Qibya (Arabic: قبية) is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, located 30 kilometers (19 mi) northwest of Ramallah and exactly north of the large Israeli city of Modi'in. It is part of the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, and according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, it had a population of approximately 4,901 in 2007.[2]

Arabic transcription(s)
 • Arabicقبية
Qibya is located in State of Palestine
Location of Qibya within Palestine
Coordinates: 31°58′39″N 35°00′35″E / 31.97750°N 35.00972°E / 31.97750; 35.00972Coordinates: 31°58′39″N 35°00′35″E / 31.97750°N 35.00972°E / 31.97750; 35.00972
Palestine grid151/153
StateState of Palestine
GovernorateRamallah and al-Bireh
 • TypeMunicipality
 • Head of MunicipalityFahmi Makhtub
 • Total16,485 dunams (16.5 km2 or 6.4 sq mi)
 • Total4,901
 • Density300/km2 (770/sq mi)
Name meaningDomed[1]

It is known for the 1953 Qibya massacre.


Qibya is located 19.9 kilometers (12.4 mi) (horizontally) northwest of Ramallah. It is bordered by Ni'lin to the east, Shuqba to the north, the Green line to the west, and Budrus and Ni'lin to the south.[3]


A Bar Kokhba Revolt coin dated to between 134 and 136 was found in a Karst cave near this village, suggesting that Jews who rebelled against the Roman Empire had found refuge in this cave.[4] Potsherds from the Roman/Byzantine, Byzantine Empire, Mamluk and early Ottoman period have been found in the village.[5]

A building, possibly dating to the Crusader era have been found here.[6]

Ottoman periodEdit

Qibya, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the census of 1596, the village was located in the Nahiya of Ramla of the Liwa of Gaza. It had an entirely Muslim population of 29 households. They paid a fixed tax rate of 25% on wheat, barley, summer crops, olives, fruit trees, lintels, goats and/or beehives, in addition of taxes for a press for olives or grapes; a total of 6,000 akçe.[7]

In 1882, the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine described the village (then named Kibbiah), as "a very small hamlet with olive-trees, on high ground".[8]

British Mandate periodEdit

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, the village, (named Kibbia), had a population of 694 inhabitants, all Muslims.[9] In the 1931 census the population of Qibya was 909, still all Muslim, in 204 inhabited houses.[10]

In the 1945 statistics, the population of Qibya was 1,250, all Muslims,[11] who owned 16,504 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[12] 4,788 dunams were used for cereals,[13] while 32 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[14]

Jordanian eraEdit

In the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Qibya came under Jordanian rule.


Villagers returning home after the 1953 massacre

In October 1953 Qibya was the target of an Israeli raid known as the Qibya massacre by Unit 101 commanded by Ariel Sharon which resulted in the death of 67 or 69 unarmed civilians and large-scale destruction of the village. On October 18, 1953, the U.S. State Department issued a bulletin expressing its "deepest sympathy for the families of those who lost their lives" in Qibya as well as the conviction that those responsible "should be brought to account and that effective measures should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future."[15] The United States temporarily suspended economic aid to Israel.

The Jordanian census of 1961 found 1,635 inhabitants in Qibya.[16]


Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Qibya has been under Israeli occupation.

After the 1995 accords, 21.5% of Qibya land was classified as Area B, the remaining 78.5% as Area C. Israel has confiscated land from Qibya in order to construct the Israeli West Bank barrier.[17]

Qibya received media coverage again in the run-up to the 2001 Israeli general election when it was correctly forecast that Sharon would become the next Israeli Prime Minister.[18]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 237
  2. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Archived December 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.113.
  3. ^ Qibya Village Profile, ARIJ, p. 4
  4. ^ A Rare Bar Kochva Coin Was Discovered North to Modi'in
  5. ^ Finkelstein et al, 1997, p. 174
  6. ^ Pringle, 1997, p. 115
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 153
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 297
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Ramleh, p. 22
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 22
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 30
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 68
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 116
  14. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 166
  15. ^ The Department of State issued a statement on Oct. 18, 1953 (Department of State Bulletin, Oct. 26, 1953, p. 552).
  16. ^ Government of Jordan, Department of Statistics, 1964, p. 24
  17. ^ Qibya Village Profile, ARIJ, pp. 16-18
  18. ^ Guardian From butcher to 'Lion' to Prime Minister of Israel by Jason Burke 4 February 2001


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