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Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic قُصرة
Qusra is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Qusra within the Palestinian territories
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 grid 181/165
 • Type Village council
 • Head of Municipality Abdulalzeem Wadi[1]
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 4,377
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]

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords of 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Qusra is located in Area "C" under full Israeli civil and security control.[4] The Israeli outpost settlement of Esh Kodesh (founded 1999) is located near the village of Qusra.


Ottoman era[edit]

According to Finkelstein et al., Qusra has never been surveyed. They estimated early Ottoman remains based on Hütteroth and Abdulfattah.[5]

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 inhabitants of the village paid taxes on wheat, barley, summer crops, olive trees, goats and/or beehives.[6]

In 1838 Qusra (spelled Kausara) was classified as a Muslim village in the subdistrict of el-Beitawi.[7] 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.[8]

In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) noted that: "West of the village are foundations, and heaps of stones."[9] SWP also described the village (called Kusrah) as: "A village of middling size, on low ground, with olive-trees."[10] 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.[11]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Qusra had a population of 707, all Muslims,[12] increasing in the 1931 census to 851, still all Muslim, in 213 occupied houses.[13] In 1945 Qusra had a population of 1,120, all Muslim,[14] with 8,938 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[15] Of this, 2,763 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 3,091 used for cereals,[16] while 69 dunams were built-up land.[17]


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


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

On 24 December 2014, Israeli forces destroyed with bulldozers over 400 square metres of the village's traditional stone walls close to the Israeli settlement of Migdalim.[18]

September 2011 incidents[edit]

""Mo is a pig", Israeli settler graffiti on the al-Nurayn Mosque of Qusra, 2011

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.[19] They smashed windows, rolled burning tires inside, and wrote "Muhammad is a pig" in Hebrew on its wall.[4] 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.[19] According to Agence France Press, the graffiti also included a Star of David, and the name “Migron”.[20] The attack, not the first of its kind,[21] 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.[4]

The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack and called on the Middle East Quartet to get involved.[19] 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.[22] 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."[19] 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”.[22]

Qusra lies outside the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and depends on the Israeli military for protection, and the its residents have no weapons.[23] 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.[24]

On 23 September 2011, a group of about a dozen settlers from a nearby outpost approached Qusra,[25] 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.[26] 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.[1] 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.[26]

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.[27]


  1. ^ a b Pfeffer, Anshel & Levinson, Chaim (September 23, 2011). "Report: Palestinian killed in West Bank clashes with Israeli forces". Haaretz. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  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. ^ a b c "Villagers v settlers". The Economist. September 24, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  5. ^ Finkelstein and Lederman, eds., 1997, pp. 763-786
  6. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 135.
  7. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3. p. 128
  8. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 13 ff
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 402
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 386.
  11. ^ Macalister and Masterman, 1905, p. 356
  12. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Nablus, p. 25
  13. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 64.
  14. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 19
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 60
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 107
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 157
  18. ^ 'Israeli forces destroy stone walls in Nablus village,' Ma'an News Agency 24 December 2014.
  19. ^ a b c d "EU's Ashton: Settler attack on West Bank mosque undermines Mideast peace". Haaretz. September 6, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  20. ^ "West Bank mosque torched as police dismantle outpost". AFP. September 5, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  21. ^ Kershner, Isabel (June 7, 2011). "Arsonists Damage and Deface Mosque in West Bank Village". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Mozgovaya, Natasha (September 10, 2011). "U.S. State Department condemns 'dangerous' settler attacks on West Bank mosques". Haaretz. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  23. ^ Bronner, Ethan (September 23, 2011). "Amid Statehood Bid, Tensions Simmer in West Bank". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  24. ^ Perry, Tom (September 15, 2011). "Settler attacks raise West Bank tension ahead of U.N.". Reuters. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  25. ^ 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. 
  26. ^ a b Sherwood, Harriet & Greenwood, Phoebe (September 23, 2011). "Palestinian man shot dead in clash with Israeli soldiers". The Guardian. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  27. ^ Greenberg, Joel (September 28, 2011). "Palestinian statehood bid stokes tensions in West Bank". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 


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