolished a house that did not have proper permits. The case was fought and reached the Israeli high courts, which kept the verdict. Demonstrations ensued.
The town reached headlines again in October 2010 when Israeli police found a stash of large tractors stolen from southern Israeli villages near Beer Sheva.
Oמ 23 September 2011 a Asher Palmer, a Jewish man and his baby son Jonathan were killed by stones thrown at their car, at the entrance to Halhul, while driving on the main road. For several days the police and media claimed it was a car accident, while the family and Jewish settlers claimed the police was doing a cover-up for political reasons. But on 6 October the Shabak revealed that the murderers, two residents of Halhul, were found.
On December 2011 the UNDP decided to assist in establishing a mental health center in Halhul.
In 1922, Halhul had a population of 1,927, rising to 2,523 in a 1931 British Mandate census. According to Sami Hadawi's 1945 land and population survey, Halhul had a recorded population of 3,380 Arabs. While a part of Jordan, in 1961, there were 5,387 residents. Under the Israelis, in censuses taken in 1982 and 1987, Halhul had a population of 6,040 and 9,800, respectively.
According to the first census by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 1997, of the total 15,663 residents, 1,686 (10.8%) were Palestinian refugees. The gender makeup was 51.4% male and 48.6% female. About 54.7% of the inhabitants were below the age of 20, 41.2% were between the ages of 20 and 64, and 0.4% were over the age of 64.
In the latest municipal elections in Halhul in 2004, held by Palestinian National Authority, 13 council members were elected to replace the very long-serving council headed by Mohammed Milhim. The newly elected council members elected engineer Raed al-Atrash who, managed to restructure the municipality and introduce new faces to the serving staff. After Atrash's resignation, the council elected deputy Ziad Abu Yousef as the new mayor. The council has two women in the female seats.
- Ali Abu Awwad, peace activist and pacifist.
- 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.118.
- Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Amsterdam University Press. 31 December 2000. p. 542. ISBN 978-90-5356-503-2. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- Robinson, 1841, p.282.
- William Lindsay Alexander; John Kitto (1864). A cyclopædia of biblical literature, ed. by J. Kitto. pp. 199–200. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- Lexicon of Eretz Israel – Halhul (Hebrew)
- Lixicon of Eretz Israel – Halhul.
- Images and transcriptions of ancient Jewish coins
- Ali of Herat quoted in le Strange, 1890, p.447.
- Mujir ad-Din quoted in le Strange, 1890, p.448.
- Al-Hamawi quoted in le Strange, 1890, p.447.
- Fred Skolnik; Michael Berenbaum (2007). Encyclopaedia Judaica. Macmillan Reference USA in association with the Keter Pub. House. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-02-865936-7. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
- Robinson, 1841, p.281.
- Hughes, M. (2009) The Banality of Brutality: British Armed Forces and the Repression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936–39, English Historical Review Vol. CXXIV No. 507, 314–354.
- Report of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the population of the occupied territories. 
- Winslow, 2007, p.105.
- YNet article: Scores hit in IDF Attack on Gaza (Hebrew)
- Nana News – Police uncover forged documents factory in Halhul (Hebrew)
- Daniel Raizner, Legal aspects of fighting terror, Tel Aviv University, June 2005.
- One house demolished, two facing demolition (POICA website – a monitoring organization against Israeli colonization).
- Video from Hazalla ambulance reaching the killing site. The town hill is seen throughout the video.
- Maariv article: Asher Palmer and his baby's murderers found (Hebrew)
- UNDP decision on mental health institution establishment in Palestine
- Halhul Henbont concert video on DailyMotion (French narration)
- Israel today: Palestinian attacks against Israelis on the rise in Judea, Samaria
- Welcome To Halhul: Town Statistics and Facts Sami Hadawi (Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center) via palestineremembered.com
- Welcome to Halhul Palestine Remembered.
- Hadawi, 1970, p.50.
- 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).
- 291/mayor.htm Curriculum vitae of the Mayor] Halhul Municipality
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Halhul.|
- Chomsky, Noam, "Scenes from the Uprising". Z Magazine, July 1988
- Hadawi, Sami (1970), Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center
- Robinson, Edward (1856), Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1838–52: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838, University of Michigan
- le Strange, Guy (1890), Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500, Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund
- Winslow, Phillip C. (2007), Victory for Us is to See You Suffer: In the West Bank with the Palestinians and the Israelis, Beacon Press, ISBN 978-0-8070-6906-6
- Halhul Town (Fact Sheet)
- Halhul Town Profile
- Halhul Town Areal Photo
- Nebbi Yunas photo (black and white) by Nissim Krispil
- The priorities and needs for development in Halhul town based on the community and local authorities’ assessment
- images of Halhul town in the 1920's
- Fi Filastin: Madinat Halhul. A video showing the ancient remnants and beautiful nature surrounding Halhul, and complaining against the remains of past Israeli presence. (Arabic)
- Driving through Halhul video on YouTube
- Halhul panoramic video including a bit on recent history. From a house in Halhul you can see The Dead Sea, Hebron, Kiryat Arba, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv Jaffa and Gaza.
- Israeli rubbish sold at Halhul flea market. About the financial situation in the Middle East as seen in Halhul (YouTube, Israel TV, Arabic with Hebrew narration and subtitles)
- April 2009 activities of Taayush for tilling land near Karmei Tzur.