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Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabicقُصرة
Qusra is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Qusra within Palestine
Coordinates: 32°05′7″N 35°19′48″E / 32.08528°N 35.33000°E / 32.08528; 35.33000Coordinates: 32°05′7″N 35°19′48″E / 32.08528°N 35.33000°E / 32.08528; 35.33000
Palestine grid181/165
StateState of Palestine
 • TypeMunicipality
 • Head of MunicipalityMohammad Jaber[1]
 • Total4,377
Name meaning"One palace"[2]

Qusra (also Kusra) (Arabic: قُصرة‎) is a Palestinian village in the Nablus Governorate in the northern West Bank, located 28 kilometers southeast of Nablus. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Qusra had a population of 674 households occupied by 4,377 inhabitants in 2007.[3]

According to ARIJ, Israel confiscated land from the two Palestinian villages of Jalud and Qusra in order to construct the two illegal Israeli outposts of Ahiya and Esh Kodesh.[4]


Qusra is located 16.3 km south east of Nablus. It is bordered by Majdal Bani Fadil and Duma to the east, Jurish to the north, Talfit to the west, and Jalud to the south.[5]


Ottoman era[edit]

According to Finkelstein et al., Qusra has never been surveyed. They estimated early Ottoman remains based on Hütteroth and Abdulfattah.[6]

In 1596 the village appeared in Ottoman tax registers under the name of Qusayra as being in the nahiya of Jabal Qubal in the liwa of Nablus. It had a population of 14 households, all Muslim. The villagers paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3 % on agricultural products, including wheat, barley, summer crops, olive trees, goats and/or beehives; a total of 3,000 akçe.[7]

In 1838 Qusra (spelled Kausara) was classified as a Muslim village in the subdistrict of el-Beitawi.[8] The French explorer Victor Guérin described passing by several "magnificent" oaks on the way to the village in May 1870. The village, which he called Kesrah, was described as having about 200 inhabitants. Guérin also noted several ancient rock-cut cisterns, the largest of which was at the lower part of the village.[9]

In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) noted that: "West of the village are foundations, and heaps of stones."[10] SWP also described the village (called Kusrah) as: "A village of middling size, on low ground, with olive-trees."[11] In the early years of the 20th century, towards the end of Ottoman rule, Qusra was part of the Jalud-based sheikhdom of Mashiyah Dar al-Haj Mahmud which was nominally administered by the Nasr Mansur family.[12]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Qusra had a population of 707, all Muslims,[13] increasing in the 1931 census to 851, still all Muslim, in 213 occupied houses.[14]

In the 1945 statistics Qusra had a population of 1,120, all Muslim,[15] with 8,938 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[16] Of this, 2,763 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 3,091 used for cereals,[17] while 69 dunams were built-up land.[18]

Jordanian era[edit]

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

The Jordanian census of 1961 found 1,312 inhabitants.[19]


After the Six-Day War in 1967, Qusra has been under Israeli occupation.

After the 1995 accords, 50% of the village land is defined to be Area B land, while the remaining 50% is in Area C. 177 dunums of village land was confiscated by Israel in order to build the Israeli settlement of Migdalim.[20]

On 24 December 2014, Israeli forces destroyed with bulldozers over 400 square metres of the village's traditional stone walls close to Migdalim.[21]

September 2011[edit]

""Mo is a pig", graffiti by Israeli settlers from Esh Kodesh on the al-Nurayn Mosque of Qusra, 2011[22]

On the night of 4–5 September 2011, a group of presumably Israeli settlers entered the village at 3 a.m., vandalized the village's Al-Nurayn mosque and tried to set it on fire.[23] They smashed windows, rolled burning tires inside, and wrote "Muhammad is a pig" in Hebrew on its wall.[22] The attack on the mosque came shortly after Israeli police officers had destroyed three illegal structures in the settlement outpost of Migron north of Jerusalem.[23] According to Agence France Press, the graffiti also included a Star of David, and the name “Migron”.[24] The attack, not the first of its kind,[25] is viewed as part of a policy called “price tag” followed by a radical segment among the settlers, in which they respond to attempts by the Israeli security forces to demolish unauthorized Jewish settlements with attacks against Palestinians.[22]

The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack and called on the Middle East Quartet to get involved.[23] The Israeli government also condemned the attack, and has instructed its authorities to “bring those responsible to justice,” and urged all sides to avoid the potential for escalation.[26] The European Union representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton issued a statement which strongly condemned the attack on the mosque, stating: "These provocations seriously undermine efforts to build the necessary trust for a comprehensive peace in the region; [...] attacks against places of worship undermine the freedom of religion or belief which is a fundamental human right," calling on Israeli authorities "to investigate the attack, bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent such attacks happening again."[23] The United States Department of State also strongly condemned the “dangerous and provocative attacks” on the mosque and called on those responsible to be arrested and “subject to the full force of the law”.[26]

Qusra lies outside the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and depends on the Israeli military for protection, and the its residents have no weapons.[27] They organised a neighborhood watch consisting of between 15 and 20 volunteers, who patrol nightly. In case of trouble, the volunteers have instructions to phone the governor of Nablus who would contact the Israeli Army (IDF). According to Qusra mayor Hani Abu Murad, the patrol scared off settlers who had approached the village a few days after the mosque was defaced.[28]

On 23 September 2011, a group of about a dozen settlers from a nearby outpost approached Qusra,[29] and a warning was announced from the mosque speakers. A large group from Qusra confronted the settlers, and threw stones, after which the Israeli Army arrived, protecting the settlers.[30] The IDF first fired tear gas, then live rounds, killing one man, identified as Essam Kamal Badran, 35, by Qusra mayor Abu Murad, according to Haaretz.[31] A statement from the IDF confirmed its troops had used live fire against the Palestinians after rocks were thrown at security personnel, and said it was working with Palestinian security officials to investigate.[30]

The incident received widespread publicity as it occurred just hours before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took the podium at the U.N. General Assembly, making his quest for recognition of a Palestinian state.[32]

November 2017[edit]

On 30th November, 2017, a group of Israeli settlers, consisting of thirteen year old kids and two accompanying adult settlers went on a bar mitzvah hike near the village. The adults were armed with a M16 rifle and a pistol.[33]

According to the Palestinian narrative, one of the Israeli settlers shot killed a local Palestinian man, Mahmoud Zael Oudeh, and the villagers then surrounded and pelted the settlers with rocks.[33]

The Israeli investigation determined that the villagers first surrounded the settlers, who took shelter in a cave during which time Palestinians entered the cave pressed on with the attack,[34][35][36] until the Israeli army arrived on the scene.[37][38][39][40] The Israeli army claimed that the hikers did not coordinate their hike with them, however the hikers dispute this and have presented an e-mail requesting authorization and claim they received a verbal confirmation.[41] A week after the incident the Israeli army recovered equipment taken from the hikers in the village and arrested 20 Qusra residents for participation in the incident, subsequent violent clashes, and incitement to terrorism.[42] A Palestinian man was indicted for attempted murder for hurling large rocks at close range inside the cave, lightly wounding the head of one of the adult chaperones. After being treated for his injuries, one accompanying parent was questioned as a negligent homicide suspect over Oudeh's death where he claimed self-defence,[36][40] subsequent Israeli police investigation finding that he acted in "self-defense".[37][34][35]


  1. ^ 'Murdered on his own land': Palestinian village mourns father killed by settlers Yumna Patel, 7 December 2017, middleeasteye.net
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 256
  3. ^ "Population, Housing and Establishment Census 2007" (PDF). Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. August 2008. p. 110. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  4. ^ Qusra Village Profile, ARIJ, p. 15
  5. ^ Qusra Village Profile, ARIJ, p. 4
  6. ^ Finkelstein and Lederman, eds., 1997, pp. 763-786
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 135
  8. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3. p. 128
  9. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 13 ff
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 402
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 386.
  12. ^ Macalister and Masterman, 1905, p. 356
  13. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Nablus, p. 25
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 64.
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 19
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 60
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 107
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 157
  19. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 26
  20. ^ Qusra Village Profile, ARIJ, p. 15
  21. ^ 'Israeli forces destroy stone walls in Nablus village,' Ma'an News Agency 24 December 2014.
  22. ^ a b c "Villagers v settlers". The Economist. September 24, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  23. ^ a b c d "EU's Ashton: Settler attack on West Bank mosque undermines Mideast peace". Haaretz. September 6, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  24. ^ "West Bank mosque torched as police dismantle outpost". AFP. September 5, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  25. ^ Kershner, Isabel (June 7, 2011). "Arsonists Damage and Deface Mosque in West Bank Village". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  26. ^ a b Mozgovaya, Natasha (September 10, 2011). "U.S. State Department condemns 'dangerous' settler attacks on West Bank mosques". Haaretz. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  27. ^ Bronner, Ethan (September 23, 2011). "Amid Statehood Bid, Tensions Simmer in West Bank". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  28. ^ Perry, Tom (September 15, 2011). "Settler attacks raise West Bank tension ahead of U.N." Reuters. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  29. ^ Kershner, Isabel & Bronner, Ethan (September 23, 2011). "Palestinians Rally in West Bank for Abbas Speech; Clashes Reported". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  30. ^ a b Sherwood, Harriet & Greenwood, Phoebe (September 23, 2011). "Palestinian man shot dead in clash with Israeli soldiers". The Guardian. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  31. ^ Pfeffer, Anshel & Levinson, Chaim (September 23, 2011). "Report: Palestinian killed in West Bank clashes with Israeli forces". Haaretz. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  32. ^ Greenberg, Joel (September 28, 2011). "Palestinian statehood bid stokes tensions in West Bank". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  33. ^ a b An Israeli Settler, a Dead Palestinian and the Crux of the Conflict, Isabel Kershner, December 22, 2017, New York Times
  34. ^ a b Police: Probe corroborates settler hikers’ version of clash with Palestinians, Times of Israel, 20 December 2017
  35. ^ a b Police: No evidence to charge father in Qusra shooting, YNET, 20 December 2017
  36. ^ a b Palestinian charged with attempted murder for attacking Jewish hikers near Qusra, YNET, 18 December 2017
  37. ^ a b Clashes as Extremist Jews March in West Bank Village; Palestinian Reportedly Shot
  38. ^ Israeli Hikers Attacked by Palestinians in West Bank; Jewish Settler Shoots Dead Palestinian Man, Jack Khoury, Yotam Berger and Yaniv Kubovich, November 30, 2017, Haaretz
  39. ^ Israeli Who Shot Palestinian Near West Bank Village Suspected of Negligent Homicide, Yotam Berger and Jack Khoury December 1, 2017, Haaretz
  40. ^ a b Ben Kimon, Elisha (December 7, 2017). "Preliminary police conclusions rule Qusra shooting self defense". Ynetnews. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  41. ^ Qusra shooting suspect presents IDF authorization request, YNET, 3 December 2017
  42. ^ 20 Palestinians arrested in connection with Qusra attack, YNET, 7 December 2017


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