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 • Arabic جنين
 • Also spelled Jinin (official)
Janin (unofficial)
Street in Jenin, 2011
Street in Jenin, 2011
Jenin is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Jenin within the Palestinian territories
Governorate Jenin
 • Type City
 • Head of Municipality Hadem Rida
 • Jurisdiction 37,342 dunams (37.3 km2 or 14.4 sq mi)
Population (2007)[1]
 • Jurisdiction 39,004
  (plus 10,371 in Jenin refugee camp)
Name meaning The spring of gardens[2]

Jenin (; Arabic:    Ǧinīn) is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007 the city had a population of 39,004.[1] Jenin is under the administration of the State of Palestine.


  • Etymology 1
  • Geography 2
  • History 3
    • Mamluk era 3.1
    • Ottoman era 3.2
    • British mandate 3.3
    • Jordanian control 3.4
    • Israeli control 3.5
    • Palestinian control 3.6
  • Government 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Public institutions and landmarks 6
  • Education and culture 7
  • Notable residents 8
  • References 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • External links 11


Jenin was known in ancient times as the village of "Ein-Jenin" or "Tel Jenin".[3] Tell Jenin, is located at the center of what is today Jenin's business district.[4] The word "'ayn" means "water spring" in Hebrew and the word "Jenin" might be related to the Arabic word جنّة (janna), which means "garden". The Arabicized name "Jenin" ultimately derives from this ancient name. The association of Jenin with the biblical city of Ein-Ganim was recognized by Ishtori Haparchi.


Jenin overlooks the Jordan Valley to the east and the Jezreel Valley (known in Arabic as "Marj Ibn Amer") to the north.


Arab American University in Jenin

Jenin has been identified as the place Gina mentioned in the Amarna letters from the 14th century BCE.[5]

Four terracotta lamps of Phoenician 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.[6] During the Roman era, Jenin was called "Ginae." In the days of Saladin Al Ayubi, around 1187, there was a castle in the Jenin vicinity.

Mamluk era

Dimashki, writing around year 1300, said that after the rise of "Turk power", the empire was divided into nine (sub-) "Kingdoms", or Mamlakat. Jenin was listed as one of the places belonging to the (sub-) Kingdom centred at Safad.[7]

Yaqut described Jenin as "a small and beautiful town, lying between Nabulus and Baisan, in the Jordan Province. There is much water, and many springs are found here, and often have I visited it."[8]

In the late 13th century, Mamluk emirs stationed at Jenin were ordered by Qalawun, the sultan, "to ride every day with their troops before the fortress of 'Akka, so as to protect the coast and the merchants."[9]

Ottoman era

During the rule of the Ottoman Empire in Palestine (1517-1918), Jenin, Lajjun and the Carmel area, were for part of the 17th century ruled by Bedouin sheikhs, in this case the Turabay family.[10] In the mid-18th century, Jenin was designated the administrative capital of a district that included Lajjun, Ajlun and Jabal Nablus.[11] 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.[12]

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 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.[13] During the Ottoman era, Jenin was plagued by local warfare between members of the same clan.[14]

The French explorer Guérin visited in 1870.[15] In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Jenin as "The capital of the district, the seat of a Caimacam, a town of about 3,000 inhabitants, with a small bazaar. The houses are well built of stone. There are two families of Roman Catholics; the remainder are Moslems. A spring rises east of the town and is conducted to a large masonry reservoir, near the west side, of good squared stonework, with a long stone trough. This reservoir was built by 'And el Hady, Mudir of Acre, in the first half of the century [..], north of the town is the little mosque of 'Ezz ed Din, with a good- sized dome and a minaret."[16]

British mandate

From 1936, Jenin became a center of violence against the authorities of the British Mandate. 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.[17] Jenin was a major player in the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, prompted by the death of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam in a fire-fight with British colonial police at the nearby town of Ya'bad. Jenin was used by Fawzi al-Qawuqji's Arab Liberation Army 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.[18]

Jordanian control

In the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the city was defended by the Iraqi Army, 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, and gains in that sector were quickly abandoned when Arab reinforcements arrived. 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 Jordanian control. A war cemetery for Iraqi soldiers and local combatants is located on the outskirts of Jenin.

Israeli control

In 1967, on the first day of the Six-Day War, Jenin was captured by the Israel Defense Forces.

Palestinian control

In 1996, Israel handed over control of the city to the Palestinian National Authority in keeping with the Oslo Accords. Known to Palestinians as "the martyrs' capital", the camp's militants, some 200 armed men, included members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Tanzim, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas.[19][20] By Israel's count, at least 28 suicide bombers were dispatched from the Jenin camp from 2000–2003 during the Second Intifada.[19] Israeli army weekly Bamahane attributes at least 31 militant attacks, totaling 124 victims, to Jenin during the same period, more than any other city in the West Bank.[21]

During the al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield 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 in April 2002, 23 Israeli soldiers and 52 Palestinians, including civilians[22][23] , were killed.[24] Human Rights Watch reported that the refugee camp, which was the major battleground, suffered extensive damage. Witnesses stated unarmed people were shot and denied medical treatment, as a result died. Human Rights Watch have regarded many killings to be unlawful such as the death of a 57 year old wheelchair bound man who was shot and run over by a tank despite having attached a white flag on his wheelchair. A 37 year old man who was paralysed was crushed under the rubble of his house, his family was refused to be allowed to remove his body. A 14 year old boy was killed as he travelled to purchase groceries during the temporary relief of the curfew that was imposed by the army. Medical staff were shot at (one nurse killed) while trying to reach the wounded even after clearly being in uniform displaying the red crescent symbol.[25] There have also been reports of Israeli soldiers using Palestinians as human shields, one father described how a soldier rested his rifle on his 14 year old son's shoulder as he shot.[26] Israel denied the entry of rescue teams and journalists into Jenin even after they withdrew. Over the following years, Jenin was subject to extended curfews and targeted killings.

During a gun-battle with Islamic Jihad militants whom Israel says were firing at troops from inside the UN compound, an Israeli military sniper shot and killed a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) employee, Iain Hook (54) on November 22, 2002.[27] The sniper reportedly mistook a cellphone in Hook's hands for a gun or grenade.[28]

In the framework of the Valley of Peace initiative, a joint Arab-Israeli project is under way to promote tourism in the Jenin region.[29] In 2010, 600 new businesses opened in Jenin.[30] The Canaan Fair Trade is headquartered in Jenin.[31] Director of the Freedom Theater in Jenin, Juliano Mer-Khamis, was killed by masked gunmen in the city in April 2011. Mer-Khamis co-founded the theatre with Zakaria Zubeidi, former military chief of the al-Aqsa Brigades who had renounced violence.[32]


Jenin municipality was established in 1886 under the Ottoman 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:[33]

Municipal elections were held in Jenin on 15 December 2005. Six seats each were won by Hamas and the local coalition of Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Jenin was one of several Palestinian cities where Hamas showed a dramatic growth in electoral support. [34] The mayor of Jenin is Hadem Rida.


According to the official 2007 census, Jenin had a population of 39,004,[1] the Jenin Refugee Camp of 10,371[1] with 9,571 registered refugees[35] on 373 dunams (92 acres). Some 42.3% of the population of the camp was under the age of 15.

Year Population Jenin City
1596 ?[36]
1821 1,500-2,000[37]
1838 2,000[38]
1870 2,000[39]
1882 3,000[40]
1922 2,637[41]
1931 2,706 + 68[42]
1945 3,990[43]
1982 ?[44]
1997 26,681[45]
2007 39,004[1]

Public institutions and landmarks

The Khalil Suleiman Hospital is located in Jenin.
The city has squares named after notable Palestinian figures:

The city has a monument honoring German pilots shot down in Jenin during the First World War which incorporates an original wooden propeller.[46] The city also has a stadium near Qabatya with a capacity of over 9000 spectators. An old British Mandate landing strip, Muqeible Airfield, is located in Jenin. The main and largest mosque of Jenin is the Fatima Khatun Mosque, built in 1566.

Education and culture

The Arab American University is in Jenin. Strings of Freedom 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.[47] Since 2010, the Gilboa Regional Council has been working with the Jenin district authorities on the development of joint tourism projects.[48] Cinema Jenin 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.[49]

Notable residents


  1. ^ a b c d e 2007 Locality Population Statistics. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 147
  3. ^ Mariam Shahin (2005). Palestine:A Guide. Interlink Books. p. 183.  
  4. ^ Kohl et al., 2007, p. 339.
  5. ^ Shmuel Aḥituv (1984). Canaanite Toponyms in Ancient Egyptian Documents. The Magnes Press. p. 103. 
  6. ^ Hadidi, 1995, p. 92.
  7. ^ Cited in le Strange, 1890, p. 41
  8. ^ Cited in le Strange, 1890, p. 464
  9. ^ Ayalon and Sharon, 1986, p. 168.
  10. ^ Chatty, 2006, p. 868.
  11. ^ Doumani, 1995, p. 39.
  12. ^ Quataert, 2005, p. 107.
  13. ^ Yazbak, 1998, p. 150.
  14. ^ The Archeology of Warfare: Local Chiefdoms and Settlement Systems in the Jenin Region during the Ottoman Period
  15. ^ Guérin, 1874, pp. 327 - 332
  16. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 44 -45
  17. ^ The British in Jenin
  18. ^ "The British in Jenin", History Today, July 2002, pp. 2-4.
  19. ^ a b Lee, Ken (June 24, 2003). "Jenin rises from the dirt". BBC. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  20. ^ United Nations Yearbook 2002. Bernan Press. 2002.  
  21. ^ Kiron, Omri; Al-Peleg, Daniel (September 4, 2009). "BeGeder Hatzlaha (Hebrew title)".  
  22. ^ Krauss, Joseph. "Weary West Bank fighters watch Gaza assault from afar". AFP / The Jordan Times.  - "Fifty-four Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed in the mêlée."
  23. ^ Katz, Yaakov (2010-07-14). "IDF mulls entry to West Bank cities by Jewish Israelis". JPost. 
  24. ^ UN says no massacre in Jenin
  26. ^ SUMMARY, HRW
  27. ^ Israel admits killing British UN worker BBC News November 23, 2002
  28. ^ Fisher, Ian (2002-11-24). "Israel admits one of its soldiers killed U.N. officer in Jenin".  
  29. ^ Peacebuilding from the Bottom Up: The Mysterious Power of Intercultural Organizations
  30. ^ The Economic Impact of Israeli-Arab Visitors to the West Bank
  31. ^ Canaan Fair Trade
  32. ^ Juliano Mer-Khamis, The Economist
  33. ^ List of Mayors of Jenin Jenin Municipality.
  34. ^ Palestinian Municipal Elections, the Left is advancing, while Hamas capitalizes on the decline of Fatah Nasser Ibrahim, December 22, 2005
  35. ^ UNWRA Census
  36. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. ??
  37. ^ Scholz, 1822, p. 266, cited in Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 155
  38. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 155
  39. ^ Guérin, 1874, p. 328
  40. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 44
  41. ^ Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Jenin, p. 29
  42. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 68
  43. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 54
  44. ^ Census by Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
  45. ^ "Palestinian Population by Locality, Subspace and Age Groups in Years [Jenin Governorate]".  
  46. ^ Palestinians and Their Society, 1880-1946Author:Sarah Graham-Brown
  47. ^  
  48. ^ Between the Gilboa and Jenin
  49. ^ Jenin cinema reopens with film of hope


  • Ayalon, David; Sharon, Moshe (1986). Studies in Islamic history and civilization: in honour of Professor David Ayalon (Illustrated ed.).  
  • Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine. 
  • Chatty, Dawn (2006). Nomadic societies in the Middle East and North Africa: entering the 21st century (Illustrated ed.). Brill Publishers.  
  • Doumani, Beshara (1995). Rediscovering Palestine: merchants and peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 (Illustrated ed.). University of California Press.  
  • Hadidi, Adnan (1995). Studies in the history and archaeology of Jordan, Volume 3 (Illustrated ed.). Taylor & Francis.  
  • Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft.  
  • Kohl, Philip L.; Kozelsky, Mara; Ben-Yehuda, Nachman (2007). Selective remembrances: archaeology in the construction, commemoration, and consecration of national pasts (Illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press.  
  • Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. 
  • Negev, Avraham; Gibson, Shimon (2005). Archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Land (4th, revised, illustrated ed.). Continuum International Publishing Group.  
  • Quataert, Donald (2005). The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922 (2nd, illustrated, revised ed.).  
  • Strange, le, Guy (1890). Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Committee of the  
  • Yazbak, Maḥmūd (1998). Haifa in the late Ottoman period, 1864-1914: a Muslim town in transition (Illustrated ed.). Brill Publishers.  

External links

  • Welcome To Jinin Refugee Camp
  • SWP map 8, IAA
  • , Wikimedia commons
  • Who Lives In Jenin Refugee Camp?: A Brief Statistical Profile (2002)
  • A project aimed at reopening a movie theater for the residents of Jenin and the refugee camp.
  • in-depth report on NOW on PBSPeace and Prosperity in the West Bank
  • documentary on PBS wide angleHeart of Jenin
  • Tower Hamlets-Jenin Friendship Association (website)
  • Tower Hamlets-Jenin Friendship Association (photos)
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