Asira al-Qibliya

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’Asira al-Qibliya
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic عصيرة القبلية
’Asira al-Qibliya is located in the Palestinian territories
’Asira al-Qibliya
’Asira al-Qibliya
Location of ’Asira al-Qibliya within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 32°10′44″N 35°12′53″E / 32.17889°N 35.21472°E / 32.17889; 35.21472Coordinates: 32°10′44″N 35°12′53″E / 32.17889°N 35.21472°E / 32.17889; 35.21472
Palestine grid 170/176
Governorate Nablus
 • Type Municipality
 • Jurisdiction 6,447 dunams (6.4 km2 or 2.5 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 2,336
Name meaning "The southern difficulty"[1]

’Asira al-Qibliya (Arabic: عصيرة القبلية‎‎) is a Palestinian town in the Nablus Governorate in the eastern West Bank, located 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) southwest of Nablus. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the town had a population of 2,336 inhabitants in 2007.[2]


Asira al-Qibliya is situated on an ancient site on low ground. Carved stones have been reused in village houses and agricultural terraces. Rock-cut cisterns have also been found, together with Byzantine ceramics.[3]

Ottoman era[edit]

The village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with all of Palestine, and in 1596 it appeared in the tax registers under the name of 'Asirah, as being in the nahiya of Jabal Qubal in the liwa of Nablus. It had a population of 33 households and 6 bachelors, all Muslim. The inhabitants of the village paid taxes on wheat, barley, summer crops, olive trees, and goats and/or beehives.[4]

The French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village (which he called A'sirah) in 1870, and he estimated it had three hundred inhabitants. He further noted that the medhafeh, or guest-house, was situated on the highest ground in the village.[5] In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described Asiret al Kibliyeh as a village of moderate size on low ground, with a well to the south-east.[6]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, 'Asira al-Qebliyeh had a population of 282, all Muslim,[7] increasing in the 1931 census to 326, still all Muslim, in 84 houses.[8]

In 1945 the population was 410, all Muslims,[9] with 6,437 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[10] Of this, 345 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 2,963 were used for cereals,[11] while 57 dunams were built-up land.[12]


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


After the Six-Day War in 1967, Asira al-Qibliya has been under Israeli occupation.

Settler violence[edit]

Settler violence is a cause for concern. Settlers from the nearby Yitzhar also continue to enter the villages farmlands.[13] From 2008 to 2011, there were numerous reported cases of both violence and arson in the village.[14] As of 2012, Asira Al-Qibiliya and its inhabitants have been repeatedly attacked, targeted and threatened by settlers[13] for which there have been few or no convictions.[15]

In 2012 there were several reported incidents of settler violence. On May 19, 2012, during rock throwing clashes after settlers, apparently from the nearby Yitzhar settlement, came to the village, a settler shot and wounded Fathi Assayara, a 24-year-old Palestinian.[16] Five Palestinians were injured by the rock throwing.[16] According to B'Tselem, IDF soldiers "didn't take any measures to stop the settlers from throwing stones, lighting fires, and firing live rounds at the Palestinians".[16] B'Tselem published several videos of the incident.[17] Abraham Benjamin, spokesman for the Yitzhar settlement, said settlers were responding to series of fires set by "the Arabs from the town" and that "it can be plainly seen that the use of weapons by the IDF or the security team was warranted by a real danger to life".[16]

In mid-2013, the US government requested protection by the IDF for a USAID project that is building a water cistern Asira al-Qibliya. The project and its employees had been repeatedly attacked by settlers from Yitzhar.[18]

The settlers of Yitzhar would routinely claim that the villagers of Asira al-Qibliya provoked them. The Palestinian villagers were then, in 2012, given cameras to document the attacks, and the video evidence they provided (and published on YouTube and elsewhere) forced the IDF to act. The result was that the Yitzhar settlers attacked the IDF. By 2014, calls were mounting to classify these Israeli settlers as terrorist. The villagers of Asira al-Qibliya found it a case of "too little, too late." One villager put it: "It is only words. We don't want words, we want deeds," and the writer Amos Oz noted that "Our neo-Nazi groups enjoy the support of numerous nationalist or even racist legislators."[19]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 179
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.110.
  3. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 802
  4. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 134
  5. ^ Guérin, 1875, pp. 177-178
  6. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 162
  7. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Nablus, p. 24
  8. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 59
  9. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 18
  10. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 59
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 105
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 155
  13. ^ a b Settlers Set Fire To Hundreds Of Acres Of Agricultural Land South Of Nablus
  14. ^ Ha'aretz 2 August 2008 Unknown assailants hurl brick at car in West Bank, injuring 7-year-old Palestinian girl By Yuval Azoulay
  15. ^ Settler violence: Lack of accountability
  16. ^ a b c d Israeli settler shoots at Palestinians while IDF soldiers stand by, By Gili Cohen, May. 20, 2012, Haaretz
  17. ^ Beginning of 'Asira al-Qibliya event, 19.5.2012, B'Tselem
  18. ^ Joshua Reiner (August 6, 2013). "On account of settler violence, the US sought help from the IDF". Walla!. 
  19. ^ Calls to class far-right Jewish settlers as terrorists after Israeli soldiers attacked, Orlando Crowcroft in Asira al-Qibliya, 11 May 2014, The Guardian


External links[edit]