Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate
Jenin Governorate
The Jenin Governorate is one of a number of Governorates of the West Bank and Gaza Strip within the Palestinian Territories, it covers the northern extremity of the West Bank including the area around the city of Jenin....

 and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee camp (also named Jenin) with 35,371 residents. Jenin is under the administration of the Palestinian Authority.


Jenin was known in ancient times as the village of "Ein-Jenin" or "Tel Jenin". Tell Jenin, is located at the center of what is today Jenin's business district. The word "Ein" means "water spring" and the word "Jenin" is derived from the Hebrew word גַּן (gan) or גַּנִּים (ganim) meaning "garden" or "gardens" respectively.

Jenin's name is believed by some historians to come from "jenan Kulaib" or "Kulaib's gardens" which are very famous in the Arabic history and have different stories about their exact location, with Jenin to be a strong candidate, depending on many historical evidences, including the presence of "Kahfu assiba'a" or "the lions cave" in the nearby town of Yamoun, which still has its same name yet now. "Kahfu assiba'a" had an important share of the famous Arabic war "Harbu Al Basous".

The arabicized name "Jenin" ultimately derives from this ancient name. The origin of the place as Ein-Ganim was recognized by Ishtori Haparchi. In the 20th century CE, Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 built a nearby Israeli settlement
Israeli settlement
An Israeli settlement is a Jewish civilian community built on land that was captured by Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and is considered occupied territory by the international community. Such settlements currently exist in the West Bank...

, and called it Ganim
Ganim was a village and an Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank under the administrative local government of the Shomron Regional Council....

, also named after the name of the ancient village. This settlement was evacuated in August 2005 as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...



Jenin overlooks both the Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley (Middle East)
The Jordan Valley forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to northern Dead Sea in the south. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, an area also known as Wadi...

 to the east and the Jezreel Valley
Jezreel Valley
-Etymology:The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in...

 (known in Arabic as "Marj Ibn Amer") to the north, and from the south it connects to the Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...



The nearby tell
A tell or tel, is a type of archaeological mound created by human occupation and abandonment of a geographical site over many centuries. A classic tell looks like a low, truncated cone with a flat top and sloping sides.-Archaeology:A tell is a hill created by different civilizations living and...

 of Khirbet Belameh, identified as ancient Ibleam, is located a little over a mile to the south of Jenin, and shows signs of habitation ranging from the Early Bronze Age to the medieval period.

Four terracotta lamps of Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n origin dated to the 8th century BCE were discovered in Ain Jenin by archaeologist G. I. Harding, and are interpreted as attesting to some form of contact and exchange between the residents of Jenin at that time and those of Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...


Mamluk era

In the late 13th century, Mamluk
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

s stationed at Jenin were ordered by Qalawun
Saif ad-Dīn Qalawun aṣ-Ṣāliḥī was the seventh Mamluk sultan of Egypt...

, the sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

, "to ride every day with their troops before the fortress of 'Akka
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

, so as to protect the coast and the merchants."

Ottoman era

During the rule of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 (1517-1918), Jenin, Lajjun
Lajjun was a Palestinian Arab village of nearly 1,300 people located northwest of Jenin. The village along with nearby Umm al-Fahm and seven hamlets, had a total land area of 77,242 dunams or , of which were built-up, while the rest was used for agricultural purposes...

 and the Carmel area, were for part of the 17th century ruled by Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

s, in this case the Turabay family. In the mid-18th century, Jenin was designated the administrative capital of a district that included Lajjun, Ajlun and Jabal Nablus. There are indications that the area comprising Jenin and Nablus remained functionally autonomous under Ottoman rule and that the empire struggled to collect taxes there. During the Napoleonic Campaign in Egypt which extended into Syria and Palestine in 1799, a local official from Jenin wrote a poem enumerating and calling upon local Arab leaders to resist Bonaparte, without mentioning the Sultan or the need to protect the Ottoman empire. In the late 19th century, some members of the Jarrar family, who formed part of the mallakin (elite land-owning families) in Jenin, cooperated with merchants in Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 to set up an export enterprise there. Tawfiq Jarrar was accorded the unique title, "son of the great" (salil al-akabir) in Haifa, in recognition of his family's status and his entrepreneurial efforts.

British Mandate

From 1936, Jenin became a center of violence against the authorities of the British Mandate
British Mandate
British Mandate may refer to:*British Mandate for Palestine*British Mandate of Mesopotamia...

. By the summer of 1938, residents of the city embarked on "an intensified campaign of murder, intimidation and sabotage" that caused the British administration "grave concern," according to its report to the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

Jenin was a major player in the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, prompted by the death of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam
Sheikh Muhammad Izz ad-Din al-Qassam was a Tijani Sufi who led militant activities against British, French, and Zionist organizations in the Levant in the 1920's and 1930's.-Early life:...

 in a fire-fight with British colonial police at the nearby town of Ya'bad
Ya'bad is a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank, 20 kilometers west of Jenin in the Jenin Governorate. It is a major agricultural town with most of its land covered with olive groves and grain fields. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of...

. Jenin was used by Fawzi al-Qawuqji
Fawzi Al-Qawuqji
Fawzi al-Qawuqji was the field commander of the Arab Liberation Army during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War in Palestine, and a rival of the principal Palestinian Arab leader, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.-Biography:...

's Arab Liberation Army
Arab Liberation Army
The Arab Liberation Army , also translated as Arab Salvation Army, was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji...

 as a base. On August 25, 1938, the day after the British Assistant District Commissioner was assassinated in his Jenin office, a large British force with explosives entered the town. After ordering the inhabitants to leave, about one quarter of the town was blown up.

Jordanian control

In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, the city was defended by the Iraqi Army
Iraqi Army
The Iraqi Army is the land component of the Iraqi military, active in various forms since being formed by the British during their mandate over the country after World War I....

, then captured briefly by the forces from Israel's Carmeli Brigade during the "Ten Days' fighting" following the cancellation of the first cease-fire. The offensive was actually a feint designed to draw Arab forces away from the critical Siege of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem
The Siege of Jerusalem can refer to several historical events:*Sack of Jerusalem by biblical pharaoh Shishaq, identified as Shoshenq I of the Twenty-second dynasty of Egypt....

, and gains in that sector were quickly abandoned when Arab reinforcements arrived. The southern entrance of Jenin holds a cemetery for the dead of the Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i army and some Palestinians who fought with them against the Israeli forces. The Jenin refugee camp was founded in 1953 by Jordan to house displaced Palestinians who fled or were expelled during the 1948 War. For 19 years, the city was under Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian control.

Israeli control

In 1967, on the first day of the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, Jenin was captured by the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...


Palestinian control

In 1996, Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 handed over control of the city to the Palestinian National Authority
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian Authority is the administrative organization established to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip...

 in keeping with the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

. During the al-Aqsa Intifada
Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000...

, it launched Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield was a large-scale military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces in 2002, during the course of the Second Intifada. It was the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. The operation was an attempt by the Israeli army to stop the...

 with the stated aim of dismantling terrorist infrastructure so as to curb suicide bombings and other militant activities. The army encircled and entered six major Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, among them Jenin. During the Battle of Jenin
Battle of Jenin
The Battle of Jenin took place in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Israel Defense Forces entered the camp, and other areas under the administration of the Palestinian Authority, during the Second Intifada, as part of Operation Defensive Shield...

 in April 2002, 23 Israeli soldiers and 52 Palestinians were killed. The refugee camp, which was the major battleground, suffered extensive damage. Over the following years, Jenin was subject to extended curfew
A curfew is an order specifying a time after which certain regulations apply. Examples:# An order by a government for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time...

s and targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

s. An UN Relief and Works Agency
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is a relief and human development agency, providing education, health care, social services and emergency aid to 5 million Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, as well as in the West Bank and the Gaza...

 (UNRWA) employee, Iain Hook, was killed on November 22, 2002.

Director of the Freedom Theater in Jenin, Juliano Mer-Khamis
Juliano Mer-Khamis
Juliano Mer-Khamis was an Israeli actor, director, filmmaker and political activist of Jewish and Christian Arab parentage. On 4 April 2011, he was assassinated by a masked gunman in the Palestinian city of Jenin, where he established the Freedom Theatre....

, was murdered in the city in April 2011. Mer co-founded the theatre with Zacharia Zubeidi, former military chief of the al-Aqsa Brigades who had renounced violence. Suspicious parents regarded Mer as an Israeli agent and a proselytizer for Western values.


Jenin municipality was established in 1886 under the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule with no more than 80 voters and elections were made every 4 years until 1982 when the Israeli government took control over the municipality until 1995.

List of Jenin mayors:

  • Andulmajeed Mansour
  • Abdulrahman Al-Haj Hassan
  • Ragheb Al-Souki
  • Al-Haj Hassan Fazaa'
  • Tawfeek Mansour
  • Bshara Atallah
  • Hussein al-Abboushi
  • Aref Abdulrahman
  • Fahmi al-Abboushi
    Fahmi al-Abboushi
    Fahmi al-Abboushi was co-founder of the Palestinian political party Hizb al-Istiqlal along with his close associate Awni Abd al-Hadi....

  • Tahseen Abdulhadi
  • Abdulraheem Jarrar
  • Saleh Arif Azzouqa
  • Hussni Al-Souki
  • Ahmed Kamal Al-saa'di
  • Ahmed Shawki Al-Mahmoud
  • Shehab Al-Sanouri
  • Abdullah Lahlouh
  • Waleed Abu Mwais (appointed)
  • Dr. Hatim Jarrar

Municipal elections were held in Jenin on 15 December 2005. Six seats each were won by Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and the local coalition of Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

. Jenin was one of several Palestinian cities where Hamas showed a dramatic growth in electoral support.
The mayor of Jenin is Hadem Rida
Hadem Rida
Hadem Rida Jarrar is the mayor of Jenin, in the West Bank. He is a member of the Hamas organization. In 2006 he was arrested by Israeli authorities with the mayor of Qalqilya and Education Minister Nasser al-Shaer. Rida is diagnosed with diabetes....



According to the official 2007 census, Jenin had a population of `120,004, the Jenin Refugee Camp of 35,371 with 33,571 registered refugees. on 373 dunam
A dunam or dönüm, dunum, donum, dynym, dulum was a non-SI unit of land area used in the Ottoman Empire and representing the amount of land that can be plowed in a day; its value varied from 900–2500 m²...

s (92 acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

s). Some 42.3% of the population of the camp was under the age of fifteen.
Year Population Jenin Region
1596 7,000
1838 10,000-16,000
1882 15,000
1897 35,000
1906 44,000
1914 50,000
1922 77,426
1945 120,250
1982 190,272
1997 195,074
2007 256,619

Public institutions and monuments

The Khalil Suleiman
Khalil Suleiman
Khalil Suleiman was a Palestinian doctor in Jenin in the West Bank. He was head of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society Emergency Medical Service in Jenin....

 Hospital is located in Jenin. The city has a monument honoring German pilots shot down in Jenin during the First World War which incorporates an original wooden propeller. The city also has a stadium
A modern stadium is a place or venue for outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.)Pausanias noted that for about half a century the only event...

 near Qabatya with a capacity of over 9000 spectators. The Arab American University is located in Jenin, as is Muqeible Airfield
Muqeible Airfield
Muqeible Airfield is an abandoned military airfield located in the northern West Bank, approximately 1 km southwest of the village of Muqeible, Israel and 3 km north of Jenin....


Education and culture

Strings of Freedom
Strings of Freedom
Strings of Freedom is an orchestra in the West Bank town of Jenin. It was founded by an Israeli Arab, Wafaa Younis, who travels regularly form her home in central Israel to teach music to children in Jenin.-Holocast survivor incident:...

 is an orchestra in Jenin founded by an Israeli Arab, Wafaa Younis, who travels form her home in central Israel to teach music to the local youth. Since 2010, the Gilboa Regional Council
Gilboa Regional Council
Gilboa Regional Council is a regional council in northern Israel, located on the slopes of the Gilboa mountain range. There are more than 22,000 residents in 38 settlements as of 2007...

 has been working with the Jenin district authorities on the development of joint tourism projects.Cinema Jenin
Cinema Jenin
Cinema Jenin is a movie theater in the Palestinian city of Jenin, located in the West Bank.The new building features plush seating that can accommodating over 300 people, an outdoor cafe, art gallery space, a children's park and playground, and a library that is sponsored by the German...

is the largest movie theater in the area. The theater, which reopened in 2010 after a 23 year intermission, has indoor and outdoor screens, a film library and educational facilities.

External links

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