Kifl Haris
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Kifl Haris
Kifl Haris
Arabic transcription(s)
 o Arabic ?
 o LatinKifl Hares (official)
Kefl Harith (unofficial)
View of Kifl Hares, 2011
View of Kifl Hares, 2011
Kifl Haris is located in the Palestinian territories
Kifl Haris
Kifl Haris
Location of Kifl Haris within Palestine
Coordinates: 32°07?07?N 35°09?25?E / 32.11861°N 35.15694°E / 32.11861; 35.15694Coordinates: 32°07?07?N 35°09?25?E / 32.11861°N 35.15694°E / 32.11861; 35.15694
Palestine grid165/169
StateState of Palestine
 o TypeVillage council
 o Head of MunicipalityAhmad Buziah[1]
 o Total3,248
Name meaning"The village of the guard"[3]

Kifl Haris (Arabic: ?‎) is a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, located six kilometers west of Salfit and 18 kilometers south of Nablus in the Salfit Governorate, northwest of the Israeli settlement city Ariel.


Sherds from the Middle Bronze Age, Iron Age II, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine/Umayyad, Crusader/Ayyubid and Mamluk eras have been found here.[4]

Ottoman era

In 1517, the village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire with the rest of Palestine, and in 1596, Kafr Harit appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in nahiya (subdistrict) of Jabal Qubal, part of the Sanjak of Nablus. It had a population of 54 households, all Muslim. They paid taxes on occasional revenues, goats and/or beehives, and a fixed amount; a total of 22,500 akçe.[5] Sherds from the early Ottoman era have also been found here.[4]

In 1838, Edward Robinson noted it as a village, Kefr Harith, in the Jurat Merda district, south of Nablus.[6]

In 1870 Victor Guérin reached the village, after walking through "beautiful plantations of figs and olives". He estimated it had 600 inhabitants.[7] The name of this place was given to Guérin as Kefil Haris. The Wely marked on the Palestine Exploration Fund 1880s map as Sheikh Ata, 1 mile north-east of Kefr Haris, is called by him Sheikh Khather. He also calls attention to the remains of an old watchtower built of large, well-cut stones, between Deir Estia and Kefr Haris. At the latter place he found two broken marble columns built up in the wall of the mosque.[8]

In 1882, PEF's Survey of Western Palestine described Kifl Haris as a "somewhat small village on high ground, with olive groves to the east. It has three sacred places, Neby Kifl, Neby Nun, and Neby Lusha."[9]

British Mandate of Palestine era

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Kufr Hares had a population of 373, all Muslim,[10] increasing in the 1931 census to 562 persons, still all Muslim, in 130 houses.[11]

In the 1945 statistics the population was 770 Muslims[12] while the total land area was 9,393 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[13] Of this, 4,117 were allocated for plantations and irrigable land, 2,131 for cereals,[14] while 32 dunams were classified as built-up areas.[15]

Jordanian era

In the wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Kifl Haris came under Jordanian rule.

In 1961, the population was 1,341.[16]


Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Kifl Haris has been under Israeli occupation.[17] Visits by Jewish pilgrims to Kifl Hares are coordinated by the Israeli military.

Tomb of Joshua

Tomb of Joshua

According to a Samaritan tradition, noted in 1877, the tombs of Joshua and Caleb were in Kifl Haris.[18]

Biblical tradition places the tomb of Joshua, Caleb, and Nun according to Joshua 24:30 in Timnath-heres which is attributed to be the current location of Kifl Haris. Thousands make the pilgrimage to the tombs on the annual commemoration of Joshua's death, 26th of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar.[19]

Israeli Palestinian conflict

According to the United Nations OCHA, three local residents were killed during the First Intifada and one during the Second Intifada.[20]

42% of the village land is classified as Area B land, while the remainder 58% is Area C. Israel has confiscated 361 dunams of land from Kifl Haris in order to establish the Israeli settlement of Ariel.[21]

On 14 March 2013,[22]Adele Biton was critically injured (later dying from her injuries), and her mother and two sisters were moderately injured, after their car crashed after Palestinians threw stones their way near the village.[23][24] Five youths from Kifl Haris were charged by a military court for responsibility for the incident, and as of February 2015 the case has not yet been concluded.[23]

In June 2014, Jamil Ali Abed Jabir died during a night raid by the Israeli army. Locals say he suffered a heart attack while defending his home. According to an Israeli army spokesman, his house wasn't raided.[25]

In 2015, an Israeli tour of the site was preceded by a convoy of military vehicles which closed off the town entrances and imposed a shutdown of all the village shops so Israeli tourists could visit the tomb for several hours.[26]


  1. ^ Municipalities Archived 2007-02-21 at the Wayback Machine Nablus Municipality
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Archived 2010-12-10 at the Wayback Machine Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p. 112.
  3. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 230
  4. ^ a b Finkelstein et al, 1997, p. 460
  5. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 131
  6. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 127
  7. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 161
  8. ^ Guérin, 1875, p. 161, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 324
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 284-285
  10. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Nablus, p. 25
  11. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 61.
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 18
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 60
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 107
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 157
  16. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 26
  17. ^ Al Monitor 'War of the shrines' stirs tension between Palestinians, Israelis, al Monitor,
  18. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, p. 218 - 219
  19. ^ "Jews Barred from Visiting Tomb of Biblical Joshua".
  20. ^ "Kifl Hares village Profile" (PDF).
  21. ^ Kifl Haris Town Profile, ARIJ, p. 17
  22. ^ "Hundreds attend funeral for 4-year-old terror victim Adele Biton". Ynet.
  23. ^ a b "Toddler dies two years after stone-throwing incident left her critically injured". Haaretz. 17 February 2015.
  24. ^ "Israeli Girl Injured in Palestinian Rock-Throwing Attack in 2013 Dies". New York Times. 17 February 2013.
  25. ^ "Israel rejects responsibility for elderly Palestinian's death". Ma'an News. 22 June 2014.
  26. ^ 'Hundreds of Israelis visit West Bank tomb under armed guard,' Ma'an News Agency 27 February 2015.


External links

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