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Shu'fat
Population
31218 1
Location
North Jerusalem
Area in Dunums
4277 2
Jurisdiction
Jerusalem Occupation Municipality
Brief

Shu’fat is a Palestinian village located four kilometers north of the Old City. The neighbourhood, controlled by the Jerusalem occupation municipality since 1967, borders Hizma and Anata to the east, Beit Hanina and Beit Hanina al-Balad to the north, Beit Iksa to the west and al-’Eisawiyah to the south.3 Of the total area of Shu’fat, 47% has been annexed by the Israeli occupation forces for the construction of settlements, military bases, and land for the Annexation Wall.4

History and Background

Shu'fat has been continuously inhabited since at least 200 BC. It is believed to have been established on the site of a Canaanite village and Tal al-Foul, an ancient village on its outskirts, was the capital of King Shafat. Shu'fat takes its current name from a Roman king who ruled Jerusalem during the Roman era. According to residents, Shu'fat also participated in the resistance to British colonialism during the 1920s. East of Shu’fat on the other side of the Annexation Wall lies Shu’fat refugee camp, established in 1965. The village is surrounded by five Khirab or “Tiny neighbourhoods:”  Khirbet a-Suma’ah, Khirbet a-Ras, Khirbet al-Masane’, Khirbet Tal al-Foul, and Khirbet al-Adaseh. These Khirab have many archeological sites.

The original families of Shu’fat are: Ziyadah, Abu Khudeir, Mohammad, Eissa, Mashni, and Awdat Allah.

Social & Economic Life

Like Beit Hanina, Shu’fat is a busy commercial centre which attracts and serves not only local residents but is also as a hub for leisure, trade, education and health facilities to visitors across northern Jerusalem. Another commonality between Shu’fat and Beit Hanina is that both lack strong civil society organisations and their residents do not share tight social ties.

Challenges for the Community

Annexation and Expansion Wall

Due to the construction of Shu’fat checkpoint, the town is separated from Shu’fat refugee camp and Anata. The Annexation Wall and the settlement belt around Shu'fat and occupied Jerusalem create an area of isolation in the community that prevents its natural growth and ability to expand to meet the needs of an increasing population.

Colonial expansion and land confiscation

The town borders the colonies of Pisgat Ze’ev, HaGiv’a HaTsarfatit (French Hill), Ramat Eshkol, and Ramat Shlomo. As a result of its strategic location as a northern suburb of occupied Jerusalem, Shu'fat has been subjected to numerous land confiscations as part of the rapidly escalating process of Zionization and colonisation of Jerusalem. In 2013, the occupation bulldozed the agricultural lands and removed olive trees in order to open Road 21 which links Jerusalem with colonies such as Ramot Shlomo, Ramot, etc. In 2011, the occupation municipality activated the light rail train that passes through Shu’fat and serves the surrounding colonies of Pizgat Ze’ev and the French Hill.

Development and house demolitions

Access to land and building permits are considered to be among the most difficult problems facing the residents of Shu'fat. The reason for this is two-fold: the high cost of land and the high cost of applying for and obtaining a permit for construction. Shu’fat is characterized by its strategic location in occupied Jerusalem. Its proximity to the Old City and al-Aqsa Mosque makes it an important target for Zionisation and colonisation activities. As a result, the Jerusalem occupation municipality imposes severe restrictions on building permits.

Shu’fat lacks critical open spaces and access to land for residential expansion which has caused high population density. Regarding the demolition of houses in Shu’fat during 2012, al-Maqdese Organization reported that it witnessed the demolition of three buildings in Shu’fat whcich displaced seven Palestinians.5

Shu'fat