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Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic المديه
 • Also spelled al-Midyah (official)
al-Midya from the east
al-Midya from the east
al-Midya is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of al-Midya within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°56′09″N 35°00′19″E / 31.93583°N 35.00528°E / 31.93583; 35.00528Coordinates: 31°56′09″N 35°00′19″E / 31.93583°N 35.00528°E / 31.93583; 35.00528
Palestine grid 150/149
Governorate Ramallah & al-Bireh
 • Type Village council
 • Jurisdiction 892 dunams (0.9 km2 or 0.3 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 1,301

al-Midya (Arabic: المديه‎‎) is a Palestinian village in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate in the northern West Bank, located 20 kilometers west of Ramallah. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the village had a population of over 1,301 inhabitants in 2007.[1]


The ancient village site is located at Ras al-Midya, S-E of the village, where pottery from the Iron Age and later periods has been found. It was apparently mentioned by Ishtori Haparchi during the Mamluk era.[2]

Ottoman era[edit]

Crosses, found by Clermont-Ganneau in the oldest part of the largest structure, from 5th century or later.[3]

Al-Midya was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with all of Palestine, and in 1596 it appeared in the tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Ramla in the Liwa of Gaza. It had a population of 25 Muslim households and paid taxes on wheat, barley, summercrops or olives or fruit trees, and a press for olives or grapes.[4]

In 1870, Victor Guérin visited, and thought that ruins found there were the graves of the Maccabees.[5] However, Clermont-Ganneau made extensive excavations later, and he found Christian crosses in the oldest part of the largest structure. He concluded the ruins were from the 5th century or later, that is, from the Byzantine era.[6]

An official Ottoman village list of about 1870 showed that el-medje had a total of 42 houses and a population of 159, though the population count included men only. It also noted that it was located half an hour east of Jimzu.[7]

In 1882, Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Midieh as being a village of a "good size", with houses either built of adobe or stone. To the north was a small olive grove, to the south a tank. The most "peculiar feature" they found was named er Ras. It was a high conical knoll, with a muqam on top, and rock-cut tombs on the side.[8]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Midya had an all Muslim population of 245,[9] increasing in the 1931 census to 286, still all Muslim, in 59 houses.[10]

In 1945 the population of el Midya was 320 Muslims,[11] who owned 7,020 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[12] Of this, 688 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 2,304 for cereals,[13] while 8 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[14]

According to the Applied Research Institute–Jerusalem, Al-Midya's total land area was 6,959 dunams in 1942, but after 1948 most of the village's western land was expropriated, leaving 892 dunams, of which 217 were classified as built-up areas.[15]

Under the Israeli occupation[edit]

In 1986, when the population amounted to 570 people, largely dependent on agriculture, the villagers were woken at 3:00 a.m. by the arrival of Israeli military vehicles and were informed that a curfew would be in place until 9 pm that day. Throughout the day, roughly 1,000 Israelis, soldiers protecting the operation and workers from the Israeli Lands Administration and Nature Reserve authorities who drove bulldozers to grade a road down a steep hillside to a rough track running below it, and chainsawed an olive grove extending over 1,100 dunams, destroying 3,000 trees. When the devastation was reported, Israel said the razing was to block Al-Midya from encroaching on Israeli state land, claiming that the olive trees were less than five years old, and planted to secure title to the area. Most cut trunks were over half a metre in diameter, suggesting centuries of growth.[16]


Excavations near Midya in the 19th century suggested that graves of the Maccabees were located here. Seven triangular tombs were found corresponding with the description of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, who wrote that the family’s seven pyramid-shaped graves were erected in the same place.[17] In 1870, an ancient structure near the gravesite of Sheikh al-Arabawi, adjacent to al-Midya, was identified as a Hasmonean grave, but this was rejected by another biblical archaeologist, Charles Clermont-Ganneau.[18] Further exploration by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the 21st century suggest the likelihood that Horbat Sheikh Gharbawi (Horbat Ha-Gardi) is the family tomb of the Maccabees, or marking the alleged tomb in the Byzantine era.[19]


  1. ^ 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.113.
  2. ^ Finkelstein and Lederman, 1997, pp. 133-134
  3. ^ Clermont-Garneau, 1896, p. 367
  4. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 154
  5. ^ Guérin, 1875, pp. 404- 13, 415-26
  6. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, 1996, pp. 89, 219, 244, 358-374, (pic) 470 476
  7. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 157
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 297-298
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Ramleh, p. 21
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p.67
  11. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 30
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 67
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 116
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 166
  15. ^ The series of Israeli annexation and threatening are now targeting Al-Midya village in Ramallah District Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem. 14 August 2003.
  16. ^ Kelly and Maghan, 1998, pp. 94-95
  17. ^ Ayalon Valley - On the Maccabee trail
  18. ^ The Hasmoneans were here - maybe
  19. ^ Re'em, 2011, Horbat Ha-Gardi, Final Report


External links[edit]