Kifl Haris

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Kifl Haris
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic كفل حارس
 • Also spelled Kifl Hares (official)
Kefl Harith (unofficial)
View of Kifl Hares, 2011
View of Kifl Hares, 2011
Kifl Haris is located in the Palestinian territories
Kifl Haris
Kifl Haris
Location of Kifl Haris within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 32°07′07.02″N 35°09′25.02″E / 32.1186167°N 35.1569500°E / 32.1186167; 35.1569500Coordinates: 32°07′07.02″N 35°09′25.02″E / 32.1186167°N 35.1569500°E / 32.1186167; 35.1569500
Palestine grid 165/169
Governorate Salfit
 • Type Village council
 • Head of Municipality Ahmad Buziah[1]
Population (2007)[2]
 • Jurisdiction 3,248
Name meaning "The village of the guard"[3]

Kifl Haris (Arabic: كفل حارس‎) is a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, located six kilometers west of Salfit and 18 kilometers south of Nablus in the Salfit Governorate, northwest of the Israeli settlement city Ariel.


Sherds from the Middle Bronze Age, Iron Age II, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine/Umayyad, Crusader/Ayyubid and Mamluk eras have been found here.[4]

Ottoman Empire[edit]

In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine, and in 1596, Kafr Harit appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in nahiya (subdistrict) of Jabal Qubal under the liwa' (district) of Nablus. It had a population of 54 households, all Muslim. They paid taxes on occasional revenues, goats and/or beehives, and a fixed amount.[5] Sherds from the early Ottoman era have also been found.[4]

In the late Ottoman period, in 1870, the French explorer Victor Guérin reached the village, after walking through "beautiful plantations of figs and olives". He estimated it had 600 inhabitants.[6] The name of this place was given to Guérin as Kefil Haris. The Wely marked on the Palestine Exploration Fund 1880s map as Sheikh Ata, 1 mile north-east of Kefr Haris, is called by him Sheikh Khather. He also calls attention to the remains of an old watchtower built of large, well-cut stones, between Deir Estia and Kefr Haris. At the latter place he found two broken marble columns built up in the wall of the mosque.[7]

In 1882, it was described as a "somewhat small village on high ground, with olive groves to the east. It has three sacred places, Neby Kifl, Neby Nun, and Neby Lusha."[8]

British Mandate of Palestine[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Kufr Hares had a population of 373, all Muslim,[9] increasing in the 1931 census to 562 persons, still all Muslim, in 130 houses.[10]

In 1945 the population was 770 Muslims[11] while the total land area was 9,393 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[12] Of this, 4,117 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 2,131 for cereals,[13] while 32 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[14]


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


After the Six-Day War in 1967, Kifl Haris has been under Israeli occupation. Under the Oslo Accords, the village has been placed under Palestinian civil control, what is known as Area B.[15] Visits by Jewish pilgrims to Kifl Hares are coordinated by the Israeli military.

Tomb of Joshua[edit]

According to a Samaritan tradition, noted in 1877, the tombs of Joshua and Caleb were in Kifl Haris.[16]

Biblical tradition places the tomb of Joshua, Caleb, and Nun according to Joshua 24:30 in Timnath-heres which is attributed to be the current location of Kifl Haris. Thousands make the pilgrimage to the tombs on the annual commemoration of Joshua's death, 26th of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar.[17]

Tomb of Joshua

Israeli Palestinian conflict[edit]

According to the United Nations OCHA, three local residents were killed during the First Intifada and one during the Second Intifada.[18]

On 14 March 2013,[19] Adele Biton was critically injured (later dying from her injuries), and her mother and two sisters were moderately injured, after their car crashed after Palestinians threw stones their way near the village.[20][21] Five youths from Kifl Haris were charged by a military court for responsibility for the incident, and as of February 2015 the case has not yet been concluded.[20]

In June 2014, Jamil Ali Abed Jabir died during a night raid by the IDF. Locals say he suffered a heart attack while defending his home. According to an IDF spokesman, his house wasn't raided.[22]

In 2015, an Israeli tour of the site was preceded by a convoy of military vehicles which closed off the town entrances and imposed a shutdown of all the village shops so Israeli tourists could visit the tomb for several hours.[23]


  1. ^ Municipalities Archived 2007-02-21 at the Wayback Machine. Nablus Municipality
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Archived 2010-12-10 at the Wayback Machine. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p. 112.
  3. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 230
  4. ^ a b Finkelstein et al, 1997, p. 460
  5. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 131
  6. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 161
  7. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 161, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 324
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 284-285
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Nablus, p. 25
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 61.
  11. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 18
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 60
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 107
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 157
  15. ^ Al Monitor
  16. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, p. 218 - 219
  17. ^ "Jews Barred from Visiting Tomb of Biblical Joshua". 
  18. ^ "Kifl Hares village Profile" (PDF). 
  19. ^ "Hundreds attend funeral for 4-year-old terror victim Adele Biton". Ynet. 
  20. ^ a b "Toddler dies two years after stone-throwing incident left her critically injured". Haaretz. 17 February 2015. 
  21. ^ "Israeli Girl Injured in Palestinian Rock-Throwing Attack in 2013 Dies". New York Times. 17 February 2013. 
  22. ^ "Israel rejects responsibility for elderly Palestinian's death". Ma'an News. 22 June 2014. 
  23. ^ 'Hundreds of Israelis visit West Bank tomb under armed guard,' Ma'an News Agency 27 February 2015.


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