Beit Awwa

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Beit Awwa
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic بيت عوّا
 • Also spelled Khirbet Beit 'Awwa (official)
Bayt 'Awwa (unofficial)
Beit Awwa, 2015
Beit Awwa, 2015
Beit Awwa is located in the Palestinian territories
Beit Awwa
Beit Awwa
Location of Beit Awwa within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°30′30.90″N 34°57′00.96″E / 31.5085833°N 34.9502667°E / 31.5085833; 34.9502667Coordinates: 31°30′30.90″N 34°57′00.96″E / 31.5085833°N 34.9502667°E / 31.5085833; 34.9502667
Governorate Hebron
 • Type Municipality
 • Jurisdiction 470 dunams (0.5 km2 or 0.2 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 8,064
Name meaning "House of Auwa"[1]

Beit Awwa (Arabic: بيت عوّا‎‎) is a Palestinian town in the Hebron Governorate in the southern West Bank, located 22 kilometers west of Hebron and 4 kilometers west of Dura. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Beit Awwa had a population of 8,064 inhabitants in 2007.[2]


In 1863, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited Beit Awwa. He described finding many artificial caves, some of which were large and had shaped domes, other smaller with square ceilings. Most entries were surrounded by piles of stones from old demolished buildings.[3]

In 1875, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine visited Beit Awwa. They described several ruins, each with a different name;

"Khurbet es Sueity, Khurbet el Mehami, Khurbet el Kusah are all sites with foundations and caves. El Kusr is an ancient watch-tower, with drystone walls in ruins; el Keniseh seems to be a ruined church; foundations, capitals, shafts, and lintels with the Maltese cross on them, remain showing a Byzantine building. There is also a fine font fitted for immersion. In the centre a square basin, 2 feet 3 inches side, 7 inches deep ; four steps lead down, 5 inches high, 9 inches broad ; the whole surrounded by four segmental recesses, the external form of the font being that of a rounded cross, the longest measurement either way being 5 feet, and the total height outside 2 feet 4 inches."[4]

At the time of the 1931 census of Palestine the population of Beit Awwa was counted under Dura.[5]

In November 1948, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War soldiers from the 5th Brigade attacked Beit Awwa, Idhna and Kh. Sikka. At Beit Awwa, the attackers were driven off.[6] In March 1949, the 4th Brigade attacked Beit Awwa and surrounding villages. Their attack orders were to "kill every [adult male] Arab" they encountered. All in all, they drove out 7,000 people eastward. With UN the villagers were eventually allowed back.[7]

Its total land area is 470 dunams, 30% of it lands before 1948; due to the town's proximity Green Line hundreds of dunams are a part of modern-day Israel.[8]

The population in the 1967 census conducted by the Israeli authorities was 1,468.[9] After the 1967 six day war Beit Awwa was completely destroyed.[10] Moshe Dayan claimed the destruction was carried out under the orders of an officer who wished to expel the residents, Brigadier General Uzi Narkis claimed the credit for the action.[11]

The two prominent clans of Beit Awwa are Salam and Sewiti. The latter migrated to the area from ar-Ramtha, Jordan.[12][13]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 388
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.119.
  3. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 360
  4. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III; p. 321
  5. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 29
  6. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 518
  7. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 520
  8. ^ The Town of Beit Awwa: A Brief Archived July 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Land Research Center. 2008-06-01.
  9. ^ Perlmann, Joel (November 2011 – February 2012). "The 1967 Census of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: A Digitized Version" (PDF). Levy Economics Institute. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  10. ^ UN Doc A/8389 of 5 October 1971 A/8389 of 5 October 1971. Para 57. in the Sunday Times (London) on 11 October 1970, where reference is made not only to the villages of Jalou, Beit Nuba, and Imwas, also referred to by the Special Committee in its first report, but in addition to villages like Surit, Beit Awwa, Beit Mirsem and El-Shuyoukh in the Hebron area and Jiflik, Agarith and Huseirat, in the Jordan Valley. The Special Committee has ascertained that all these villages have been completely destroyed. Para 58. the village of Nebi Samwil was in fact destroyed by Israeli armed forces on March 22, 1971.
  11. ^ Segev, 2007, p. 409
  12. ^ Beit Awwa Palestine Remembered. (Arabic)
  13. ^ Palestine Remembered English


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