Biddu, Jerusalem

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Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic بدّو
Biddu is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Biddu within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°50′02″N 35°08′43″E / 31.83389°N 35.14528°E / 31.83389; 35.14528Coordinates: 31°50′02″N 35°08′43″E / 31.83389°N 35.14528°E / 31.83389; 35.14528
Palestine grid 164/137
Governorate Jerusalem
 • Type Municipality
Population (2006)
 • Jurisdiction 6,368
Name meaning "Biddu", personal name[1]

Biddu (Arabic: بدّو‎‎) is a Palestinian town in the Jerusalem Governorate, located 6 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem in the West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of 6,368 in 2006.[2] Biddu is at an altitude of 806m to 834m. Giv'on HaHadashah lies 2 km east of Biddu.


Bagatti suggested that several buildings in the town are from the 12th century. South-west of the centre is the ruined wali of Sheikh Abu Talal, which might have been a Crusader church.[3][4]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1838, during the Ottoman period, the American biblical scholar Edward Robinson noted the village during his travels in the area.[5][6]

In May 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village, called Biddou. He described it as being situated on a very high plateau, with some 150 inhabitants. Some houses seemed very old.[7] An Ottoman village list from about 1870 showed that Biddu had a population of 247 in a total of 70 houses, though that population count included men, only. It was further noted that “the village was once more important, also it has a cistern carved in the rock. The Crusader road from Ramle to Nabi Samwil ran through here.“[8]

In 1883 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "a village on a rocky hill, with a well to the north east. It is of moderate size."[9]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Biddu had a population 252, all Muslims.[10] This had increased in the 1931 census to 399, still all Muslim, in 88 houses.[11]

In 1945 the population of Biddu consisted of 520 Muslims[12] and the land area was 5,392 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[13] Of this, 334 dunams were designated for plantations and irrigable land, 2,258 for cereals,[14] while 19 dunams were built-up areas.[15]


On the night of 19 April 1948 the village was attacked by the Palmach.[16][17] The attacking force was commanded by Yosef Tabenkin, based in Jerusalem. They were later to become the Harel Brigade of the Israeli army. The attack came from Beit Surik which had been captured earlier that night. Biddu was subjected to a short bombardment from a Davidka after which Palmach sappers entered the village and demolished its houses.[18][19]

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


The barrier in northern Jerusalem, with the "Biddu enclave" to the left

After the Six-Day War in 1967, Biddu has been under Israeli occupation.


Biddu along with 9 other Palestinian villages, Beit Duqqu, Beit 'Anan, Beit Surik, Qatanna, al-Qubeiba, Beit Ijza, Kharayib Umm al Lahimand and at Tira form the "Biddu enclave" which, according to Tanya Reinhart, are imprisoned behind a wall, cut off from their orchards and farmlands that are being seized in order to form the real estate reserves of the Jerusalem Corridor and to create a territorial continuity with Giv'at Ze'ev.[20] The enclave will be linked to Ramallah by underpasses and a road that is fenced on both sides. From the "Biddu enclave" Palestinians will travel along a fenced road that passes under a bypass road to Bir Nabala enclave, then on a second underpass under Bypass Road 443 to Ramallah.[21]

Biddu, which has a record of peaceful coexistence with Jewish settlements, despite some violent confrontations,[22] has become a focal point for non-violent resistance to the process of incorporating Palestinian lands into Israeli settlements.[23] Biddu villagers promote the use of their bodies to hinder bulldozing of their terrain, and recourse to arms or violence is forbidden.[20]

Attempts to have "women only" protests, to avoid conflict, have met with defeat. In one demonstration by Israeli and local women activists in April 2004,a protest by 70 women brandishing signs and singing was broken up by tear gas, stun grenades, and mounted police.[23] Diaa' A-Din 'Abd al-Karim Ibrahim Abu 'Eid was shot dead by gunfire during an anti-barrier demonstration on 18 April 2004.[24] Muhammad Fadel Hashem Rian and Zakaria Mahmoud 'Eid Salem were shot dead during anti-barrier demonstrations on 26 February 2004 at Beit Ijaz (a satellite village of Biddu).[24]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 287
  2. ^ Projected Mid -Year Population for Jerusalem Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006 Archived February 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
  3. ^ Pringle, 1993, p. 160
  4. ^ Pringle, 1997, p. 33
  5. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, pp. 133, 141
  6. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 66
  7. ^ Guérin, 1868, p. 362
  8. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 148
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 17
  10. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 15
  11. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 39
  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. 102
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 152
  16. ^ Morris, 1987, p.112.
  17. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 235
  18. ^ Allon, Yigal (1970) The Making of Israel's Army. Vallentine, Mitchell - London. ISBN 0-853-03027-8. pp.194,195
  19. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 345
  20. ^ a b Reinhart, 2006, p. 202
  21. ^ OCHA Archived November 12, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Conal Urquhart, 'Israelis kill two villagers in barrier protests,' The Guardian 27 February 2004:'Yesterday Ziad Mansoor, 23, from Biddu, said he had witnessed the shooting dead of Zacharia Eid, a father of three from a nearby village. Mr Eid had been arrested by Israelis and put in a jeep, but managed to run away, at which point he was shot, according to Mr Mansoor. He said they had been protesting because the separation barrier would ruin the future of the villages. "We will be cut off from everything we need to have for a normal life," he said. . .Periodically, a cry would go up among Palestinians that someone had been injured and an ambulance would go to the rescue. One paramedic said that at least 11 people had been wounded by live ammunition and 14 by rubber bullets.'.
  23. ^ a b Ben Lynfield,'A West Bank town tries to protest the wall nonviolently,' Christian Science Monitor, 6 May 2004:'what sets apart the Biddu demonstrations is that they are driven by Palestinians directly affected by the fence who espouse nonviolence as a tactic amid the shootings, suicide bombings, and calls for revenge that have characterized three-plus years of conflict.'
  24. ^ a b B'Tselem West Bank Statistics


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