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Al-Issawiya viewed from Mt. Scopus

Al-Issawiya (Arabic: العيساوية‎, is a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.[1] It is located on Mount Scopus near Hadassah Medical Center.


Edward Henry Palmer thought that the name meant "the place or sect of Jesus (ʿIsa)."[2]


A burial cave, with pottery dating to the Early Roman period (first century CE), has been found at Isawiya.[3]

Two burial chambers were documented in 2003, one dating to the Roman period, the other to the Byzantine era (sixth–eighth centuries CE).[4] A burial cave with a 4 line inscription in Greek have been examined, the inscription ascribes the tomb to the daughters of the Kyros family.[5]

Ottoman era[edit]

Isawiya, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the 1560s the revenues of al-Isawiya were designated for the waqf of Hasseki Sultan Imaret in Jerusalem, established by Hasseki Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana), wife of Suleiman the Magnificent.[6] In the 1596 tax registers it appeared as Isawiyya, in the Nahiya of Quds of the Liwa of Quds, with a population of 35 households and 3 bachelors, all Muslim. The villages paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3% on wheat, barley, olive trees, vineyards, fruit trees, goats and beehives; a total of 6,940 akçe.[7][8]

In 1838 it was noted as "a little village",[9] located in the el Wadiyeh region, east of Jerusalem.[10] An Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that Isawiya had a population of 178, (or 78), in 29 houses, though the population count included men, only.[11][12]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described El Aisawiyeh as a "small village on the eastern slope of the chain of Olivet, with a spring to the south and a few olives round it."[13] Another source states the locals grew vegetables, which were sold in Jerusalem.[14]

In 1896 the population was estimated to be about 210 persons.[15]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, 'Isawiyeh had a population of 333, all Muslims,[16] increasing in the 1931 census to a population of 558; 7 Christians and the rest Muslim, occupying 117 houses.[17]

In the 1945 statistics the population of Isawiya was 730; 720 Muslims and 10 Christians,[18] who owned 10,108 dunams of land while 235 dunams had Jewish owners, according to an official land and population survey.[19] 3,291 dunams were used for cereals,[20] while 47 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[21]


The Mount Scopus Agreement signed on July 7, 1948 regulated the demilitarised zone and authorized the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization to settle disputes between Israel and Jordan. One area of conflict involved two Jewish-owned plots in Issawiya, known as Gan Shlomit or Salomons Garden, which were purchased by V.F. Salomons in 1934 and sold to the Gan Shlomit Company, Ltd. in 1937.[22] In 1961, the population was 1,163, according to a Jordanian census.[23]

In 1964, Issawiya had a population of 1,300. It was located at this time within the Mount Scopus demilitarized zone, an unsupervised demilitarized zone between Jordan and Israel.[24]


Isawiya, 2016

Isawiya has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967.

According to ARIJ, Issawiya have had 1,212 dunums of land confiscated by Israel in order to construct various Israeli settlements and expand the Hebrew University:

Issawiya is located at the foot of French Hill, northwest of the road to Ma'ale Adumim.[26] Under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality, its citizens are considered permanent residents of the city, entitled to live and work in Israel without special permits. As permanent residents, they are also entitled to social benefits provided by Bituah Leumi (Israeli National Insurance Institute) and Israeli health insurance.[27]

Land registry[edit]

Under Jordanian rule, land in Issawiya was registered under the owner's name, but registration stopped in 1967. Residents who apply for building permits are frequently turned down because ownership cannot be proven. Another problem is that land may belong to as many as ten clans. The land would need to be unified and then divided between all residents who claim ownership.[citation needed]


According to the local mukhtar, 800 students in al-Issawiya lack classrooms. This has caused strikes among the students and protests among community leaders and parents. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel the difference in schooling-standard between East and West Jerusalem is "staggering".[28] A girls' school in al-Issawiya is one of five elementary schools in the Jerusalem area that teach philosophy to third-graders as part of a program operating in 70 countries.[29] A project sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem coordinates educational work with youth in Issawiya. Palestinian-Israeli students at the university undergo a training seminar that provides them with the requisite teaching and facilitation skills.[30]


Some residents of the neighborhood work at Hadassah Medical Center, located on a hill overlooking the neighborhood.[27]


In 2005, the Peres Center for Peace inaugurated a synthetic turf soccer field in Issawiya as part of the Twinned Peace Soccer School project.[31] The soccer field was a priority in 1993 during Teddy Kollek's election year and had been allocated funding at the time, but was finally built with South Korean funding.[32]


  1. ^ "The Jerusalem Blowback in Palestine: Not What You'd Think". The Daily Beast. 2017-12-15. Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 283
  3. ^ ‘Adawi and Abu Raya, 2005, Jerusalem, ‘Issawiya, Final Report
  4. ^ ‘Adawi, 2009, Jerusalem, Issawiya
  5. ^ Re'em and Abu Raya, 2007, Jerusalem, ‘Issawiya
  6. ^ Singer, 2002, p. 126.
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 122
  8. ^ Toledano, 1984, p. 289, has Ayzariyya at location 31°46′20″N 35°14′55″E.
  9. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, p. 198
  10. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 122
  11. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 155
  12. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 124, noted 30 houses
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 27
  14. ^ Ben-Arieh, Yehoshua. The Sanjak of Jerusalem in the 1870s.‘ in Cathedra, 36. Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben Zvi. 1985. p. 76
  15. ^ Schick, 1896, p. 121
  16. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 14
  17. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 40
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 24
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 57
  20. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 102
  21. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 152
  22. ^ Note by the Secretary-General, Addendum, Corrigendum, Report of the Firing Incident of May 26, 1958 on Mount Scopus; UN Doc S/4030 17 June 1958
  23. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 23
  24. ^ "In No Man's Land", Newsweek, Volume 64, Part 2, p.52
  25. ^ a b c d 'Isawiya Town Profile, ARIJ, 2012, p. 14
  26. ^ Jerusalem Municipality advancing plan to build 1,900 apartments for Arabs
  27. ^ a b Bridge Over Troubled Land
  28. ^ Isawiya students strike over classroom deficit, 08/30/2012 Jerusalem Post
  29. ^ Ha'aretz pdf article Archived March 5, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Campus-Community Partnership
  31. ^ Peres Center opens Issawiya soccer field YNet News.
  32. ^ Amir S. Cheshin, Bill Hutman, AVI Melamed (2001) Separate and Unequal: The Inside Story of Israeli Rule in East Jerusalem Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-00553-8 p.73


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°47′55″N 35°14′54″E / 31.79861°N 35.24833°E / 31.79861; 35.24833