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Nahhalin - نحّالين : Nahalin, General Information

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Posted by Adnan Safi on May 15, 2008
Nahalin
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nahalin
Arabic نحالين
Name Meaning "Honey collectors"
Government Town
Also Spelled Nahaleen (officially)
Governorate Bethlehem
Population 6,400 (2006)
Jurisdiction 16,144 dunams (16.1 km²)
Head of Village Counsel Muhammad Ghayada, elected in 2005

Nahalin, also spelled Nahhalin or Nahaleen, (Arabic: نحالين‎) is a Palestinian village located in the Bethlehem Governorate to the southwest of Bethlehem in the West Bank. The word Nahaleen is Arabic for those who collect honey from bees.

The village is located inside an enclave in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, surrounded by the Israeli settlements of Gvaot, Rosh Tzurim, Neve Daniel and Betar Illit.[1] After the Oslo Accords, Nahalin was classified as Area B, meaning that civil affairs have been under the control of the Palestinian National Authority and security matters under the control of the Israel Defense Forces.[1]

Nahalin is home to 6,400 people (2006), of whom 35% are under the age of 18. Approximately 150 - 200 persons are registered with UNRWA as refugees of the 1948 war. Villagers carry a West Bank ID card.[1]

Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, severe restrictions on movement have been placed on all residents. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), from the intifada's beginning in September 2000 until the road's November 2003 reopening with IDF checkpoint monitoring, the cluster of villages represented by Nahalin, Husan and Battir were totally closed off and the only access was on foot via the Husan/al-Khadr junction.[1] In 2004, all roads but one were reopened, and residents can now move more freely. In November of that year, USAID supported the paving of that road.

Some 90% of the population between the ages of 18 and 35 are unemployed.[1] The natural growth of the village will become a problem in the future due to lack of living space.[1] Nahalin will become entirely closed in by both the expanding settlements and the Israeli West Bank barrier, placing severe constraints on the movement of residents and their access to services outside the village.[1]

[edit] Notable people and events

On March 28, 1954, an Israeli raid by Unit 101 on an Arab Legion base in Nahalin [2] killed five national guards, three legionnaires and one woman, and wounded eighteen civilians including men, women and children.[3] According to David Tal, the raid was the first of Israel's reprisal raids against Jordan that was against a military target.[2]

In 1988, journalist Helen Winternitz spent a year in Nahalin and published her experiences in the book A Season of Stones.[4]

In 1989, Five villagers were killed by Israel Border Police during an early morning raid. The villagers claimed the security forces opened fire without provocation as they were leaving morning prayers at the mosque. Then General Amram Mitzna claimed his forces had come under attack from about 100 stone-throwing youths. [5] On 30 April 1989, preliminary findings of a military inquiry into the events indicated that the border police unit involved in the raid had "lost control and fired excessively".[6] In May 1989, the military inquiry announced that disciplinary action against four officers and seven border policemen would be taken for "misconduct".[7]

Mustafa Safi, a graduate of the American University of Beirut, has much credit for the advancement of Nahalin. He has helped bring water and electricity to the village in the seventies, while many other area villages still lacked these services.

In the 2005 municipal elections in Nahalin, all Eleven elected candidates stood as independents. The candidate with the most votes was Qassim Yousif Mahmoud Awad, who got 1120 votes.[8]




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