Yatta, Hebron

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This article is about the city of Yatta. For the pop song, see Yatta (song).
Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic يطّا
 • Also spelled Yattah (official)
Mosque in Yatta
Mosque in Yatta
Official logo of Yatta[1]
Municipal Seal of Yatta
Yatta[1] is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Yatta[1] within the Palestinian Territories
Coordinates: 31°26′52.00″N 35°05′24.00″E / 31.4477778°N 35.0900000°E / 31.4477778; 35.0900000Coordinates: 31°26′52.00″N 35°05′24.00″E / 31.4477778°N 35.0900000°E / 31.4477778; 35.0900000
Palestine grid 163/94
Governorate Hebron
 • Type City
 • Head of Municipality Khalil Younis
 • Jurisdiction 133,080 dunams (133.0 km2 or 51.4 sq mi)
Population (2016)
 • Jurisdiction 64,277
Website www.yatta-munc.org

Yatta or Yattah (Arabic: يطّا‎) is a Palestinian city located in the Hebron Governorate in the West Bank on a high approximately 8 km south of the city of Hebron in the West Bank.[2] According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics it had a population of 64,277in 2016.[3]


Located on a large, ancient hilltop,[4] Yatta has been identified with the site of the Biblical town of Juttah.[5] In 1931, a Jewish burial complex dating to the 2nd century AD was found in the town .[6] Eusebius (4th century) wrote that Yatta was "a very large village of Jews eighteen miles south of Beit Guvrin."[6] Some Palestinian residents of the town believe they originate from the Jewish kingdom of Khaybar in the south-western Arabian peninsula and are descended from the Jewish tribes of Arabia.[7] Research by Yitzhak Ben Zvi in 1928 also suggested that three out of the six extended families in Yatta belonged to the "Mehamra" group and possibly descended from an Jewish Arab tribe.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

Yatta, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the census of 1596 the village appeared to be in the Nahiya of Halil of the Liwa of Quds. It had a population of 127 families, all Muslim, and paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, goats and bee-hives.[8]

In 1838, Edward Robinson passed by, and noted that Yatta had the "appearance of a large modern Mohammedan town, on low eminence, with trees around."[9]

In July 1863 Victor Guérin visited Youttha. He described it as a village of 2000 inhabitants, but at least half were living in tents, scattered in the all over, partly to finish the harvest, partly to avoid the military recruiters active in the area.[10] In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Yatta as being a "large village standing high on a ridge. It is largely built of stone. The water supply is from cisterns. On the south there are rock-cut tombs, and rock wine-presses are found all round the village. The neighborhood is extremely stony; south of the village are scattered olives, which are conspicuous objects; on the west, a little lower under a cliff, is a small olive yard in which the camp of the Survey party was pitched in 1874; to the south-west of camp were a few figs. The inhabitants are very rich in flocks; the village owned, it was said, 17,000 sheep, beside goats, cows, camels, horses, and donkeys. The Sheikh alone had 250 sheep.[11] South of the village are several tombs; one has a shallow semicircular arch cut above a small square entrance. West of the village and of el Muturrif is a very fine rock-cut wine-press. A second occurs north of the village."[12]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Yatta had a population 3,179; all Muslims,[13] increasing in the 1931 census to 4,034, still all Muslims.[14]

In 1945 the population of Yatta was 5,260, all Arabs, and the land area was 174,172 dunams according to an official land and population survey.[15] 3,254 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 67,498 used for cereals,[16] while 216 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[17]


In the wake of the 1948 War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Yatta came under TransJordanian rule, having been occupied by the Transjordan military. The area was annexed to the newly renamed Jordan in 1950.


Elderly men in Yatta, 2012

During the 1967 war, Israel captured Yatta from Jordan, along with the rest of the West Bank.

At least seven Palestinians were killed in Yatta during the Second Intifada in different incidents from 2002-04.[18] On March 8, 2012 Israeli soldiers shot dead 20-year-old Zakariya Abu Eram and injured two others during an raid in the town with the intent of arresting Abu Eram's uncle. The Israeli's claimed they fired at the men only after one of them stabbed a soldier during the arrest attempt, but no Jewish soldiers were stabbed. No facts as to why all seven Palestinians were killed. [19]


A Jillayeh dress from Yatta from around 1910 is part of the Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) at Museum of New Mexico at Santa Fe.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 415
  2. ^ Columbia Encyclopedia: Juttah
  3. ^ 'Localities in Hebron Governorate by Type of Locality and Population Estimates, 2007-2016 ,' Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2016.
  4. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 966
  5. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, p. 190
  6. ^ a b c Ḥevrah la-haganat ha-ṭevaʻ (1990), Israel - land and nature, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, p. 83, retrieved 6 June 2011 
  7. ^ A tragic misunderstanding, The Sunday Times, January 13, 2009.
  8. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 123
  9. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, p. 628
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 205-6
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 310
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 380.
  13. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Hebron, p. 10
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 34
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 50
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 94
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 144
  18. ^ Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in the Occupied Territories B'Tselem
  19. ^ Palestinian shot dead in West Bank. Al Jazeera English. 2012-03-08.
  20. ^ Stillman, 1979, pp. 59 - 60


External links[edit]