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Title: Sa'ir  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Al-Uddeisa, Hebron Governorate, Beit Einun, Tarqumiyah, Idhna
Collection: Cities in the West Bank, Hebron Governorate
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Other transcription(s)
 • Arabic سعير
 • Also spelled Sa'eer (official)
Saiour (unofficial)
Skyline of Sa'ir, 2009
Skyline of Sa'ir, 2009
Sa'ir is located in the Palestinian territories
Location of Sa'ir within Palestine
Palestine grid 163/110
Governorate Hebron
 • Type Municipality
 • Head of Municipality Hakim Shlalda
 • Jurisdiction 117,000 dunams (117.0 km2 or 45.2 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 • Jurisdiction 18,045
Name meaning blazing flame, hell.

Sa'ir (Arabic: سعير‎, also spelled Saeer, Seir, or Si'ir)[1] is a Palestinian town in the Hebron Governorate in the southern West Bank located 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) northeast of Hebron. Nearby localities include Beit Fajjar and al-Arroub to the north, Beit Ummar to the northwest, Halhul to the west and Beit Einun and ash-Shuyukh to the south. The Dead Sea is just east of Sa'ir's municipal borders.[2] In the 2007 census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of over 18,045.[3]

It has municipal jurisdiction over 117,000 dunams, 6,000 of which is built-up area and 11,715 of which is cultivated. The main economic activities in Sa'ir are agriculture and the Israeli labor market, although the latter has been adversely affected as a result of the Israeli restrictions following the Second Intifada in 2000-04. Olives are the major cash crop.[2]


  • Name 1
  • History 2
    • Ottoman era 2.1
    • British Mandate era 2.2
    • Modern era 2.3
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5


According to the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), Sa'ir "was established on the town of Saeer (صعير) or Saiour (صعيور)", and during the Roman era the town was known as "Sior".[2] The Book of Joshua (15:54) mentions a town in this area called Tsi`or (ציער, also transliterated Sior or Zior). The Hebrew name is related to a root meaning "small".


Mosque and tomb of Esau in Sa'ir, 2008

Byzantine ceramics have been found.[4] The Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP), wrote that: "The tomb of El 'Ais (Esau), south of the village, is in a chamber 37 feet east and west by 20 feet north and south, with a Mihrab on the south wall. The tomb is 12 feet long, 3 1/2 feet broad, 5 feet high, covered with a dark green cloth and a canopy above. An ostrich egg is hung near. North of the chamber is a vaulted room of equal size, and to the east is an open court with a fig-tree, and a second cenotaph rudely plastered, said to be that of Esau's slave. Rock-cut tombs exist south-west of this place."[5]

Ottoman era

In 1596 Sa'ir appeared in the Ottoman tax registers as part of the nahiya of Halil in the Liwa of Quds. It had an entirely Muslim population consisting of 72 households. Taxes were paid on wheat, barley, summer crops, olive trees, goats and/or beehives.[6]

The French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village in the 1860s, and found it having about 400 inhabitants.[7] SWP described Sa'ir in 1883 as "a village of moderate size, in a valley surrounded with cultivated ground." A maqam ("saintly person tomb") located in Sa'ir was believed by the local Muslims to house the tomb of Esau who they referred to as "Aisa." The SWP stated this identification was false and that Esau's tomb was in the Biblical Mount Seir.[8][9][10]

Under the name Sa'in, an Ottoman village list of about 1870 indicated 84 houses and a population of 186, though it is proposed that the population count included only men.[11][12]

British Mandate era

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Sa'ir had a population of 1,477, all Muslim.[13] In the 1931 census the population of Si'ir was a total of 1,967, still entirely Muslim, in 388 inhabited houses.[14] In 1945 the population of Si'ir was 2,710, all Arabs, who owned 92,423 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[15] 2,483 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 10,671 for cereals,[16] while 76 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[17]

Modern era

Part of Sa'ir's old town, 2008
Skyline of Sa'ir covered by snow, 2013

In the wake of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and after the 1949 Armistice Agreements, Sa'ir came under Jordanian rule, before being occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Following the 1993 Oslo Accords Sa'ir was designated within "Area B" giving the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) control over the town's civil affairs while Israel maintained its control over security. In 1997, an elected 13-member municipal council was established by the PNA to administer Sa'ir. Its municipal borders include a number of small villages, including al-Uddeisa, ad-Duwwara, Irqan Turad, Kuziba, Wadi ar-Rum and Ras at-Tawil. Principal families include Shlaldah, Froukh, Jaradat, Mtur, al-Jabarin, al-Kawazbeh and al-Turweh.[2] Hakim Shlaldah was elected mayor in the 2005 municipal elections.[18]

In January, 2013, Rafat Jaradat, 30 years old, from Sa'ir, died in jail five days after he was arrested by the Israelis. Israeli sources said his death was caused by "sudden heart attack while under interrogation", while Palestinian officials said that Jaradat had been tortured while in Israeli detention. His body had bruises and broken ribs, which the Israelis said came from attempts to revive him, while his brother said it looked as if Jaradat had been severely beaten.[19][20][21]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 408
  2. ^ a b c d Sa'ir Town Profile. Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem. 2008. Retrieved on 2012-03-12.
  3. ^ 2007 PCBS Census Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. p.118.
  4. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 936
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 379.
  6. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 122.
  7. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 150
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 309.
  9. ^ Conder, 1881, p. 215-6 in PEFQS
  10. ^ Conder, 1889, p. 123-4 in PEFQS
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Hebron, p. 10
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 33
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 50
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 94
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 144
  18. ^
  19. ^ Palestinian prisoner dies during interrogation in Israeli jail, 24 February 2013, The Independent
  20. ^ What killed Arafat Jaradat?, 02.03.13, Haaretz
  21. ^ Palestinian Arafat Jaradat gets hero's funeral after death in Israeli custody


  • p. 150-1

External links

  • Welcome To Sa'eer
  • Survey of Western Palestine, Map 21: IAA,
  • Sa'ir Town (Fact Sheet)
  • Aerial Photo
  • Needs for development in Sa'ir town based on the community and local authorities’ assessment
  • Israeli Colonists set Olive Trees on Fire in Sa'ir Town 04, June, 2010, ARIJ
  • Israeli Colonists Plough 20 Dunums of the Town of Sa’ir in Hebron Governorate. 01, January, 2011, ARIJ
  • Israeli Colonists Level Tens of Dunums of Palestinian lands in Sa'ir town- Hebron Governorate 19, August, 2011, ARIJ
  • Military Demolition Orders in Sa’ir Village northeast of Hebron City at the Southern parts of the West Bank 20, August, 2011, ARIJ
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