Sur Baher

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Sur Baher
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • Also spelled Sur Bahr (official)
Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabic صور باهر
Sur Baher
Sur Baher
Sur Baher is located in Israel
Sur Baher
Sur Baher
Coordinates: 31°44′14″N 35°13′59″E / 31.73722°N 35.23306°E / 31.73722; 35.23306Coordinates: 31°44′14″N 35°13′59″E / 31.73722°N 35.23306°E / 31.73722; 35.23306
Grid position 172/127 PAL
District Jerusalem
Population (2006)
 • Total 15,000
Name meaning The wall of Bahir (Prominent)[1]
Sur Baher

Sur Baher (Arabic صور باهر, Hebrew צור באהר) is a Palestinian neighborhood on the southeastern outskirts of East Jerusalem. It is located east of Ramat Rachel and northeast of Har Homa. In 2006, Sur Baher had a population of 15,000.[2]


During a general survey of the southern part of Sur Baher, ancient stone cut olive presses, wine presses, cisterns and a limekiln were found.[3] A cave, with remains dating to the Iron Age I (12-11th centuries B.C.E.) were excavated at Khirbat Za‛kuka, south of Sur Baher.[4]

A burial cave, dating to the end of the first century BCE and the first century CE have also been excavated. The cave contained remains of several ossuaries, in addition to arcosolia and benches.[5]

Pottery vessels that dated to the Late Roman and Byzantine periods were excavated from an ancient quarry at Sur Baher.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

Sur Baher, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the tax registers of 1596 "Sur Bahir" appeared as being in the Nahiya of Quds in the Liwa of Quds. It had a population of 29 households, all Muslim, and paid taxes on wheat barley, vineyards and fruit trees, goats and beehives.[7][8]

In 1838, Edward Robinson noted Sur Bahil N 13° E from Tuqu'.[9] French explorer Victor Guérin visited the place in 1863, and described Sur Baher as having about 400 inhabitants.[10] An Ottoman village list of about 1870 found 46 houses and a population of 154, though the population count included only men. It further noted that it was an old, well-built and nice-looking village.[11] In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Sur Bahir as "a stone village of moderate size, on a bare hill. On the north is a well in the valley, and there are rock-cut tombs above it to the west."[12]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Sur Baher had an all Muslim population of 993 persons.[13] In the 1931 census the population of Sur Bahir was a total of 1529, still all Muslim, in 308 inhabited houses.[14]

In 1945 the population of Sur Baher, together with Umm Tuba, was 2,450, all Arabs, who owned 8,915 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[15] 911 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 3,927 used for cereals,[16] while 56 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[17]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Sur Baher was captured by Jordanian forces, and became a part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan until the Six-Day War in 1967.

Israeli rule[edit]

In 2000, the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality approved building plans for two new high schools and a youth center. In September 2005, the Jerusalem municipality, in cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces, cleared a Jordanian minefield in Sur Baher. The work, carried out by an Israeli company, was completed by October 2005.[2] In May 2007, the municipality built two schools on the cleared land: a girls school attended by 800 students, and Ibn Rushd, a boys school attended by 700 students.[18] Since 2013, Palestinian residents of Sur Baher are entitled to the services of Bituah Leumi (the Israeli National Insurance Institute) and the associated state health care.[19]


  1. ^ Palmer 1881, p. 329
  2. ^ a b Minefield as a School Ground: The Tzur Baher Minefield Clearance Project, by Bentzi Telefus
  3. ^ Dagan, Barda and ‘Adawi, 2009, Jerusalem, Sur Bahir, Survey Final Report
  4. ^ ‘Adawi, 2014, Jerusalem, Khirbat Za‘kuka (Sur Bahir) Final Report
  5. ^ Ganor and Klein, 2011, Sur Bahir, Survey Final Report
  6. ^ ‘Adawi, 2010, Jerusalem, Sur Bahir, Final Report
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 120.
  8. ^ Toledano, 1984, p. 299, gives Sur Bahir‘s position as 31°44′15″N 35°13′40″E
  9. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, p. 183
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 83
  11. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 161
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 30
  13. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 14
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p 44
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 58
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 104
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 154
  18. ^ Arnona 2008, newsletter published by the public relations department of the Jerusalem Municipality
  19. ^ "Social benefits for Palestinians in Sur Baher, Hadoar". Jpost Inc. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 


External links[edit]