Wadi Fukin

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Wadi Fukin
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic وادي فوكين
 • Also spelled Wadi Fukin (official)
Wadi Foukin (unofficial)
Wadi Fukin is located in the Palestinian territories
Wadi Fukin
Wadi Fukin
Location of Wadi Fukin within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°42′24″N 35°06′14″E / 31.70667°N 35.10389°E / 31.70667; 35.10389Coordinates: 31°42′24″N 35°06′14″E / 31.70667°N 35.10389°E / 31.70667; 35.10389
Governorate Bethlehem
 • Type Village Council
 • Jurisdiction 4,347 dunams (4.3 km2 or 1.7 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 1,168
Name meaning "Valley of Thorns"[1]or "Valley of Fukin"[2]

Wadi Fukin (Arabic: وادي فوقين‎) is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, eight kilometers southwest of Bethlehem in the Bethlehem Governorate. The village is located between the Green Line and the Israeli West Bank barrier.[3] According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Wadi Fukin had a population of over 1,168 in 2007.[4] The town relies on agriculture as its primary source of income.[5]


Pre-Ottoman period[edit]

Ancient remains have been found in the area, including remains of a chapel, cisterns, burial caves in rock, columbarium, and Byzantine ceramics.[6]

Ottoman period[edit]

In 1596, Wadi Fukin appeared in Ottoman tax registers under the name of Fuqin, as being in the Nahiya of Quds of the Liwa of Quds. It had an entirely Muslim population of 20 households. Taxes were paid on wheat, barley, olives, grape syrup/molasses, goats and/or beehives.[7]

The French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village in the 1863, which he described as "half ruined" with a small number of people. He noted that the village was the successor to an ancient town, as he found several ancient tombs carved into rock.[8] An official Ottoman village list from about 1870 showed that "Wad Fukin" had a total of 22 houses and a population of 62, though the population count included only men.[9]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Wad Fukin as "A small stone village on the side of a hill, with a good spring in the valley below on the south-west. There are gardens of oranges and lemons near the spring. To the west of the village there are rock-cut tombs. To the east is a second spring, Ain el Keniseh."[10]

British Mandate period[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Wadi Fukin had a population of 149, all Muslims.[11] In the 1931 census the population of Wadi Fukin was 205, still all Muslim, in 45 inhabited houses.[12]

In 1945 the population of Wady Fukin was 280, all Arabs, who owned 8,631 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[13] Of this, 226 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 863 for cereals,[14] while 6 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[15]

1948 and after[edit]

Prior to the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Wadi Fukin was raided by the Haganah a number of times and several inhabitants fled to the Dheisheh camp established just south of Bethlehem. They returned during the Jordanian occupation of the West Bank and fled once more after Jordan lost the West Bank to Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1972, the inhabitants were permitted to return to Wadi Fukin on the basis that they construct their homes within a month.[1]

The expulsion at Wadi Fukin led to a change in the Green line where an exchange of fertile land in the Bethlehem area to Israeli control and the village of Wadi Fukin being given to Jordanian control. On 15 July 1949 when the Israeli Army expelled the population of Wadi Fukin after the village had been transferred to the Israeli-occupied area under the terms of the Armistice Agreement concluded between Israel and Jordan. The Mixed Armistice Commission decided on 31 August 1949, by a majority vote, that Israel had violated the Armistice Agreement by expelling villagers of Wadi Fukin across the demarcation line and decided that the villagers should be allowed to return to their homes. However, when the villagers returned to Wadi Fukin under the supervision of the United Nations observers on September 6 1949, they found most of their houses destroyed and were again compelled by the Israeli Army to return to Jordanian controlled territory. The United Nations Chairman of the Mixed Commission, Colonel Garrison B. Coverdale (US), pressed for a solution of this issue to be found in the Mixed Armistice Commission, in an amicable and UN spirit. After some hesitation, an adjustment in the Green Line was accepted and finally an agreement was reached whereby the Armistice line was changed to give back Wadi Fukin to the Jordanian authority who, in turn, agreed to transfer some uninhabited, but fertile territory south of Bethlehem to the Israeli authority in November 1949.[16]


Wadi Fukin has a total land area of 434.7 hectares (4,347 dunams), 20.1 hectares of which are built-up. Much of the remaining land is planted with orchards and vineyards. Israel allotted 5.1 hectares to Israeli settlements near the town and an additional 88.5 hectares were seized in 2005. The Israeli West Bank barrier separates 103.9 hectares from the majority of the town's area.[3] As a result of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1995, 93.6% of Wadi Fukin's land is located in Area C (complete Israeli control) while 6.4% is located in Area B which is under the administration of the Palestinian National Authority and Israeli security.[5] Wadi Fukin is connected to Bethlehem by the village's main road.

The village is watered by 11 springs used to irrigate hundreds of small farm plots using a system of canals and dams. [17][dead link]


There are two elementary schools, a mosque, a pharmacy and health clinic in Wadi Fukin. The area around Wadi Fukin is known for its stone masonry, and a stone-cutting factory is located in the village.[3]

Organic farming[edit]

Wadi Fukin has long been known for the high quality of its agricultural produce.[17][dead link] Friends of the Earth Middle East, a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian organization, taught the villagers ecological and organic farming techniques,[18][citation needed] but the presence of military checkpoints has prevented them from marketing their produce in Israel where prices are higher. Residents of Tzur Hadassah, an Israeli bedroom community bounding the village to the west, were the first to buy from the villagers, paying a fixed weekly price for fresh seasonal produce.[18][citation needed] Another project in October 2007 involved direct marketing of the produce to households in Jerusalem. [17][dead link]


  1. ^ a b Stories from Palestine Wadi Fukin Khano, Delia. This Week in Palestine. 2007-07-09
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p.333
  3. ^ a b c Settlement expansion and loss of Wadi Fukin’s land Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem. 2005-05-23
  4. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.117.
  5. ^ a b “Declared as State Land” New Israeli Military Orders Targeting Palestinian Lands in Al Jaba’a & Wadi Fukin villages Southwest Bethlehem city Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem. 2008-02-03
  6. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 915
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 116
  8. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 321
  9. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 162
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 27
  11. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Bethlehem
  12. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 35
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p. 58
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p. 104
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in S. Hadawi, Village Statistics, 1945. PLO Research Center, 1970, p. 154
  16. ^ Press Release PAL/537 4 November 1949
  17. ^ a b c The ballad of baladi
  18. ^ a b "Palestinian village and Israeli town build rare partnership across line". Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. April 20, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 


External links[edit]