Huwara Town is among 56 Palestinian villages and towns in Nablus, one of the biggest cities in the occupied West Bank. It’s located on the main road connecting Nablus southwards to Ramallah and Jerusalem.
The population of Huwara in 2017, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, was 6,659 people. In 2022, it rose to about 7,000 Palestinians, in addition to 9,000 living outside the country, most of them in Jordan and America.
The town was characterized by its agricultural activity, especially grains and olives. Its people adopted the livestock trade, including cows and sheep, in 1941, which they brought from Iran, Syria, and Iraq.
Then, they became famous for the gold trade and the establishment of shops along the 3-kilometre-long Huwara Street. The number of economic establishments increased to nearly 400 in 2022, including restaurants, bakeries, butcheries, groceries, car showrooms, as well as 7 factories.
The town’s history spans more than 700 years since it, like other Palestinian regions, moved through many eras. Ottoman control prevailed there up until the early 1920s, and the British mandate followed until 1948.
It was then governed by Jordan until 1967 when the Zionist movement occupied the West Bank. After that, Huwara was under Israeli occupation until the Palestinian Authority took over in September 1993 after signing the Oslo Accords.
In addition to being one of the most significant catalysts of violence in Huwara, settlement is one of the most significant tactics utilized by the Israeli occupation to seize Palestinian lands and property.
The “Yitzhar” settlement was constructed next to the “Givat Ronen” colony on 1,500 dunams of Palestinian land to the north of the town and thousands of dunams of nearby communities.
In addition, the 1967-founded Hawara camp was taken over by the occupation and used as both an Israeli military command post and a location for the detention and interrogation of Palestinians. It also erected a helipad and established the Israeli police and intelligence headquarters.
Next to the camp, the occupation established the Huwwara military checkpoint in 2000 to beside the Zaatara checkpoint to the south, five kilometres away, where it could totally control the entrances to the main street.
at the beginning of 2021, It confiscated 1,100 dunums of town land to build a new settlement bypass road to be an alternative to the main Huwara Street, which the occupation turned into a military barracks by erecting 15 military watchtowers and mobile and fixed barriers between both ends of the street.
Israeli violence pushes Palestinians to retaliate
Since its occupation of the town in 1967, the Israeli occupation has been intensifying its attacks against the residents of the town to take full control of it.
According to Palestinian sources, until the beginning of 2023, the Israeli occupation forces detained about 800 Palestinian citizens in the town, whose sentences varied between 18 days to 16 years.
During Israeli military incursions into the town and increasing settler violence, 25 Palestinians were murdered and hundreds more were injured.
The Huwara site, on the main street crossed by the settlers, constituted a key location for the Palestinians to retaliate for the violence of the Israeli forces and settlers against them.