Al-Mughayyir, Ramallah

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Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic المغيّر
al-Mughayyir is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of al-Mughayyir within Palestine
Coordinates: 32°01′10″N 35°20′46″E / 32.01944°N 35.34611°E / 32.01944; 35.34611Coordinates: 32°01′10″N 35°20′46″E / 32.01944°N 35.34611°E / 32.01944; 35.34611
Palestine grid 183/158
Governorate Ramallah & al-Bireh
 • Type Village council
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 2,368
Name meaning The caves[1]

al-Mughayyir (Arabic: المغيّر‎) is a Palestinian village in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, located 27 kilometers Northeast of Ramallah and 34 kilometers Southeast of Nablus, in the northern West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the village had a population of 2,368 inhabitants in 2007.[2] According to villagers 75% of its land has been confiscated for Israeli settlements, military bases and natural reserves.[3]


Al Mughayyir is located 18.6 kilometres (12 mi) north-east of Ramallah. It is bordered by Fasayil to the east, Turmus'ayya and Khirbet Abu Falah to the west, Duma and Jalud to the north, and Kafr Malik and Al Auja to the south.[4]


The Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) found here "ancient cisterns, and a rock-cut winepress near the village, which is well built of hewn stone."[5]

Potsherds from the Byzantine/Umayyad and Mamluk eras have been found here.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1517, the village was included in the Ottoman empire with the rest of Palestine, and potsherds from the early Ottoman period have been found.[6] It appeared in the 1596 tax-records as Mugayyir, located in the Nahiya of Jabal Qubal of the Liwa of Nablus. The population was 7 households and 9 bachelors, all Muslim. They paid taxes on wheat, barley, summer crops, olive trees, occasional revenues, goats and beehives; a total of 4500 Akçe.[7]

In 1838 Edward Robinson noted el Mughaiyir located in El-Beitawy district, east of Nablus,[8] while in 1852, he described the village as being of "considerable size", and built of hewn stones. He further noted that the villagers were "quite civil, and readily answered all our inquiries."[9]

In 1870 Victor Guérin found it largely deserted by its inhabitants, for lack of drinking water. He especially noticed a small mosque, which had a number of regularly cut stones that seem ancient. There were also several caves, dug in rock, that also seemed old.[10] In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "a small village of stone houses, on a ridge, with olives to the west, and beautiful corn-land in the Merj Sia. There is also corn-land on the north."[11]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Mughair had a population of 179, all Muslims,[12] increasing in the 1931 census when El Mughaiyir had a population of 204, still all Muslims, in a total of 41 houses.[13]

In the 1945 statistics, El Mughaiyir (including Khirbat Jib'it) had a population of 290 Muslims,[14] with total of 33,903 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[15] Of this, 361 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 6,908 used for cereals,[16] while 34 dunams were built-up land.[17]

Jordanian era[edit]

In the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Al-Mughayyir came under Jordanian rule.

The Jordanian census of 1961 found 365 inhabitants.[18]


After the Six-Day War in 1967, Al-Mughayyir has been under Israeli occupation.

Impact of the Israeli Occupation[edit]

According to the Oslo II Interim Agreement signed between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in September 1995, Al Mughayyir village was divided into politically classified area 'B' and area 'C'. Approximately 1,934 dunums (5.9% of the village's total area) is classified as area B, where the Palestinian National Authority has complete control over civil matters and Israel continues to have overriding responsibility for security. Area B constitutes most of all inhabited Palestinian areas, including municipalities, villages and some refugee camps. The majority of the village's population resides in area B which forms a small part compared to the village's total area. The rest of the village's area, constituting 31,121 dunums (94.1% of the total area) is classified as area C, where Israel retains full control over security and administration related to the territory. In area C, Palestinian building and land management is prohibited unless through consent or authorization by the Israeli Civil Administration. Most of the lands lying within the area C are agricultural areas and open spaces, in addition to Israeli military camps.[19]

On 12 November 2014, the Al-Mughayyir mosque was damaged extensively when it was torched, reportedly by settlers in what was believed to be a price-tag attack.[20] Israeli police say the incident does not match previous ‘price tag’ attacks, and that a full investigation was impossible because they were denied entry to the village by Palestinian authorities.[21] According to Haaretz journalist Chaim Levinson, it was the tenth such mosque subject to arson in Israel and the West Bank since June 2011, and no investigation has ever led to an indictment.[22]

Tree wars[edit]

According to The Economist in October 2009, 200 olive trees belonging to villagers from Al-Mughayyir, Ramallah (Al Mughayyir), were felled by settlers from the illegal settler outpost at Adei Ad, near Shvut Rachel.[23] October is harvest time for olives and is often a time of "tension between Palestinian farmers and Jewish settlers", and The Economist tied the destruction of trees to the settlers' 'price tag policy.[23]

"Many of the settlers pursue a “price-tag policy”, deliberately instigating violence and mayhem so that the Israeli military and political establishment is loth to take action, such as evacuating the 100-plus “illegal” settlements, for fear of further violence. As international criticism has mounted, even in America, several Israeli governments have promised to dismantle the outposts but so far little has been done. The settlers are generally against the peace process, because it could mean their expulsion. So whenever there are signs of negotiation, they increase their attacks—among other things, on olive trees. They want to show who controls the land."

— The Economist

In her 2009 publication entitled Tree Flags, legal scholar and ethnographer Irus Braverman describes how Palestinians identify olive groves as an emblem or symbol of their longtime, steadfast agricultural connection (tsumud) to the land.[24]:1[25][26]

"More than 80,000 Palestinian farmers derive a substantial portion of their annual income from olives. Harvesting the fruit, pressing the oil, selling and sharing the produce is a ritual of life."[27]


Principal families in the village include An Na'san, Dar abu Alya, Al Hajj Muhammad, Abu Na'im, and Abu Assaf.


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 258
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.113.
  3. ^ 'Israeli settlers torch mosque in Ramallah-area village,' Ma'an News Agency 12 November 2014
  4. ^ Al Mughayyir Village Profile, ARIJ, p. 4
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 402
  6. ^ a b Finkelstein et al, 1997, pp. 750-1
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 132
  8. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 128
  9. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1856, p. 292
  10. ^ Guérin, 1875, pp. 17 -18
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 387
  12. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Nablus. p. 25
  13. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 63
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 19
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 60
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 107
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 157
  18. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 26
  19. ^ "ARIJ town profile" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  20. ^ 'Protection of Civilians: 11– 17 NOVEMBER 2014,' OCHA November
  21. ^ Police unsure of motives behind burned West Bank mosque, The Times of Israel, November 12, 2014
  22. ^ Chaim Levinson, 'Ten torched mosques, zero indictments,' Haaretz 13 November 2014
  23. ^ a b "Not much of an olive branch", The Economist, 15 October 2009, retrieved 22 January 2014 
  24. ^ Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine (PDF). Yale Agrarian Studies Colloquium. Buffalo, New York. 28 September 2010. p. 54. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  25. ^ Staton, Bethan (21 January 2015). "The deep roots of the Palestine-Israel conflict: Palestinians have tended olive groves for decades, but Israelis are staking a claim by planting their own trees". Israel/Palestine. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  26. ^ Braverman, Irus (2009). Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052176002X. 
  27. ^ Booth, William (22 October 2014). "In West Bank, Palestinians gird for settler attacks on olive trees". Kfar Yassug, West Bank. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 


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