|• Also spelled||Senjel (official)
|Governorate||Ramallah & al-Bireh|
|• Head of Municipality||Imad al-Din Masalmeh|
|Name meaning||Saint Gilles|
Sinjil (Arabic: سنجل) is a Palestinian town 21 kilometers (13 mi) northeast of Ramallah in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate in the central West Bank. The village is bordered by Turmus Ayya and the Israeli settlement of Shilo.
The village is thought to have taken its name from the Crusader town of St. Gilles, being the home town of French Count Raymond VI of Toulouse  who camped here on the first crusade, before entering Jerusalem. The same man later built a castle in Sinjil to protect the passage of passing caravans.
Doubt over the Crusader origin of the name was raised by historian Levy-Rubin. A Samaritan chronicle, (ostensibly by Abu l-Fath), written in the 14th century but based on much older sources, twice refers to a location Sinḥil in the 8th or 9th century. The Arab geographer Zakariya al-Qazwini in his Athar al-bilad cited a 10th-century mention of Sinḥil, though this cannot be verified from extant manuscripts. Levy-Rubin proposes that Sinḥil was the original name of Sinjil, and that the Crusaders' association of the place with St Gilles was prompted by the Arab name rather than the reverse.
Crusader church (present mosque)
Only thirty years later, in 1175, the Parish Church and tithes were sold back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as the distance (from Mount Tabor) and expenses were too high. A month later the sale was confirmed by Baldwin, lord of Sinjil.
In 1517 the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine. In 1596 it appeared in the tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Quds of the Liwa of Quds. It had a population of 55 households, all Muslim, and paid taxes on wheat, barley, vineyards, fruit trees, goats and beehives. The Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi visited Sinjil about 1650. He described it as a village of 200 houses in the district of Jerusalem, populated by rebellious Muslims.
During the early 19th century, Sinjil was a village of 206 taxable men, roughly 800 people. One-eighth of the population were conscripted into the Ottoman army, but were still taxed for 800 people.
French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village in 1870, and described it as "quite crowded", with an estimated 1200 villagers. The village had two abundant springs, with a reservoir connected to the largest. Guérin further noted; On the summit of the hill are observed the foundations of two strongholds, built of great blocks, evidently ancient, one of which is called the Kasr ("Fort"), and the other the Keniseh ("Church"). The latter is  built east and west, and may have been a church. On the lower flanks of the hill I found several ancient tombs cut in the rock. One of the largest, preceded by a vestibule, contains two loculi. An Ottoman village list of about the same year, 1870, showed that "Sindschil" had 161 houses and a population of 513, though the population count included only men.
In the 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Sinjil as being of moderate size, with several houses of two storeys, on a hill side with fine fig gardens below.
The village mosque is laid out on the lines of the Frankish Crusader church. Other historical sites in the town include a well for Joseph and a holy site for Jacob. The shrine of a holy man, Abu Ouf, is also there. Abu Ouf is from the time period of the Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab.
British Mandate era
In a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Sinjil (called: Senjel) had an entirely Muslim population of 934, while in the 1931 census, the village had 266 occupied houses and a population of 1071, still all Muslims. In 1945 the population was 1,320 while the total land area was 14,186 dunams, according to an official land and population survey. Of this, 4,169 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 4,213 for cereals, while 47 dunams were classified as built-up areas.
Since 2002, according to Amira Hass, Jewish settlers have hampered villagers' access to their traditional lands. In 2009, the Red Cross has helped the villagers to overcome the red-tape that blocks their return to their farms. An agreement was reached to allow them to access some of the land, some 100 hectrares, in July 2012. Given problems with the nearby settlers, the villagers had to coordinate with the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli forces to have an escort. In January 2012, the United States Agency for International Development financed road work and renovations of the Abu Bakr as-Saddeeq boy's school in Sinjil.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of approximately 5,236 in 2007. The gender makeup consisted of 2,668 males and 2,568 females. There were 1,029 housing units and the average household size was 5.4.
- Palmer, 1881, p. 245
- Dever, William G (1975). "MB IIA Cemeteries At 'Ain es-Sâmiyeh and Sinjil". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (217): 23–36.
- Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 292
- Conder, 1877, p. 88, quoting Fetellus, ca 1180 AD, p.35
- The village of Sinjel This Week In Palestine
- Levy-Rubin, Milka (2002). The Continuo of the Samaritan Chronicle of Abū L-Fatḥ Al-Sāmirī Al-Danafī. Princeton, NY: The Darwin Press. pp. 71–72.
- le Strange, 1890, p. 538
- Ellenblum, 2003, pp. 106-107
- Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 59, No. 234
- Pringle, 1998, pp. 329-332
- de Roziére, 1849, pp. 257 -8, No. 141, cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, pp. 141 -142, Nos. 529, 530
- Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 142, No. 531
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 114
- Stephan, 1939, p. 144
- Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, pp. 82 -83
- Guérin, 1875, pp. 34-35
- Guérin, 1875, pp. 34-35, 166, as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1882, p. 370
- Socin, 1879, p. 161
- Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-District of Ramallah, p. 17
- Mills, 1932, p. 50.
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 65
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 113
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 163
- 'Otherwise Occupied / Caught between Price Tag and red tape,' Haaretz, August 6, 2012
- Remarks by the Consul-General Rubinstein
- 2007 PCBS Census. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p. 112
- Aziz Shihab, Does the Land Remember Me?: A Memoir of Palestine, Syracuse University Press, 2007 p.
- Wail S. Hassan, Immigrant Narratives: Orientalism and Cultural Translation in Arab American and Arab British Literature, Oxford University Press, 2011 p.116.
- Deborah Brown, Annie Finch, Maxine Kumin (eds.) Title Lofty dogmas: poets on poetics,University of Arkansas Press, p.393.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sinjil.|
- Barron, J.B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922 (PDF). Government of Palestine.
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, H.H. (1882). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology 2. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Ellenblum, Ronnie (2003). Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521521871.
- Finkelstein, Israel; Lederman, Zvi, eds. (1997). Highlands of many cultures. Tel Aviv: Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University Publications Section. ISBN 965-440-007-3. (p. 633)
- Fetellus (circa 1130 A.D) (1896) Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society
- Guérin, Victor (1875). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 2: Samarie, pt. 2. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Hadawi, Sami (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. ISBN 3-920405-41-2.
- Mills, E, ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas (PDF). Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Palmer, E.H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists Collected During the Survey by Lieutenants Conder and Kitchener, R. E. Transliterated and Explained by E.H. Palmer. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Pringle, Denys (1997). Secular buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: an archaeological Gazetter. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521-46010-7. p. 95
- Pringle, Denys (1998). The Churches of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. II L–Z (exluding Tyre). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-39037-0.
- QSPEF April 1877, Volume: 9-10;
- Robinson, Edward; Smith, Eli (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838 3. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.
- Röhricht, Reinhold (1893). (RRH) Regesta regni Hierosolymitani (MXCVII-MCCXCI) (in Latin). Berlin: Libraria Academica Wageriana.
- de Roziére, ed. (1849). Cartulaire de l'église du Saint Sépulchre de Jérusalem: publié d'après les manuscrits du Vatican (in Latin and French). Paris: Imprimerie nationale.
- Socin, A (1879). "Alphabetisches Verzeichniss von Ortschaften des Paschalik Jerusalem". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 2: 135–163.
- Stephan, S.H. (1939). "Evliya Tshelebi's Travels in Palestine (1648-1650), part 5". The Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine 8: 137–156.
- le Strange, Guy (1890). Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Welcome to Sinjil
- Survey of Western Palestine, Map 14: IAA, Wikimedia commons
- Sinjil Town (Fact Sheet)
- Sinjil Town Profile, ARIJ
- Sinjil Areal Photo, ARIJ
- Chopping 51 Olive Trees in Sinjil – Ramallah Governorate 25, June, 2011, ARIJ
- Plowing in Sinjil