Open main menu

Jabalia also Jabalya (Arabic: جباليا‎) is a Palestinian city located 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) north of Gaza City. It is under the jurisdiction of the North Gaza Governorate, in the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Jabalia had a population of 82,877 in mid‑2006.[2] The Jabalia refugee camp is adjacent to the city to the north. The nearby town of Nazla is a part of the Jabalia municipality. The city is currently ruled by a Hamas administration.

Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabicجباليا
 • LatinJabalya (official)
Jabalia is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Jabalia within Palestine
Coordinates: 31°31′41″N 34°28′59″E / 31.52806°N 34.48306°E / 31.52806; 34.48306Coordinates: 31°31′41″N 34°28′59″E / 31.52806°N 34.48306°E / 31.52806; 34.48306
Palestine grid100/103
StateState of Palestine
GovernorateNorth Gaza
 • TypeCity
 • Total82,877
Name meaning"The mountaineers"[1]


A large cemetery dating to the 8th century CE was found near Jabalia. The workmanship indicates that the Christian community in Gaza was still very much in existence in the early Islamic era of rule in Palestine, and capable of artistic achievements. The remains of the pavement spared by the iconoclasts show depictions of wild game, birds, and country scenes. The late dating of the mosaic pavement proves that the intervention of the iconoclasts, after 750, is later than previously thought and is associated with Abbasid conservatives.[3]

While working on the Salah al-Din Road, laborers accidentally uncovered a monastery from the Byzantine period. The site was excavated by the Palestinian Department of Antiquities. Now the stunning Byzantine mosaics of the monastery are covered with sand to shield them from erosion caused by the direct impact of the winter rain.[4] Byzantine ceramics have also been found.[5]


Jabalia was known for its fertile soil and citrus trees. The Mamluk Governor of Gaza Sanjar al-Jawli ruled the area in the early 14th-century and endowed part of Jabalia's land to the al‑Shamah Mosque he built in Gaza. In Jabalia is the medieval Omeri Mosque. No structures from the ancient part of the mosque remain, except the portico and minaret. The rest of the mosque is of modern construction. The portico consists of three arcades supported by four stone columns. The arcades have pointed arches and the portico is covered by crossing vaults.[6]

Ottoman periodEdit

Incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with all of Palestine, Jabalia appeared in the 1596 tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Gaza of the Liwa of Gazza. It had a population of 331 households, all Muslim, who paid taxes on wheat, barley, vine yards and fruit trees; a total of 37,640 akçe. 2/3 of the revenue went to a waqf.[7]

In 1838, Edward Robinson noted Jebalia as a Muslim village, located in the Gaza district.[8]

In 1863, the French explorer Victor Guérin found in the mosque fragments of old constructions, and at the well some broken columns.[9] An Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that the village had a population of 828, in a total of 254 houses, though the population count included men, only.[10][11]

In the Palestine Exploration Fund's 1883 Survey of Western Palestine, Jabalia was described as being a large adobe village, with gardens and a well on the north-west. It had a mosque named Jamia Abu Berjas.[12]

British Mandate eraEdit

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Jabalia had a population of 1,775 inhabitants, all Muslim,[13] increasing in the 1931 census to 2,425, still all Muslims, in 631 houses.[14]

Jabalia 1931 1:20,000
Jabalia 1945 1:250,000

In the 1945 statistics, Jabalia had a population of 3,520, all Muslims,[15] with 11,497 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[16] Of this, 138 dunams were for citrus and bananas, 1,009 for plantations and irrigable land, 1,036 for cereals,[17] while 101 dunams were built-up land.[18]


In late 2006, Jabalia was the scene of mass protests against airstrikes on militants' homes. Israel contacted the residences of several Hamas members who launched missiles at Israeli civilians from the houses, warning them of an airstrike within the next 30 minutes. Neighbors responded by forming a human shield and successfully stalled the demolition.[19]


Jabalia has an above-average rate of male pseudohermaphrodite births. Jehad Abudaia, a Canadian-Palestinian pediatrician and urologist, has suggested that consanguinity due to cousin marriages accounts for the prevalence of pseudohermaphrodite births. In the Gaza Strip, pseudohermaphrodite conditions often go undetected for years after birth due to the region's lower standards of medical treatment and diagnostics.[20]

International relationsEdit


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 360
  2. ^ Projected Mid-Year Population for Gaza Governorate by Locality 2004-2006 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
  3. ^ Humbert, Jean-Baptiste. The rivers of Paradise in the Byzantine Church near Jabaliyah - Gaza Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem. 16 December 2000.
  4. ^ Jabalya Mosaic Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. p.6. 2004.
  5. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 883
  6. ^ Travel in Gaza Archived 2013-08-23 at the Wayback Machine MidEastTravelling.
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 144
  8. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 118
  9. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 175-176; as referred by Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 251
  10. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 153
  11. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 129, noted 253 houses
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 236
  13. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 4
  15. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 31
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 45
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 87
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 137
  19. ^ Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv (2006-11-20). "Palestinians use human shield to halt Israeli air strike on militants' homes | World news". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
  20. ^ Watson, Ivan. "Rare Gender Identity Defect Hits Gaza Families." CNN. December 17, 2009. Retrieved on December 17, 2009.
  21. ^ "Groningen - Partner Cities". © 2008 Gemeente Groningen, Kreupelstraat 1,9712 HW Groningen. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2008-12-08.


External linksEdit