Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya

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This article is about Palestinian town in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate. For other uses, see Mazraa (disambiguation).
al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic المزرعه الشرقيّه
Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya
Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya
al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya is located in the Palestinian territories
al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya
al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya
Location of al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya within Palestine
Coordinates: 32°00′12″N 35°16′23″E / 32.00333°N 35.27306°E / 32.00333; 35.27306Coordinates: 32°00′12″N 35°16′23″E / 32.00333°N 35.27306°E / 32.00333; 35.27306
Palestine grid 175/156
Governorate Ramallah & al-Bireh
 • Type Municipality
Population (2006)
 • Jurisdiction 4,495
Name meaning The eastern sown land[1]

al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya (Arabic: المزرعه الشرقيّه‎) is a Palestinian town in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, located 15 kilometers Northeast of Ramallah in the northern West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the town had a population of approximately 4,495 inhabitants in 2007.[2]

The town's many enormous and elaborate mansions have led it to be called the "Miami of the West Bank", according to the BBC.[3][4]

Geographic Location[edit]

The village is one of the towns in the Ramallah and Al-Bireh area, located 15 kilometers to the northeast of the city of Ramallah. It sits at 950 meters above sea level. The village is South East of Mount Aasor. It is north of the village of Turmus'ayya and south of the town of Silwad and the villages of Kafr Malik, Deir Jarir and Abu Falah.


Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya has been inhabited since the middle and late Bronze Age (2000 BC -1000 BC). Archaeological discoveries have been found in the village and the surrounding areas that date back to this time period. The people who have inhabited al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya have long been interested agricultural endeavors especially olive orchards, grape vineyards, fig trees and almond trees, many of which were planted in the seventh century BC when the village was occupied in Roman Palestine in the year 63 BC - 324 AD. The Romans, who cared for the farms and its surrounding areas, built the old settlements. Later the Byzantine empire controlled the area between 324 -638 AD. The Islamic army led by Amr ibn al-Aas coming from the Levant to Jerusalem led to the area being inhabited by the Muslims. The newcomers worked to cultivate the surrounding areas which have been used by the Muslims. The area was also used as a resort for their armies during this time period.[citation needed]

Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya has been identified as the Crusader village named Mezera, and the possible site of a Crusader church.[5] In 1112, Arnulf, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem granted the tithes of Mezera to the abbey of St Mary.[6] In 1183 Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem settled a dispute regarding the tithes of the village.[7]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1517, the village was included in the Ottoman empire with the rest of Palestine, and in the 1596 tax-records it appeared as Mazra'at Abu Tasa, located in the Nahiya of Jabal Quds of the Liwa of Al-Quds. The population was 29 households, all Muslim. They paid a tax rate of 33,3% on agricultural products, which included wheat, barley, olive trees, vineyards and fruit trees, occasional revenues, goats and beehives; a total of 3500 Akçe.[8][9]

In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya as: "A large village on a hill- top, the hill-sides covered with vineyards; there are also olives and figs. The houses are of stone and adobe."[10] In 1900, about 700 people inhabited the village according to statistics from the Department of Statistics of Palestine.[citation needed]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya had a population of 824, all Muslims,[11] increasing in the 1931 census to 1,191, still all Muslims, in a total of 247 houses.[12]

In 1945 the population was 1,400, all Arabs, while the total land area was 16,333 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[13] Of this, 7,082 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 3,831 for cereals,[14] while 91 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[15]


In the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya came under Jordanian rule. In 1961 the population of the village was 1929 people, including eight Christians.[citation needed]


After Six-Day War in 1967, Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya has been under Israeli occupation.

In 1987, the population increased to 3091 people; this population was calculated by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. In 2009, the population had reached 7,000 people with residents living in 750 houses. Like many Palestinian villages, there is a sizable population living abroad as part of the diaspora due to the violent Israeli occupation. About 8,700 expatriates from al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya live in countries like the United States, Brazil and the surrounding Arab countries.[citation needed]

In 1998 the territory of l-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya was 638 dunams on which 750 houses have been divided land in the town.[citation needed]

Families and clans[edit]

The residents of al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya belong to five clans: Hejaz, Zaben, Saad, Faraj and Shalabi. Members of the Saad are believed to be from the tribes Qahtaniyah of Yemen originally. The Hejaz, Zaben and part of the Faraj families are thought to be some of the first Arab clans to move to Palestine. Part of the Faraj family came from the area of Wadi Musa in the east of Jordan, while Al Ajack (part of the Al-Faraj) are understood to come from the village of Kafr 'Aqab north of Jerusalem.[citation needed]


In the beginning of the twentieth century, many inhabitants of the village took members of their families to immigrate to North and South America. In addition to this movement out of Palestine, there was also internal migration to other parts of Palestine like the cities of Haifa, Jaffa, Nazareth and nearby villages to seek work. These expatriates greatly helped improve the living conditions of the village. The money they sent generously aided in development projects and contributed to the building of schools and the construction of the various institutions. The majority of these expatriates live in the United States and South America.[citation needed]

Income and Living Standards[edit]

The living standards of al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya are the highest in the Ramallah area. This is due in large part to the higher income earned by residents of the town whose relatives are expatriates. Workers involved in economic projects are paid relatively high wages compared to workers in the neighboring villages. This in turn has given the town's residents a very different lifestyle as compared to the surrounding areas.[citation needed]

Labor and Industrial Projects[edit]

The industrial projects within the village consist of factories that cut stone and produce bricks, tiles, aluminum, and iron. Carpentry projects and workshops are also present in the village.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 239
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.113.
  3. ^ West Bank's own slice of America, 30 July 2007, BBC
  4. ^
  5. ^ Pringle, 1998, pp. 29-30
  6. ^ Delaborde, 1880, p. 21, No.1; Röhricht, 1893, RRH, pp. 14-15, No. 67; both cited in Pringle, 1998, p. 29
  7. ^ Delaborde, 1880, pp. 89-90, No. 42; Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 167, No. 631; both cited in Pringle, 1998, p. 30
  8. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 118
  9. ^ Note that Toledano, 1984, p. 296, did not identify has Mazra'at Abu Tasa with Al-Mazra'a ash-Sharqiya, but had it instead located at 35°08′35″E 31°57′15″N. He further noted that the place was not mentioned in the 1525-6 or 1538 -1539 registers.
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 292
  11. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Ramallah, p. 17
  12. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 50.
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 65
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 112
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 162


External links[edit]