Beit Ula Town Profile
Beit Ula is a Palestinian town located 10 km northwest of Hebron city in the southern West Bank. The town is located to the north of Hebron Governorate and is bordered by Halhul to the east, Nuba to the north, the Green Line to the west, and Tarqumiya to the south.
Beit Ula town is located at an elevation of 550 m above sea level, with a mean annual rainfall of 470 mm, average annual temperature of 18 °C and the average annual humidity of 60 % (ARIJ GIS). Beit Ula municipal area includes Beit Ula, Qila and Ras al Jora localities.
From 1976 to 1998, a Village Council governed Beit Ula town. By the year 1998, the Village Council was transferred to a Municipal Council appointed by the Ministry of the Local Authority, and in 2005, a new Municipal Council was elected comprised of 11 elected members and 20 employees. The Municipal Council takes over local supervision of:
- Social welfare and
- Infrastructure development and maintenance of essential services, such as water, electricity, solid waste collection, etc.
Beit Ula is an old town that dates back to the Canaanite period, deriving its name from Beit “Al Awleya’a”, meaning “the house of venerated people or virtuous persons”. It might be also derived from the Aramaic word ‘aula’ (in Arabic: أولى أو اولا) meaning the first, the number one, or the virtuous. (Ad Dabbagh, 1991)
There are six mosques in the town: Abu Ma’bed Mosque, Um Alas Mosque, Huwara Mosque, Jabal Al Najjar Mosque, Al Bazay’ah Mosque, and Qila Mosque.
There are several historical and archeological sites in the town, however, they are underutilized for recreational or tourist purposes. The three sites are:
- Be’ir Al Qaws
- Qila archeological site
- Al Burj site
According to the 2007 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) Census, the total population of Beit Ula in 2007 was approximately 10,885 people; 9,687 were living in Beit Ula, with 939 living in Qila and 268 in Ras al Jora. Of the total population, 5,555 were males and 5,330 were females. There were approximately 1,712 households living in 1,949 housing units. The population of Beit Ula town constituted 1.96 % of the total population of Hebron Governorate.
|Table 1: Beit Ula population by locality and sex (2007)|
|Ras al Jora*||150||118||268|
*Estimated numbers based upon the 1997 Census
** Source: PCBS 2008, Population, Housing and establishment, Census -2007, Final Result
Age groups and gender
The 2007 census data classified the population of Beit Ula town by age group and sex, showing that 45.7 % were less than 15 years old, 50.3 % were in the 15-64 age group years and 2.6 % were 65 and above. Males constituted 51 % of the total population and the sex ratio was 104.2 males for every 100 females.
The population of Beit Ula is comprised of six main families: Al A’mlah, Al Srahin, Al Adm , Al Farrashat , Al Ekel and Al Fawar’ah .
According to municipality data, about 100 people emigrated during the period of the second Intifada.
According to the results of the (PCBS), Population, Housing and Establishment Census in 2007, 5.1% of Beit Ula residents were illiterate, with women comprising 75.4% of the total illiterate population. Of the literate population, 13.6% could read and write even though having received no formal education, 25.8% had completed elementary education, 34.7% had completed preparatory education and 20.8% had completed secondary and higher education. Table 2 shows the education status in Beit Ula by sex and educational attainment in 2007.
|Table 2: Beit Ula population (10 years and above) by sex and educational attainment|
|Sex||Illiterate||Can read & write||Elementary||Preparatory||Secondary||Associate Diploma||Bachelor||Higher Diploma||Master||PhD||Total|
Source: PCBS, March 2009. Population, Housing and Establishment Census-2007, Final Results
The field survey data showed three levels of education in Beit Ula town: pre-school education (kindergartens), basic education and secondary education. Data also revealed that there were eight schools in the town, of which five were boys’ schools, and three were girls’ schools. Most schools in Beit Ula are supervised by the public sector. Table 3 shows the number of schools by name, stage, sex and the supervising authority.
|Table 3: The schools in Beit Ula by name, stag, sex and supervising authority|
|No.||School name||Stage||Sex||Supervising Authority|
|1.||Beit Ula Boys Secondary School||Secondary||Male||Governmental|
|2.||Beit Ula Boys Elementary School||Elementary||Male||Governmental|
|3.||Beer Al Ques Boys Elementary School||Elementary||Male||Governmental|
|4.||Jaber Ibn Haeean Elementary School||Elementary||Male||Governmental|
|5.||Beit Ula Girls Secondary School||Secondary||Female||Governmental|
|6.||Beit Ula Girls Elementary School||Elementary||Female||UNWARA|
|7.||Al Aqsa Boys School||Elementary||Male||Private|
|8.||Al Aqsa Girls School||Elementary||Female||Private|
The data of the Ministry of Higher Education revealed that in the scholastic year of 2006/2007, there were 112 classes, 152 teachers and 3,673 students in the town (See table 4).
|Table 4: Total No. of schools, classes and students by sex in Beit Ula town|
|Male||No. of Schools||4||1||–||5|
|No. of class||50||8||–||58|
|No. of Teachers||67||14||–||81|
|No. of Students||1599||182||–||1781|
|Female||No. of Schools||1||–||1||2|
|No. of class||11||–||33||44|
|No. of Teachers||17||–||42||59|
|No. of Students||368||–||1307||1675|
|Co-education||No. of Schools||–||1||–||1|
|No. of class||–||10||–||10|
|No. of Teachers||–||12||–||12|
|No. of Students||–||217||–||217|
Source: ARIJ Data Base – 2006
Data from 2007 shows two kindergartens in Beit Ula: the Beit Ula Charitable Society Kindergarten, established by Beit Ula Charitable Society, and Al Aqsa Kindergarten, established by the Islamic Charitable Society. Both kindergartens provide pre-school education services to a total of 109 children.
Town officials state that there are obstacles facing the educational process in the town, citing the lack of classes and need for additional educational facilities as main concerns of the municipality.
Several institutions provide health services in Beit Ula. One health center, Al Iman Medical Center, is supervised by Beit Ula Charitable Society, and provides health services to the residents. In addition, there are six private clinics, one governmental clinic and three dental clinics in the town. There are also other health facilities in the town such as four medical laboratories, four pharmacies, one Maternity & Pediatric Center, and an ambulance (See table 5).
|Table 5: Number of health institutions in Beit Ula by supervising authority|
|X- Ray Centre||–||–||–|
|Maternity & Pediatric Center||1||–||–|
However, Beit Ula town still suffers from many obstacles and problems in the health sector, including
- A lack of specialist clinics, and
- The absence of adequate governmental medical services.
For emergencies that are incurable in the town, patients are sent to health facilities in Tarqumiya town or Hebron city, 3 km and 16 km respectively from Beit Ula.
Two major economic activities play a role in Beit Ula economy. The agricultural sector is the most fundamental economic activity in the town with approximately 42% of the town’s total population involved in agricultural activities. The Israeli Labor Market is the second main source of income for Beit Ula residents with roughly 40% of the total population dependent on the Israeli market as an exchange of work for capital.
ARIJ survey indicated that the shares of the population working in the various sectors of the economy were:
- The agricultural sector 42 %,
- Israeli labor market 40 %.
- The employee sector 10 %,
- The trade sector 5 %,
- The services sector 2 %,
- The industrial sector 1 %.
The town has a number of economic institutions including the “Super Nimr” Wrought Iron Doors Factory, “Al Anan” Electric Refrigerator Factory, “Star” Paint Factory, and “Light Ceiling” Electric Lamp Manufactory. In addition, there are five clothing shops, four butchers, five blacksmith workshops, six carpentry workshops, ten shops for services, and more than one hundred groceries and other shops.
Based on ARIJ survey in 2007, the social groups most affected in the town by the Israeli restrictions during the second Intifada are:
- Workers previously employed on the Israeli labour market,
- Families with six or more individuals,
- Small-holder farmers,
- Small businesses, and
- Housekeepers and children.
In 2007, the labor force in Beit Ula town was 7,160, of which 30.4% were economically active and 69.6% were economically inactive. Of the economically active, 79% were employed. The largest groups of the economically inactive population were students and housekeepers, constituting 56% and 34.3% of that population respectively. Table 6 shows the labor force construction in Beit Ula town.
Table 6: Beit Ula population (10 years and above) by sex and employment status
Not Economically Active
Unable to work
Not working & not looking
Source: PCBS, March 2009. Population, Housing and Establishment Census-2007, results
Beit Ula is an agricultural town and, as mentioned above, includes a vast area of arable land, with approximately 44% of residents engaged in agricultural activities. Beit Ula town lies on a total area of 24,000 dunums; 16,800 dunums are considered arable land, though only 7,884dunums are cultivated.
Table 7: Land Use in Beit Ula Town (dunum)
Built up Area
Open Spaces and Rangelands
Source: Palestinian Ministry of Agricultural (MoA), 2006
There are about 23 dunums of greenhouses, but no tunnels in Beit Ula town. 14 of these dunums are used for growing cucumbers.
Most agriculture in Beit Ula is rain-fed. However, ARIJ field survey data indicates that farmers also depend on springs, cisterns and the water network to irrigate crops. The main crops cultivated in the town are olive trees, plums, nuts, fruit, field crops and vegetables.
Table 8 shows the different types of rain-fed and irrigated open cultivated vegetables in the town of Beit Ula. The rain-fed fruity vegetables are the most cultivated with an area of about 321 dunums. The most common vegetables cultivated within this area are gumbo and squash.
Table 8: Total area of rain fed and irrigated open cultivated vegetables in Beit Ula Town (dunum)
Rf: Rain-fed, Irr: Irrigated
There are two types of aromatic medical plants in the town of Beit Ula, thyme and mint, which cover a total area of about 4 dunums.
In the town of Beit Ula, there is a total area of 4,853 dunums planted with olive trees. Other trees planted in the area are mostly grape vines, apricot and fig trees.
Table 9: Total area of horticulture and olive tree in Beit Ula Town (dunum)
Rf: Rain-fed, Irr: Irrigated
Table 10 shows the total field crops cultivated in the town of Beit Ula. Cereals, in particular wheat, white corn and barley, are the most cultivated crops, covering an area of about 1,360 dunums. In addition, the cultivation of dry legume crops, mostly lentils, and forage crops, such as vetch, is common in the town of Beit Ula.
Table 10: Total area of field crops in Beit Ula Town (dunum)
Rf: Rain-fed, Irr: Irrigated
Residents of Beit Ula rear and keep livestock with about 5% of residents breeding domestic animals, such as sheep, goats and chicken, in addition to keeping 199 beehives.
|Table 11: Livestock in Beit Ula Town|
*Including cows, bull calves, heifer calves and bulls
Though insufficient, approximately 40 km of agricultural roads are heavily used by tractors and other agricultural machinery in Beit Ula. There is a major need for new roads to cover the vast agricultural area in the town.
The lifestyle in rural Beit Ula town differs greatly from that of urban areas, mainly because available services, such as police, schools, fire stations, and libraries are limited in scope or unavailable. However, several major institutes and services exist in the town and serve the residents well. There are both a Post Office and an office of Social Affairs, in addition to other seven institutes providing public services, which include:
- Beit Ula Municipality; established in 1998 with a new Council of 11 members elected in 2005.
- Islamic Charitable Society
- Beit Ula Charitable Society
- Women’s Club
- Sport’s Club
- Cultural Club
- Al Afaq Club
|Table 12: The number of institutions in Beit Ula by type|
|Type of institution|
- Telecommunication Services: Beit Ula town is connected to a telecommunication network; approximately 60 % of the housing units are connected to the network.
- Water Services: Beit Ula has been connected to the water network since 1974. Provided by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), almost 70% of town households are connected to the network. Harvesting wells and 10 natural springs are alternative resources to the water network for the domestic and agricultural needs of the town. The main problems regarding water services are:
- The old and deteriorating water network.
- Loss of water pressure in the summer.
- Electricity Services: In 1981, Beit Ula was connected to an electric network provided by the Israeli Electric company “Al Qutriya”, and 90% of the town housing units are currently connected to the network. The electric network in the town is in need of reconstruction and restoration, with an additional need for electric generators.
- Solid Waste Collection: The Municipality and the Joint Services Council operate solid waste management in Beit Ula. According to the data field survey conducted by ARIJ, approximately 20 tons of solid waste is generated yearly in Beit Ula. Waste is collected by trucks, owned by the Municipality, and then transported to a regional dumping site five km away, that is operated by the Joint Services Council.
- Sewage Disposal Facilities: The sewage disposal system in Beit Ula is chronically under-funded. The town lacks a sewage disposable network; therefore, the bulk of the domestic and agricultural wastewater is discharged and disposed of in cesspits. This improper disposal of sewage is considered one of the main reasons of groundwater pollution in the area.
- Transportation Services: There are about 64 km of internal roads in Beit Ula town. Approximately 4 km of main roads and 10 km of connecting roads are surfaced and in a good condition, with an additional 10 km of surfaced connecting roads in poor condition. In addition, there are 40 km of unpaved agricultural roads. Public transportation in Beit Ula includes three buses and six taxis. However, the transportation sector in the town suffers from the Israeli checkpoints and barriers, poor road conditions, and shortage of public transportation services.
Beit Ula borders the Green Line, and in November 2004, the Israeli Authorities commenced the construction of the Segregation Wall on the west side of the town. According to Beit Ula Municipality, the Israeli Authorities confiscated approximately 1,500 dunums of town land, 1,500 dunums will be isolated behind the wall. In addition, 2,000 trees have been uprooted. Upon completion, a five km section of the Segregation Wall will be constructed inside the Green Line on Beit Ula land near the western town boundary.
The Beit Ula municipality established a development plan. Since 2004, the municipality has implemented several projects funded by foreign donors. See Table 13 for specific projects and funding sources.
|Table 13: Development plans and projects in Beit Ula town|
|No.||Project name||Type||Funded by|
|1||Open and Rehabilitation of Internal Roads||Infrastructure||Municipal council|
|2||Construction of new building for the municipality||Infrastructure||Japanese Government|
|3||Construction of Internal electricity Networks||Infrastructure||Norwegian Government|
According to Beit Ula Municipality, the town suffers from a shortage of services and is in need of infrastructure development. Table 14 shows development priorities and needs in the town.
|Table 14: Development priorities and needs in Beit Ula|
|No.||Sector||Strongly Needed||Needed||Moderately Needed||Not Needed||Notes|
|1||Opening and Pavement of Roads||*||36 km ^|
|2||Construction of New Water Networks||*|
|3||Rehabilitation of Old Water Networks||*|
|4||Construction of Water Reservoirs||*|
|5||Extending the Water Network to cover New Built up Areas||*|
|6||Construction of Sewage Disposal Network||*|
|1||Building of New Clinics or Health Care Centre||*|
|2||Rehabilitation of Old Clinics or Health Care Centres||*|
|3||Purchasing of Medical Equipments and Tools||*|
|1||Building of New Schools||*|
|2||Rehabilitation of Old Schools||*|
|3||Purchasing of New Equipments for Schools||*|
|1||Rehabilitation of Agricultural lands||*|
|3||Construction of Barracks for Livestock||*|
|5||Seeds and Hay for Animals||*|
|6||Rehabilitation of Greenhouses||*|
|7||Field Crops Seeds||*|
|8||Plants and Agricultural Supplies||*|
^ 3 km: 7 km main roads, 9 internal roads and 20 km agricultural roads
- Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Population, Housing and Establishment Census- Final Results. Ramallah, Palestine. 1997 -2007.
- Ad Dabbagh, Mustafa. Palestine Our Homeland.: Kufr Qare’, Palestine: Dar Al Huda Press, 1991. (In Arabic)
- Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ). GIS Database. 2006-2009.
- Ministry of Agriculture. Agricultural Status Database in Hebron Governorate. 2006.
- Ministry of Higher Education. Educational Status Database. 2006-2007.