Dair Al Balah


January 20, 2022

Deir al-Balah is a Palestinian city located in the center of the Gaza Strip, and is the administrative capital of Deir al-Balah Governorate. The city is located 14 kilometers south of Gaza City, 92 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem, and has a population of 54,439, according to the 2007 census. Deir al-Balah dates back to the Late Bronze Age when it was one of the strongholds of the modern Egyptian kingdom. In the middle of the fourth century AD, the Christian monk Hilarius built a monastery there, and this monastery is known at the present time as Maqam al-Khidr. In the era of the Crusades, Deir al-Balah was the site of a strategic coastal fortress known as Darom, a Semitic word meaning south. This fortress was the subject of an ongoing dispute between the Crusaders and the Ayyubids and was continuously vandalized and demolished until it was finally demolished in 1196. Deir al-Balah grew after that to become a large village on the postal route of the Mamluk state between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. Deir al-Balah later became a diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem during the reign of the Ottomans until the late nineteenth century. The city’s population tripled due to the influx of refugees as a result of the Nakba in 1948, and Deir al-Balah - under the Egyptian administration at the time - was a prosperous agricultural town until it was occupied by the Israeli forces in the Six-Day War in 1967. After 27 years of Israeli control, Deir al-Balah became the first city to be governed Palestinian self-determination in 1994. Since the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, Deir al-Balah has been subjected to repeated Israeli invasions, under the pretext of stopping the firing of Qassam rockets at Israel.


Deir al-Balah has been called by this name since the late nineteenth century in relation to the palm grove located to the west of the city, and before that it was known locally as the Monastery of Saint George or Deir al-Khader, as well as the Deir Darum in the Ottoman records. It is derived from the Latin word (domus graecorum) which means "house of the Greeks". While the Dutch historian Albertus Schultens (1686 - 1750) had a different opinion, saying that the name was derived from the ancient Hebrew root "Darum" or "Druma" meaning south, in reference to the area south of Lydda, i.e. the southern parts of the coastal plain. and the Hebron Valley, in addition to the northern part of the Negev Desert. It is worth noting that the name "Al-Darum" or "Al-Diran" was used in the first period of Arab rule to refer to the southern region of Beit Jibrin.


Ancient Era

The history of Deir al-Balah dates back to the middle of the fourteenth century BC during the Bruges period

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