Beit Hanina

Infobox Palestinian Authority muni
name=Beit Hanina

caption=Western Beit Hanina
arname=بيت حنينا
meaning="House of Hanina"
longd=35 |longm=13|longs=38.72|longEW=E
population=1,000 (al-Balad) 3,000 (al-Jadid) [ Beit Hanina Community Center ] ]

Beit Hanina ( _ar. بيت حنينا, _he. בית חנינא) is a Palestinian town located 4.5 miles (6 kilometers) to the north of Jerusalem, on the road to Ramallah. It is bordered by Hizma to the east, Shuafat and Lifta to the south, Beit Iksa and Nabi Samwil to the west, and Bir Nabala, Aljeeb, Kafr Aqab and al-Ram to the north. The total area of Beit Hanina is 20 sq. kilometers (approximately 9 sq. miles). [ Beit Hanina Community Center] ] The old village, "al-Balad", is part of the Ramallah district and governed by the Palestinian National Authority.cite web|title=Lands of Beit Hanina (Al-Balad) village threatened by the Israeli Segregation Wall|publisher=ARIJ (Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem|date=2006-08-08|accessdate=2007-07-13|url=] The new village, "al-Jadid", is within the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality, although residents may vote in PNA elections. In 2006, Beit Hanina had a combined population of 4,000 and a land area of 16,284 dunams, of which 2,775 are built up.

The College of Daawa and Religious Principles was established in Beit Hanina in 1978. [ :: Al-Quds University :: The Arab University in Jerusalem :: General Information :: ] ] A branch of al-Quds University is also located there. There are four mosques in Beit Hanina: Sultan Ibrahim Ibn Adham Mosque, Bader Mosque, Mosque of Religion College, and Mosque of Teacher's Suburb.


Literally, Beit Hanina means "House of Hanina," suggesting that it is named after a person, possibly a woman. Some scholars say that "Hanina" is derived from the Assyrian "Han-nina" which means the one that deserves pity ("hanan"). It could also be derived from the word "hana" meaning "camped." [Dabbag, M.M, "Our Nativeland Palestine" ] According to the 19th century French traveler V. Guerin, author of "Description de La Jude'e", Beit Hanina is the biblical Anania. Edward Robinson concurred, but W.F. Albright maintained that Anania is the village of al-Eizariya in East Jerusalem. [ About Beit Hanina] Official Website Beit Hanina Community Center; Mohamed Shaker Sifadden]


Beit Hanina may date back to the Canaanite period. In 636, Beit Hanina was annexed by the Islamic Caliphate led by Umar Ibn al-Khattab as a result of a decisive Muslim victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Yarmouk. In the early centuries of Islamic rule over Palestine, Yemenite and Qaisi Arabs migrated to Beit Hanina. The economy was agricultural, based primarily on olives, figs, barley and bulgar.

In 1099, Crusader armies captured Jerusalem, including Beit Hanina, inflicting heavy casualties on the Muslim population and causing most of the residents to flee. They later returned to cultivate their orchards and grain fields. The town was recaptured by the Ayyubid Dynasty led by Salah ad-Din. To ensure a Muslim majority and protect it from a renewed Crusader invasion, Salah ad-Din brought powerful Bedouin tribes from the Naqab (Negev) desert and the northern Hejaz to settle in the area. Under Ottoman control, the town declined, suffering from generations of illiteracy, poverty and high taxes. The town remained under Turkish rule until defeat of the Ottoman Turks in World War I.

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Beit Hanina was captured by Jordanian forces, along with the rest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and became a part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan until 1967. Under Jordanian rule, new roads and schools were built, and many of the town's émigrés invested in the development of a modern suburb, then known as Ras al-Tariq, located to the east along the Jerusalem-Ramallah highway.

After Jordan's offensive against Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, the Israelis occupied the West Bank, along with Beit Hanina, and thousands of Beit Hanina residents migrated to the United States. Immediately after the war, Israel unilaterally expanded the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include the eastern section of Beit Hanina, now known as Beit Hanina al-Jadid, and formalized that policy in 1980.

In the wake of the Second Intifada, Israel began to build the Israeli West Bank barrier, which separated Beit Hanina from the West Bank for security reasons. Due to its urban nature, the route near the town is part of the 10% which employs a concrete wall. The area has sometimes been the scene of clashes between the Israeli security forces and Palestinian militant factions.


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