Beit Fajjar

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Beit Fajjar
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic بيت فجّار
 • Also spelled Bayt Fajjar (official)
Beit Fujar (unofficial)
Beit Fajjar is located in the Palestinian territories
Beit Fajjar
Beit Fajjar
Location of Beit Fajjar within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°37′29.03″N 35°09′20.19″E / 31.6247306°N 35.1556083°E / 31.6247306; 35.1556083Coordinates: 31°37′29.03″N 35°09′20.19″E / 31.6247306°N 35.1556083°E / 31.6247306; 35.1556083
Governorate Bethlehem
 • Type Municipality
 • Head of Municipality Umar Abdel Aziz Taqatqa
 • Jurisdiction 7,933 dunams (7.9 km2 or 3.1 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 11,004
Name meaning The house of the debauchees[1]

Beit Fajjar (Arabic: بيت فجّار‎‎) is a Palestinian town located eight kilometers south of Bethlehem in the Bethlehem Governorate, in the central West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of over 11,000 in 2007.[2]


Beit Fajjar is believed to have been a camping area for the Islamic Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab.[3]

Ottoman era[edit]

Edward Robinson noted the village on his travels in the area in 1838.[4] According to Kark and Oren-Nordheim, Beit Fajjar was mostly farmland until the 19th century, when it gradually transformed into an urban settlement. The residents were descendants to a semi-nomadic family from the Hauran. The lands formerly belonged to the village of Buraikut.[3] According to the villagers, they came from Bethlehem, and settled at Beit Fajjar in 1784.[5]

French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village in 1863, and described it as a village on the top of a hill, with about 400 people. The villagers still buried their dead in rock-cut tombs, below the village.[6] An Ottoman village list of about 1870 indicated 27 houses and a population of 81, though the population count included only men.[7]

In the 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's "Survey of Western Palestine", Beit Fejjar was described as a "small stone village standing very high on a ridge. It is supplied by the fine springs and spring wells of Wady el Arrub".[8]

British Mandate era[edit]

The site's high altitude was the highest point in the area and later the town expanded into other hills. During British rule in Palestine in the 1920s-1940s, Beit Fajjar was used as an observation point for the Bethlehem-Hebron area.[9]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Bait Fajjar had a population 766, all Muslims.[10] In the 1931 census the population of Beit Fajjar was counted together with Umm Salamuna, Marah Ma'alla and Marah Rabah. The total population was 1043, still all Muslims, in 258 houses.[11]

In 1945 the population of Beit Fajjar was 1,480, all Muslims,[12] who owned 17,292 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[13] 2,572 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 2,633 for cereals,[14] while 87 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[15]


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

After 1967[edit]

Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Beit Fajjar has been under Israeli occupation. The population in the 1967 census conducted by the Israeli authorities was 2,474.[16]

The former head of Beit Fajjar's local council, Saber Mohammed Abdul Latif, testified to United Nations representatives that after his arrest on November 1, 1969, how Beit Fajjar had been besieged for about four months, no water had been allowed in and some 70 houses had been blown up. Abdul Latif was then deported on August 28, 1970.[17]

Nibal Thawabteh was the first woman to be elected to the Beit Fajjar Village Council, where she served for seven years.[18]


The primary economic sectors are agriculture and stone-cutting. Beit Fajjar is a major player in the stone industry, supplying meleke, widely known as Jerusalem stone, used in the construction of buildings in Israel and the Palestinian territories.[9] There are 138 stone production outlets in Beit Fajjar, out of 650 in the West Bank.[19]

Arab-Israeli conflict[edit]

On 4 October 2010, a mosque in Beit Fajjar was attacked by arsonists, who doused carpets with kerosene and ignited them at approximately 3am local time. The attackers left a "Star of David symbol and the words 'Price Tag'" over the doorway; the slogan is associated with militant Israeli settlers, who Palestinian residents accused of responsibility for the attack. Gush Etzion is close to the village.[20]

On October 30, 2015, the PA health ministry reported that an 8 month old boy from Beit Fajjar had died after inhaling tear gas fired by the IDF.[21]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 388
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.118.
  3. ^ a b Kark and Oren-Nordheim, 2001, p. 334
  4. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, p. 183
  5. ^ Beit Fajjar Town Profile, ARIJ
  6. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 301
  7. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 154
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, vol. 3, p. 303
  9. ^ a b Beit Fajjar Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation
  10. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Bethlehem, p. 18
  11. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 35
  12. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 24
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 56
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 101
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 151
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ UN Doc A/8389 of 5 October 1971
  18. ^ Trailblazer Opens Doors for Palestinian Women | IIP Digital
  19. ^ Palestinians' stones cut both ways, Csmonitor
  20. ^ Korans burnt in West Bank mosque attack Reuters, 4 October 2010
  21. ^ PA: Palestinian baby dies from inhaling tear gas fired by IDF, October 30, 2015, Times of Israel


External links[edit]