Masafer Yatta

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Masafer Yatta
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic مسافر يطا
 • Also spelled Mosfaret Yatta (official)
Masafer Yatta is located in the Palestinian territories
Masafer Yatta
Masafer Yatta
Location of Masafer Yatta within the Palestinian territories
Coordinates: 31°22′48″N 35°10′51″E / 31.38000°N 35.18083°E / 31.38000; 35.18083Coordinates: 31°22′48″N 35°10′51″E / 31.38000°N 35.18083°E / 31.38000; 35.18083
Governorate Hebron
 • Type Local Development Committee
 • Jurisdiction 36,000 dunams (36.0 km2 or 13.9 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 768
Name meaning "Traveling" or "Nothing"

Masafer Yatta (Arabic: مسافر يطا‎, also spelled Mosfaret Yatta) is a collection of 19 Palestinian hamlets in the Hebron Governorate of the southern West Bank located between 14 and 24 kilometers south of the city of Hebron. They are situated within the municipal boundary of Yatta. The name "Masafer" is believed to derive from the Arabic words for "traveling," in light of the distance needed to travel from Yatta, or "nothing" in light of the local belief that "nothing" would be able to live in the area.[1]


In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) noted the following places: Shảb el Butm, meaning "the spur of the terebinth",[2] Tuweil esh Shîh, meaning "the peak or ridge of Artemisia",[2] Kh. el Fekhît, meaning "the ruin of the fissure",[3] and Kh. Bîr el ’Edd, meaning "the ruin of the perennial well".[4]

At Kh. Bîr el ’Edd PEF noted "traces of ruins, and a cistern",[5] while at Kh. el Fekhît, they noted "traces of ruins, and a cave."[5]

Population and administration[edit]

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, six of the localities that make up Masafer Yatta (Mantiqat Shi'b al-Batim, Khirbet Tawil ash-Shih, Khirbet al-Fakhit, Khirbet Bir al-Idd, Khirbet Asafi and Maghayir al-Abeed) had a population of 768 in 2007. Nearby at-Tuwani serves as a center for the Bedouin localities of Masafer Yatta.[6] Masafer Yatta is administered by a local development committee whose members are appointed by the Ministry of Local Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority.[1]

Israeli occupation[edit]

The hamlet cluster is part of "Area C," meaning that Israel has full military and civil control over it.[1] The area is used by the army for military training and denominated Firing Zone 918 by the Israeli army. More than one thousand Palestinians risk to be expelled from their homes and properties.[7]

Bir el-Eid, which is closest to the Israeli outpost Mitzpeh Yair, report having their cistern vandalized by having an animal carcass thrown into it. In an accusation unsubstantiated by any other agency or by the police, Palestinians and their sympathizers claim that "the Israeli settlers were believed to be behind the vandalism".[8]


  1. ^ a b c At Tuwani &Mosfaret Yatta Profile. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ). 2009.
  2. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 433
  3. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 431
  4. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 430
  5. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 408
  6. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Archived 2010-12-10 at the Wayback Machine. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p. 118.
  7. ^ Masafer Yatta: Israeli military training damages Palestinian harvest. Operazione Colomba, 14 May 2014
  8. ^ IDF removes roadblock to Palestinian villages - twice, Amira Hass, Aug. 19, 2013, Haaretz


External links[edit]