Bayt Thul

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Bayt Thul

بيت ثول
Etymology: The house of Tul (meaning length)[1]
Bayt Thul is located in Mandatory Palestine
Bayt Thul
Bayt Thul
Coordinates: 31°49′21″N 35°04′26″E / 31.82250°N 35.07389°E / 31.82250; 35.07389Coordinates: 31°49′21″N 35°04′26″E / 31.82250°N 35.07389°E / 31.82250; 35.07389
Palestine grid157/136
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulationNot known[4]
 • Total4,629 dunams (4.629 km2 or 1.787 sq mi)
 • Total260[2][3]
Current LocalitiesNataf,[5] Neve Ilan[6]

Bayt Thul was a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem Subdistrict. It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on April 1, 1948 under Operation Nachshon. It was located 15.5 km west of Jerusalem.


Bayt Thul has several Khirbats containing columns, foundations of ruined buildings and cisterns.[5]

Ottoman era[edit]

Bayt Thul, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the census of 1538-1539, Bayt Tul was noted in the Nahiya of Quds of the Liwa of Quds.[7] In the 1596 census, the village had a population was 7 households, all Muslim. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 33,3% on various agricultural products, such as wheat, barley, olive trees, in addition to "occasional revenues"; a total of 1,860 akçe.[8]

In 1838, it was noted as a Muslim village in the district of Beni Malik, west of Jerusalem.[9]

A Capital, which Clermont-Ganneau noted in Beit Thul in the 1870s

In the early 1870s Clermont-Ganneau found the village inhabited, and a "hearty welcome was accorded to us." He further noted that the "village contains two welys, one the sanctuary of Sheikh Injeim, the other that of Bedriyeh. In front of the wely of Bedriyeh, I noticed the remains of a small aqueduct of masonry and two large shafts of ancient columns." According to local tradition, Bedriyeh was the sister of Sheikh Injeim.

He found remains there which led him to conclude that an important Christian building of the Byzantine period once existed there.[10]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine noted "Foundations and a Mukam."[11]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, there were 133 villagers, all Muslims,[12] increasing in the 1931 census to 182 inhabitants, in 43 inhabited houses.[13]

In the 1945 statistics, the village had a population of 260 Muslims,[2] with a total of 4,629 dunums of land.[3] Of this, 55 dunams were for irrigable land or plantations, 787 for cereals,[14] while 13 dunams were built-up, urban, land.[15]

1948, aftermath[edit]

In late October, 1948, the Beit Horon Battalion started the destruction of Bayt Thul.[16]

When the writers of an oral Palestinian history collection returned with a villager to Bayt Thul, they recorded how she, Umm 'Ali, began to collect herbs and plants. “She continued picking the leaves until what she had clutched to her chest sprouted from her like a large bush. That was Umm 'Ali, or maybe thats what we remember: A tree of wild herbs and greens moving with amazing grace over the stones of the destroyed villages, assuring, comforting, and reminding us of our descendants who are awaiting us.“[17]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 287
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 24
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 56
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, village #358. Gives both cause and date of depopulation as "Not known"
  5. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 280
  6. ^ Close by, but on land traditionally belonging to Abu Ghosh, according to Khalidi, 1992, p. 290
  7. ^ Toledano, 1984, p. 291, has Bayt Tul at location 31°49′20″N. 35°04′10″E
  8. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 113
  9. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 123
  10. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, 1896, vol. 2, pp. 65-67
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 86
  12. ^ Barron, 1923, p. 15
  13. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 38
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 102
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 152
  16. ^ Morris, 2004, pp. 234 400, note #85
  17. ^ Diab and Fahoum, 1990, p. 23; cited in Davis, 2011, p. 173


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