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Nablus

NABLUS

the largest west bank city.

Nablus is 30 miles north of Jerusalem in a valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. Known in the Bible as Shechem, it was the home of Jacob, Jacob's well, and the tomb of Joseph; it was the place of Jeroboam's rebellion and, as chief city of Samaria, became his capital of the kingdom of Israel. It was rebuilt and renamed Neapolis (from which the name Nablus derives) by the Roman emperor Vespasian, suffered damage in the Crusades, and became part of the Ottoman Empire. After the defeat and dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, it became part of the British Mandate territory of Palestine. It became part of the Jordanian-occupied West Bank following the ArabIsrael War in 1948 and then part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank after June 1967. Israeli troops withdrew from the city in December 1995, after which it passed under the control of the Palestinian Authority. It was reoccupied by Israeli forces on several occasions since the start of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in late 2000.

Nablus has been a major economic, political, and cultural center for Palestinians. Several leading families in Palestinian history stem from Nablus, including the Tuqan Family and the Abd al-Hadi Family. It was long an important manufacturing city, particularly for textiles, food products, and olive oil soap. It has played an important role in Palestinian political history as well, especially as a center for Palestinian nationalism outside the family rivalries of Jerusalem. Home to al-Najah University (which obtained university status in 1977), the city has produced numerous writers, poets, and academicians. The population stood at 100,034 during the last official census in 1997.

see also abd al-hadi family; arabisrael war (1948); aqsa intifada, al-; palestinian authority; tuqan family; west bank.

Bibliography


Doumani, Beshara. Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus 17001900. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Fischbach, Michael R. "Nablus." In Encyclopedia of the Palestinians, edited by Philip Mattar. New York: Facts On File, 2000.

Kimmerling, Baruch, and Migdal, Joel S. The Palestinian People: A History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

Yaakov, Shimoni, and Levine, Evyatar, eds. Political Dictionary of the Middle East in the 20th Century. New York: Quadrangle, 1974.

benjamin joseph
updated by michael r. fischbach

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Nablus

Nablus (nă´bləs, nä´–), Heb. Shechem, city (2003 est. pop. 127,000), the West Bank. It is the market center for a region where wheat and olives are grown and sheep and goats are grazed. Manufactures include soap made from olive oil and colorful shepherds' coats. The city is linked by highway with Jerusalem.

Nablus, an ancient Canaanite town, has remains dating from c.2000 BC, about the time when the city was held by Egypt. The Samaritans (see under Samaria) made it their capital and built a temple on nearby Gerizim to rival that of Jerusalem. Nablus still has a small community of Samaritans. The city was destroyed (129 BC) by John Hyrcanus I. Under Hadrian it was rebuilt and named Flavia Neapolis, from which the present name derives. Nearby are the reputed sites of the tomb of Joseph and the well of Jacob.

Nablus has long been a center of Arab nationalism, and the city's Palestinian refugee camps exacerbated tensions between residents and Israeli troops after the city came under Israeli occupation following the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. During the Intifada, it was the scene of ongoing violent clashes between Arabs and Jews. Israeli forces left the city in 1995 as part of the agreement establishing Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank. In the renewed violence that began in 2000 the city was again the scene of fighting between Palestinians and Israelis and between Palestinian groups as well.

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Nablus

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