Jabal al-Khalil

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Group of mountains constituting the southernmost part of the Judean mountains, surrounding the town of Hebron (Khalil), about twenty miles south of Jerusalem.

Jabal al-Khalil forms the tallest part of the mountain ridge extending north to Tiberias. The ridge was where most villages of Palestine were concentrated during the nineteenth century. While agricultural cultivation increased under Jordan's rule, between 1948 and 1967, many villagers of the relatively congested and unindustrialized Jabal alKhalil migrated for work to the east bank of the Jordan River. Since the 1967 Arab-Israel War, Jabal al-Khalil has been part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the site of a growing number of Israeli settlements, such as Kiryat Arba.

The Oslo Accords, signed on 13 September 1993, provided for a transitional period not exceeding five years to Palestinian interim self-government in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. On 15 January 1997 a joint protocol provided for the redeployment of Israeli troops and the handing over of 80 percent of the Hebron area to the Palestinian Authority. The area remained, however, in continuous strife and instability.

elizabeth thompson
updated by yehuda gradus