From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic الساويه
 • Also spelled as-Sawiya (official)
al-Sawaiya (unofficial)
as-Sawiya is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of as-Sawiya within Palestine
Coordinates: 32°05′05″N 35°15′28″E / 32.08472°N 35.25778°E / 32.08472; 35.25778Coordinates: 32°05′05″N 35°15′28″E / 32.08472°N 35.25778°E / 32.08472; 35.25778
Palestine grid 174/165
Governorate Nablus
 • Type Village council (from 1994[1])
Population (2006)
 • Jurisdiction 2,301
Name meaning "The level place"[2]

as-Sawiya (Arabic: الساويه‎) is a Palestinian town in the Nablus Governorate in northern West Bank, located 18 kilometers South of Nablus. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the town had a population of 2,301 inhabitants in mid-year 2006.[3]


As Sawiya is located 15km south of Nablus. It is bordered by Talfit and Qaryut to the east, Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya to the south, Iskaka and Al Lubban ash Sharqiya to the west, and Yatma, Qabalan and Yasuf to the north.[4]


At the village site, sherds from IA II (8th and 7th century BCE), the Persian or the early Hellenistic period, Crusader era/ Ayyubid dynasty, Mamluk and early Ottoman era have been found.[5] In the 12th and 13th centuries, during the Crusader era, As-Sawiya was inhabited by Muslims, according to Ḍiyāʼ al-Dīn.[6][7] He also noted that followers of Ibn Qudamah lived here.[8]

Ottoman era[edit]

As-Sawiya 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 Jabal Qubal of the Liwa of Nablus. It had a population of 40 households and 2 bachelors, all Muslim. They paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3 % on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, summercrops, olive trees, occasional revenues, goats and beehives; a total of 8,610 Akçe. All of the revenue went to a Waqf.[9]

In 1838 Robinson noted As-Sawiya being situated on a hill,[10] located in the Jurat Merda district, south of Nablus.[11]

In 1870 Victor Guérin found that it had three hundred inhabitants, and that the villagers had a mosque.[12] In the 1882 the SWP described Sawiya as "a little village on a hill overhanging the road."[13]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, As-Sawiya (called: Sawiyeh) had a population of 476, all Muslims,[14] while in the 1931 census it had 128 occupied houses and a population of 596, again all Muslim.[15]

In 1945 Es Sawiya had a population of 820, all Muslims,[16] with 10,293 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[17] Of this, 4,394 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 3,412 used for cereals,[18] while 40 dunams were built-up land.[19]

Jordanian era[edit]

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

The Jordanian census of 1961 found 1,151 inhabitants.[20]


Since the Six-Day War in 1967, As-Sawiya has been under Israeli occupation.

As-Sawiya is entirely dependent on its agricultural land. Prior to the Second Intifada, about 250 of the village's residents worked in Israel, but in 2004 only three continued working there. The primary crops grown in as-Sawiya are wheat, olives, grapes, figs, and beans. The land is also used for grazing livestock. Some residents produce yoghurt from their cows and sell it. Local residents sell olive oil to nearby villages such as Lubban as well. Stone-cutting is the most important industry in the town after agriculture.[1]

Approximately 14% of the village land is in Area B, the rest, about 86% of the land is in Area C. Israel has confiscated 1,551 dunums of village land for the Israeli settlement of Alie, and 376 dunams for Rechalim.[21]

According to locals, village life has been "deeply affected" by harassment from Jewish settlers. "People cannot go and harvest their land. The settlers take our olives, they throw rocks at people."[22]

Khan as-Sawiya (Khirbet Berkit)[edit]

Just north-east of the village researchers described the ruins of a khan (caravanserai), at a site known as Khan as-Sawieh or Khirbet Berkit. Byzantine pottery, old tombs and cisterns have been found in the Khan as-Sawieh area.[23] Denys Pringle lists the khan among the Crusader remains in Palestine.[24] In 1838 Robinson found the khan in ruins,[10] and so did de Saulcy in 1850.[25] In the 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described it as "a small square building, also a ruined Khan; the walls are standing to some height, and drafted stones are used at the corners. Rock-cut tombs exist just south, showing the place to be an ancient site. The name of the site is Khurbet Berkit."[26]

Khirbet Berkit has been described by Charles William Wilson (1836–1905) as likely being identical with first-century CE Borceos, and a nearby ruin called ’Aina with Anuath; Anuath and Borceos are the border town or towns mentioned by Josephus as standing at the border between Samaria and Judea.[27]

Near the spring by the khan, Wilson describes a large oak-tree, ballut in Arabic, of a size very seldom found in what he terms as Southern Palestine.[27]


  1. ^ a b As Sawiya Village Profile Archived February 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. International Women's Peace Service. October 2004.
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 241
  3. ^ Projected Mid -Year Population for Nablus Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
  4. ^ As Sawiya Village Profile, ARIJ, p. 4
  5. ^ Finkelstein, 1997, p. 629
  6. ^ Ellenblum, 2003, pp. 244, 263
  7. ^ Talmon-Heller, 1994, p. 113
  8. ^ Drory, 1988, p. 97
  9. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 137.
  10. ^ a b Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol. 2, p. 91
  11. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 127
  12. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 163
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 287
  14. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Nablus, p. 25
  15. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 65
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 19
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 61
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 107
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 158
  20. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 26 NB: printing is weak and difficult to read. Number might be 1,451
  21. ^ As Sawiya Village Profile, ARIJ, pp. 16-17
  22. ^ Palestinians: profile of a people in search of statehood, 17 September 2011, The Observer
  23. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 813
  24. ^ Pringle, 1997, p. 61, "Khan as-Sawiya (no. 128)". Quote: "Vaulted building, with thick walls and slit-window near one corner, beside the Jerusalem-Nablus road."
  25. ^ Saulcy, 1854, vol 1, p. 103
  26. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 324
  27. ^ a b Wilson, c. 1881, vol 1, p. 232, accessed 31 May 2018


External links[edit]