Sanur, Jenin

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Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic صانور
Sanur, around 1908
Sanur, around 1908
Sanur is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Sanur within Palestine
Coordinates: 32°21′23″N 35°14′49″E / 32.35639°N 35.24694°E / 32.35639; 35.24694Coordinates: 32°21′23″N 35°14′49″E / 32.35639°N 35.24694°E / 32.35639; 35.24694
Palestine grid 173/195
Governorate Jenin
 • Type Village council
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 4,067
Name meaning Sanur, personal name[1]

Sanur (Arabic: صانور‎) is a Palestinian town located 26 kilometres (16 mi) southwest of Jenin, in the Jenin Governorate. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Sanur had a population of 4,067 in 2007.[2]

Historically, during the late Ottoman era, Sanur served as a fortified village of the Jarrar clan and played a key role in limiting the power of the Ottoman sultanate, the Ottoman governors of Damascus and Acre and the Ottoman-aligned Tuqan clan of Nablus from exerting direct authority over the region of Jabal Nablus (modern-day northern West Bank).[3]


Ceramics from the late Roman and the Byzantine era have been found. An old cistern is found by the mosque. Cisterns are also carved into rock on the steep slopes, as are tombs.[4]

Ottoman era[edit]

Sanur, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in 1596 it appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the nahiya of Jabal Sami in the liwa of Nablus. It had a population of 23 households and 5 bachelors, all Muslim. Taxes were paid on wheat, barley, summer crops, olive trees, occasional revenues, goats and/or beehives.[5]

Sanur was founded by a branch of the Jarrar clan that migrated to the site from Jaba', during the Ottoman era.[6] They built a formidable fortress in the village, which guarded access to Nablus from the north.[7] Sanur served as the Jarrar clan's throne village,[8] from where they administered many of the villages in the region of Jenin, including Lajjun, the Marj Ibn Amer and Nazareth. The fortress, along with their large peasant militia, solidified the Jarrar clan's military strength.[7]

In the mid and late 18th century, Zahir al-Umar emerged as an autonomous ruler in the Galilee and became the ruler of the coastal town of Acre, which he fortified. From Acre, Zahir extended his control southward into Jarrar territory. The Jarrars entered into a coalition with the Beni Sakhr tribe, but failed to prevent Zahir from taking over Nazareth and Marj ibn Amer in 1735. Zahir pursued the Jarrar clan's forces into Jabal Nablus but once he reached Sanur, he realized he would not be able to overcome its fortress. The Jarrars' successful resistance against Zahir rendered the region of Jabal Nablus to be largely outside Zahir's control.[9] Sanur marked the limit of Zahir's influence and continued to limit the control of successive rulers of Acre.[10] In 1764, the Ottoman governor of Damascus, Uthman Pasha al-Kurji, attempted to subdue Sanur, and battled the Jarrar clan under the leadership of Muhammad al-Jarrar in Jabal Nablus.[11]

In 1790, the governor of Acre, Sidon and Damascus, Jezzar Pasha, laid siege to Sanur after its leader Yusuf al-Jarrar, refused to submit to Jezzar's authority. Although the fortress at Sanur was heavily bombarded, it withstood the siege for over fifty days until Jezzar's forces withdrew after an attempt to mine the fort ended up destroying much of Jezzar's own camp instead. Jezzar again tried to subdue Sanur in 1803, but this attempt also failed.[10] Historian Beshara Doumani dates Jezzar's second siege to 1795.[12]

In 1830, Abdullah Pasha of Acre attempted to assert his control over the rural landlords of Jabal Nablus, which was apportioned to his governorship by the Ottoman governor of Damascus that year because of the inability to collect taxes from the ruling clans. When some of the rural landlords, led by the Jarrar and Qasim clans, revolted against Abdullah's appointment, he laid siege to Sanur with the help of reinforcements sent by Emir Chehab of Mount Lebanon.[12] The siege lasted four months. After multiple assaults against the village's fortress, three artillery batteries positioned west of the village managed to blast an opening into the fortress. As retaliation for the casualties inflicted on Abdullah's men during the siege, he had the fortress's walls and towers torn down.[13] The power of the Jarrar clan was severely damaged by the loss of the fortress.[12] In 1840, the village was bombarded by the forces of Ibrahim Pasha.[14]

The area of the Jarrar's control was a subdistrict (nahiya) known as Mashariq al-Jarrar, which included 28 villages in 1850.[15] In 1870, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village. He wrote that "it seems to have been predestined to serve as the site of a stronghold. A walled enclosure, flanked by towers, formerly surmounted the summit; it is now in part over the town. A great number of houses are also demolished or partly rebuilt. That of the Sheikh, which I visited, is like a small fort".[16]

In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Sanur as a small fortified village, with about 200 to 300 souls. It was still the headquarters of one branch of the Jarrar clan,[14] the other still being in Jaba'.[17]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Sanur had a population of 682, all Muslims.[18] This had increased in the 1931 census to 759, still all Muslim, in 154 houses.[19]

During the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, the chief commander of the revolt, Abd al-Rahim al-Hajj Muhammad, was killed in Sanur in a shootout with British troops and their local allies who were pursuing him. He was temporarily buried in the village before his body was relocated to Dhinnaba.[20]

Sanur's land area in 1945 consisted of 12,897 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[21] 2,370 dunams were used for plantations and irrigable land, 7,259 dunams for cereals,[22] while 21 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[23]


In 1945 the population of Sanur (including Nukheil) was 1,020.[21] In the 1961 Jordanian census, Sanur had 1,471 inhabitants.[24]

Palestinian refugees accounted for 20% of Sanur's inhabitants in the 1997 census.[25] Sanur's population in 2007 was 4,067 according to the PCBS census. There were 698 households, consisting of an average of 5-6 members per household.[2]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 190
  2. ^ a b "Table 26 (Cont.): Localities in the West Bank by Selected Indicators, 2007" (PDF) (in Arabic). Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. 2007. p. 106. 
  3. ^ Doumani, 1995, p. 234
  4. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 758.
  5. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 128.
  6. ^ Macalister and Masterman, 1905, p. 356.
  7. ^ a b Doumani, 1995, p. 37
  8. ^ Rustum, 1938, p. 75.
  9. ^ Philipp, 2001, p. 33
  10. ^ a b Philipp, 2001, p. 19
  11. ^ Zertal, 2004, p. 240
  12. ^ a b c Doumani, 1995, pp. 43-4
  13. ^ Zertal, 2004, pp. 239–240.
  14. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 157-158.
  15. ^ Doumani, 1995, p. 48
  16. ^ Guérin, 1874, pp. 344–350 (in French); as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 158
  17. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 156.
  18. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Jenin, p. 29
  19. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 71
  20. ^ Nimr, LeVine, 2012, p. 154.
  21. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 55
  22. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 99
  23. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 149
  24. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics First Census of Population and Housing, 18th November 1961. Department of Statistics Press, Amman.
  25. ^ Palestinian Population by Locality and Refugee Status at the Wayback Machine (archived February 7, 2012). 1997 Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). 1999.


External links[edit]