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Qalunya, before 1949
Qalunya is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic قالونيا
Name meaning from the Latin Colonia[1]
Also spelled Qaluniya, Colonia, Kolonia
Subdistrict Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°47′39″N 35°9′27″E / 31.79417°N 35.15750°E / 31.79417; 35.15750Coordinates: 31°47′39″N 35°9′27″E / 31.79417°N 35.15750°E / 31.79417; 35.15750
Palestine grid 165/133
Population 1,056 (1948)
Area 4,844 dunams
Date of depopulation early April, 1948,[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Mevaseret Zion

Qalunya (Arabic: قالونيا‎, also transliterated Qaluniya, Colonia and Kolonia) was a Palestinian Arab village located 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) west of Jerusalem.[3]

Prior to the village's destruction in 1948, with the exception of 166 dunams, Qalunya's land was privately owned: 3,594 dunams were owned by Arabs, while 1,084 dunams were owned by Jews.[3]


Qalunya stood on a mountain slope, facing southwest; Wadi Qalunya passed through its eastern edge. The village lay on the Jerusalem-Jaffa highway, and a dirt path linked it to its neighboring villages.[4] Qalunya was located near the Jewish town of Motza. Motza is now an outlying neighborhood of Jerusalem, and ruins of demolished buildings from Qalunya are present near Motza, covered in vegetation, just off the main highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.


Qalunya is identified with the Canaanite town of Mozah (Joshua 18:26), its name was found stamped on pottery handles in Tall al-Nasba. After A.D. 71 Vespasian settled 800 Roman soldiers in the town, which became a Roman settlement known as Colonia Amosa or Colonia Emmaus.[4] It has also been suggested that Qalunya was Emmaus.[5]

The word colonia produced the Byzantine name, Koloneia, for the site. The status of the site in the early Islamic period has not been established, but the name was preserved in Crusader times as Qalonie or Qalunia and in Arabic as Qalunya. Mujir al-Din al-Hanbali (d.1522) reported that in 1192 it was a village near Jerusalem.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1596, Qalunya was a village in the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Jerusalem under the liwa' (district) of Jerusalem, and it had a population of 110. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley and olives, as well as on goats, beehives and molasses.[7]

In the late nineteenth century, Qalunya was described as a moderate-sized village perched on the slope of a hill, 300 feet (91 m) above a valley. Travelers reported that it had a "modern" restaurant. The villagers tended orange and lemon trees that were planted around a spring in the valley.[8] To the west of the restaurant were ruins, possible of Byzantine origin.[9]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Qalunieh (Qalonia) had a population 549; 456 Muslims, 88 Jews and 5 Christians,[10] increasing in the 1931 census to 632, 632 Muslims and 10 Christians; in a total of 156 houses.[11]

During the 1929 Palestine riots, several residents of Qalunya attacked an outlying house in Motza belonging to the Maklef family, killing the father, mother, son, two daughters, and their two guests. Three children survived by escaping out a second-story window; one, Mordechai Maklef, later became Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army. The attackers included the lone police officer and armed man in the area, as well as a shepherd employed by the Maklef family. The village was subsequently abandoned by Jews for a year's time.[12]

In 1945, Qalunya and Motza had a population of 910 Arabs and 350 Jews, with a total of 4,844 dunams of land.[13] A total of 1,224 dunums of land were irrigated or used for plantations, 955 were used for cereals;[14] while 227 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[15]

1948, and after[edit]

On 11 April 1948, as part of Operation Nachshon, a Hagana forces entered the village and blew up 50 houses.[16] Qalunya was one of four villages that were systematically destroyed by Hagana units in this fashion in the immediate wake of the Deir Yassin massacre; the others being, Beit Surik, Biddu and Saris.[16]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 321
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, village #359. Also gives the cause of depopulation.
  3. ^ a b "Qalunya". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  4. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 309
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 40
  6. ^ Al:Khalidi 1968:181, Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.309
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 118. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 309
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 17. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.309
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 132
  10. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 14
  11. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 42
  12. ^ Segev, 2013, p. 324
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 58
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 103
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 153
  16. ^ a b Pappe, 2006, p. 91.


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