Beit Iksa

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Beit Iksa
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic بيت إكسا
 • Also spelled Beit Exa (official)
Bayt Iksa (unofficial)
View of Beit Iksa, 2011
View of Beit Iksa, 2011
Beit Iksa is located in the Palestinian territories
Beit Iksa
Beit Iksa
Location of Beit Iksa within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°49′05″N 35°10′50″E / 31.81806°N 35.18056°E / 31.81806; 35.18056Coordinates: 31°49′05″N 35°10′50″E / 31.81806°N 35.18056°E / 31.81806; 35.18056
Palestine grid 167/136
Governorate Jerusalem
 • Type Village council
 • Head of Municipality Bajes Abud
 • Jurisdiction 7,734 dunams (7.7 km2 or 3.0 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 • Jurisdiction 1,600
Name meaning "The house of Iksa"[1]

Beit Iksa (Arabic: بيت إكسا‎‎;[1]) is a Palestinian village in the Jerusalem Governorate, located 6 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem in the West Bank. It lies 775–800 metres above sea-level. Beit Iksa, a village of 1,700 inhabitants, was classified as "Area B" as a result of the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1995. Since then, civil affairs have been under the control of the Palestinian National Authority, while security matters are handled by the Israel Defense Forces.[2] The village is surrounded on all sides by the Israeli West Bank barrier, and outside Palestinians are denied access through the one Israeli checkpoint leading to it. In 2014 Israeli military authorities announced they would confiscate a further 3,167 acress of Beit Iksa lands, leaving the township, according to the village head, Saada al-Khatib, as a 2,500-dunum prison.[3]

Beit Iksa contains two primary schools run by the Palestinian National Authority. Students attending secondary school travel to Jerusalem or nearby towns for education.[2]


Beit Iksa lies on one of the historical routes that joined the Mediterranean coastal plain with Jerusalem, and its existence is attested as early as the 5th century CE. An alternative name for the site was Umm el-'Ela[4] During the Crusader period, the village was known as Jenanara, according to its inhabitants.[5]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman empire with the rest of Ottoman Syria, and in the 1596 tax-records it appeared under the name of Bayt Kisa, located in the Nahiye of Jerusalem in the Sanjak of the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem. It had a population of 79 households, all Muslim, and paid taxes on wheat, barley, olive trees, vineyards, fruit trees, orchard, goats or bee hives, and a press for olives or grapes.[6]

In 1841 a local leader (nāzir), Abd al-Qadir al-Khatib, built an Ottoman castle located in the southern part of the village, while one of his brother built a smaller version five years later.[4] In 1863, the French explorer Victor Guérin passed by the village and was told it had 300 inhabitants. He noted that the surroundings were cultivated with vines and olive trees.[7] An Ottoman village list of about 1870 showed that "Bet Iksa" had 70 houses and a population of 147, though the population count included only men.[8] According to Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, he was informed in 1874 that the inhabitant belonged to the Beni Zeid tribe and that the village earlier had been named Umm el Ela.[4][9]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as a "village of moderate size, with stone houses, and a well on the north, near which is a tree sacrted to an otherwise unknown prophet, Nabī Leimûun. There are a few olives round the village."[4][10] A cult of saints celebrated also a Sheikh Mubarak, Sheikh Itayim, and Sheikh Hasan.[citation needed]

British Mandate era[edit]

In a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, "Bait Iksa" had a population of 791, all Muslims,[11] increasing in the 1931 census to a population of 1003, in 221 houses.[12]

In 1945, Bein Iksa had a population of 1,410, all Arabs, with 8,179 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[13] Of this, 1,427 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 2,690 used for cereals,[14] while 43 dunams were built-up land.[15]


In April 1948, most of the villagers fled following the fall of Deir Yassin and the Haganah entered the village destroying many buildings.[16] In the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Beit Iksa was occupied by Jordan.

After 1967[edit]

After the Six-Day War in 1967, Beit Iksa came under Israeli occupation. 93% is under full Israeli military control while over half of the land lies beyond the confines of the West Bank separation barrier.[3] The majority of the present population came to the village as refugees in the wake of the Six Day War, when its original inhabitants were forced to flee. In November 2014, Israeli authorities delivered a notification to the village, declaring the intention of confiscating 12,852 dunums (3,176 acres) of their land, including the areas of Haraeq al-Arab, Thahr Biddu, Numus, and Khatab. The given reason for the confiscation states that the land is required "for military purposes". Landholders were given until 31 December 2017 to remain on their land.[3] Israeli settlements, including Ramot, have been built on 1,500 dunums (371 acres) on village land,[3] and according to the village major, the order came through after the Israel government announced plans for a further 244 housing units to be built in Ramot.[3]


According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Beit Iksa had a population of approximately 1,600 inhabitants in mid-year 2006.[17] From the population, over 80% are Palestinian refugees.[2] By 2014 the population had grown to some 1,700.[3]

According to the land researcher Sami Hadawi, the population grew to 1,410 in 1945.[13] However, following Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, Beit Iksa counted 633 inhabitants, due to the number of residents that fled the village. Most of the village's inhabitants hold Palestinian ID cards and live in Beit Iksa's built-up area of 417 dunams or 5.4% of the village's total land area of 7,734 dunams.[18]


  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 286
  2. ^ a b c Village Profiles: Profile of Beit Iksa, Jerusalem Archived April 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. United Nations Relief and Works Agency. January 2004.
  3. ^ a b c d e f 'Israel to confiscate 3,200 acres of Palestinian land near Jerusalem,'Ma'an News Agency 8 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d Sharon, 1999, p. 105 -108
  5. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, 1899, vol. 1, p. 479
  6. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 121.
  7. ^ Guérin, 1868, p. 256
  8. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 146
  9. ^ Clermont-Ganneau, 1896, vol. 2, p. 42
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 8
  11. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 14
  12. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 38
  13. ^ a b 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. ^ Morris, 1987, pp.114,158
  17. ^ Projected Mid -Year Population for Jerusalem Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006 Archived February 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS)
  18. ^ Beit Iksa village loses its lands for the Israeli Segregation Wall Archived August 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem


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