|• Also spelled||Durrah (official)|
|• Type||City (from 1967)|
|• Head of Municipality||Dr. Sameer Hamid Al-Namoura|
|Name meaning||Dura, (p.n)|
Dura (Arabic: دورا) is a Palestinian town located eleven kilometers southwest of Hebron in the Hebron Governorate in the southern West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of over 28,268 in 2007. The current mayor is Sameer Al-Namoura.
Some believe Noah, the tenth of the pre-flood Patriarchs, as the story of Noah's Ark is told in the Hebrew Bible, is buried in Dura. The city was fortified by Rehoboam (974 BC – 913 BC), King of the United Monarchy of Israel and later the King of the Kingdom of Judah, who was a son of Solomon and a grandson of David, according to 2 Chron. 11.9. The city was called Adora in the First Book of Maccabees (1 Macc. 13.20).
In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Syria. After the British Mandate, in the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Dura was occupied by Jordan and came under Jordanian rule. Dura was established as a municipality on January 1, 1967, five months before it was occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War.
Dura is an ancient place, where old cisterns and fragments of mosaics have been found. The town was referred to as "Adora" during the classical period.[which?] It may have been the administrative center of the district of eastern Idumaea established by the Roman consul Aulus Gabinius in the 6th century BCE, though other possibilities have been suggested. Its inhabitants, who were alleged to have been of Esau's progeny (Idumeans), were forced to convert to Judaism during the reign of Hyrcanus, on the condition that they be allowed to remain in the country.
In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine. In 1596 it appeared in the tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Khalil of the Liwa of Quds. It had a population of 49 Muslim households and paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, vines or fruit trees, and goats or beehives.
In 1834, Dura's inhabitants participated in an uprising against the Egyptian Ibrahim Pasha, who took over the area between 1831 and 1840. When Robinson visited in 1838, he described Dura as one of the largest villages in the area, and the residence of the Sheikhs of Ibn Omar, who had formerly ruled the area.
In 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the place, and noted that "Fragments of ancient columns, and a good number of cut stones taken from old constructions and built up in the Arab houses, show the antiquity of the place. Two barracks especially have been built in this way. Above the door of one, a block forming the lintel was once ornamented with mouldings, now very much mutilated. Close to the town is a celebrated wely in which lies a colossal sarcophagus, containing, it is said, the body of Noah."
An Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that Dura had a population of 420, in 144 houses, though the population count included men, only. In 1877 Lieutenant Kitchener had some boys publicly flogged in Dura following an incident when stones were thrown at a member of the Palestine Exploration Fund survey party.
In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Dura as "A large and nourishing village on the flat slope of a hill, with open ground on the east for about a mile. This plain is cultivated with corn. To the north of Dura are a few olives, and others on the south. The houses are of stone. South of the village are two Mukams with white domes; and on the west, higher than the village, is the tomb of Neby Nuh. Near these there are rock-cut sepulchres. The place is well supplied from three springs on the east and one on the south."
British Mandate era
In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Dura was divided into Dura al-‘Amaira, with 2,565 inhabitants, and Dura al-Arjan, with 3,269 inhabitants; a total of 5,834, all Muslims. The report of the 1931 census wrote that "the village in the Hebron sub-district commonly known as Dura is a congeries of neighbouring localities each of which has a distinctive name; and, while Dura is a remarkable example of neighbourly agglutination, the phenomenon is not infrequent in other villages". The total of 70 locations listed in the report had 1538 inhabited houses and a population of 7255 Muslims.
In 1945 the population of Dura was 9,700, all Muslims, who owned 240,704 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey. 3,917 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 90,637 for cereals, while 226 dunams were built-up (urban) land.
In the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Dura came under Jordanian rule. The municipality of Dura was established on January 1, 1967, five months before it was occupied by Israel during the Six-Day War. Since the Six-Day War in 1967, the town has been under Israeli occupation. The population in the 1967 census conducted by the Israeli authorities was 4,954.
After the Palestinian National Authority was ceded control of the town in 1995, a local committee was set up to prevent land confiscation from the town and the municipal council was expanded. Many Palestinian ministries and governmental institutions opened offices in Dura, enhancing its role in Palestinian politics.
In June 2014, during the search to find three kidnapped boys, when 150 Israeli soldiers stormed Dura's Haninia neighbourhood in a dawn raid to detain a person, and were met by young men and boys throwing rocks. An Israeli soldier shot and killed a teenager who was among the rock throwers, 13 or 15-year-old Mohammed Dudeen.
The climate of Dura is dry in the summers and experiences moderate precipitation during winter. Average annual precipitation depend on specific geographic locations within the town. The area of Dahr Alhadaba receives an annual average of 400–600 mm of rain, southern slopes 300–400 mm and the northern region of the Dura hills 250–300.
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- Jodi Rudoren, 'Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian Teenager Protesting West Bank Arrests,' New York Times, 20 June 2014:'as he and other youths hurled rocks at about 150 soldiers.'"One of them crouched and opened fire on the boy," said Bassam al-Awadeh, 42, who said he watched from about 150 yards (140 m) away. "The boy was hit in his heart and his abdomen.".'
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