Zawiya, West Bank

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Other transcription(s)
 • Arabicالزاويه
 • Also spelledaz-Zawia (official)
al-Zawiya (unofficial)
az-Zawiya behind, while Rafat is in front
az-Zawiya behind, while Rafat is in front
az-Zawiya is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of az-Zawiya within Palestine
Coordinates: 32°05′45″N 35°02′24″E / 32.09583°N 35.04000°E / 32.09583; 35.04000Coordinates: 32°05′45″N 35°02′24″E / 32.09583°N 35.04000°E / 32.09583; 35.04000
Palestine grid153/166
 • TypeMunicipality (from 1996)
 • Head of MunicipalityTaleb Raddad[1]
 • Jurisdiction2,700 dunams (2.7 km2 or 1.0 sq mi)
 • Jurisdiction4,754
Name meaning"Corner, hermitage"[2]

Az-Zawiya (Arabic: الزاويه‎) is a Palestinian town in the Salfit Governorate in the northern West Bank, located west of Salfit and south of Qalqilya. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, az-Zawiya had a population of 4,754 in 2007.[3] The town's population is made up of primarily three families: Shuqeir (45%), Muqadi (30%) and Raddad (20%), while the remaining 5% consists of Palestinian refugee families such as Shamlawi, Rabi and Yusif.[4]


Az Zawiya is located 13.5 kilometers (8.4 mi) (horizontally) west of Salfit. It is bordered by Biddya to the east, Rafat to the south, Kafr Qasem to the west, and Azzun Atma and Mas-ha to the north.[5]


Sherds from IA II, Roman and Byzantine eras have been found.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

Zawiya appeared in the 1596 Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Jabal Qubal of the Liwa of Nablus. It had a population of 4 households, all Muslim. The villagers paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3 % on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, fruit trees, goats and beehives, in addition to occasional revenues; a total of 800 Akçe,[7]

In 1838, Edward Robinson noted it as a village, es-Zawieh, in the Jurat Merda district, south of Nablus.[8]

French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village in 1870, and described it as having about 200 inhabitants and a small mosque.[9] In the 1882 Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine, the village was described a being of moderate size, "probably an ancient place, having rock-cut tombs to the south."[10]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Zawiya (called: Zawiyeh) had a population of 396, 394 Muslims and 2 Christians,[11] both Orthodox,[12] while in the 1931 census it had 122 occupied houses and a population of 513, all Muslim.[13]

In the 1945 statistics the population was 720, all Muslims,[14] while the total land area was 11,516 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[15] Of this, 964 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 2,055 for cereals,[16] while 41 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[17]

Jordanian era[edit]

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

The Jordanian census of 1961 found 1,107 inhabitants.[18]


After the Six-Day War in 1967, Az-Zawiya has been under Israeli occupation. After the 1995 accords, 9.5 % of the village land is defined as Area B, while the remainder 90.5 % is Area C.[19]

Israel confiscated 662 dunams of Zawiya land in order to establish an Israeli Quarry to the west of the town,[20] in addition to taking 101 dunam of land from nearby Rafat.[20] The quarry, (also called the Nahal Raba quarry, and Mazor Atiqa), is now isolated from az-Zawiya and Rafat behind the West Bank barrier, located between the Wall and the Green Line, in the Seam Zone.[20] A local subsidiary of HeidelbergCement now operates the quarry.[21][22]

The Israeli outpost Magen Dan was established after settlers forcefully seized 76 dunums of village land from Zawiya.[23]

Agriculture is the town's main economic sector with olives, figs, almonds, lentils and wheat being the primary crops. There is over 2,700 dunams of land making up az-Zawiya's jurisdiction, of which 900 is built-up area.[4] Sheep is the main livestock grazed in az-Zawiya. There are also small industries such as sewing, carpentry and metal-working. There are over 120 shops in the town. The Second Intifada has drastically decreased revenue from agricultural exports to Israel and Jordan, slashing prices in half.[24]

Az-Zawiya is governed by a municipal council whose members are elected every four years. The town has been a municipality since 1996. Mayor Taleb Raddad (Abu al-Adeeb) has been elected mayor in each local election, serving for three terms. Az-Zawiya has two medical clinics, two boys' schools and two girls' schools.[24] The town will be enclosed on four sides with the completion of the separation barrier forming the az-Zawiya enclave.[25]

In 2001 Israeli settlers raided the area destroying 25 dunams of olive groves contiguous to Highway 5.[26]


Az-Zawiya contains an ancient ruin called Deir Qassis, where sherds from IA I, IA II, Persian, Byzantine, Umayyad/Abbasid, Crusader/Ayyubid and Mamluk eras have been found.[27][28]

Deir Qassis was examined in 1870:

First I examined a great birket 28 paces long and 25 broad; it is partly cut in the rock, and partly constructed of great blocks with a boss and covered with thick cement. Before this basin lies a platform covered with little cubes of white mosaic, which shows that it was formerly paved. The group of houses which once stood in this place form a mass of rubbish of all kinds heaped upon the ground. A little mosque is alone standing: its lintel is apparently ancient, but the decorations are Arabic. Above the lintel is a pointed arch, whose principal feature is a broad voussoir furrowed by little canals perpendicular to the curve, like pipes, arranged to resemble a series of very narrow key-stones separated by deep joints. This disposition is met with in a large number of ancient mosques round and above the doors. It is also found in several churches of Palestine, especially that of the Holy Sepulchre and that of Saint Anne, the Christians having borrowed this method of decoration from the Arabs [..] 'At some distance from the mosque there are ancient quarries and several tombs, rock-cut.[29]

In the late 19th century, the following archeological remains were noted: "On a hill west of the village there are some rude tombs; one is an arcosolium, with a loculus sunk beneath. The height of the arch is 4 feet 6 inches, the diameter 8 feet, the tomb within 5 feet 6 inches long, and the arch 5 feet to the back."[30]

Later examination has revealed that the main remains are from the late Roman and Byzantine eras.[31]


  1. ^ Municipalities Nablus Municipality
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 250
  3. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p. 112.
  4. ^ a b Location and population Land Research Center.
  5. ^ Az Zawiya Town Profile, ARIJ, p. 4
  6. ^ Finkelstein et. al., 1997, p. 255
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 132
  8. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 126
  9. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 145
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 287
  11. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, p. 26
  12. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XV, p. 47
  13. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 66
  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. 61
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 108
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 158
  18. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 26
  19. ^ Az Zawiya Town Profile, ARIJ, p. 16
  20. ^ a b c Az Zawiya Town Profile, ARIJ, p. 17
  21. ^ Occupation, Inc. How Settlement Businesses Contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Right, January 19, 2016, HRW
  22. ^ German firm whitewashes its plunder of Palestinian resources, 14 September 2017, Adri Nieuwhof
  23. ^ Az Zawiya Town Profile, ARIJ, p. 18
  24. ^ a b Az Zawiya Village Profile International Women's Peace Service. 2 May 2004.
  25. ^ Barrier Route
  26. ^ Az Zawiya: A model for non-violent resistance against the construction of the Segregation Wall, POICA, Jerusalem 5 August, 2004.
  27. ^ Finkelstein et. al., 1997, p. 249
  28. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 813
  29. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 145, as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 331 ff
  30. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 378
  31. ^ Pringle, 1993, p. 197


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