Beersheba and the Dynamics of a Palestinian City

Bedouin networks with Gaza, Jerusalem, and Istanbul

Authored by: Mansour Nasasra

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Cities

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650749
eBook ISBN: 9781315625164
Adobe ISBN:


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Based on oral history testimonies, British archival documents, and local Palestinian newspapers, this chapter considers the historical aspects of Beersheba’s centrality as a key city in southern Palestine, from late Ottoman rule to the Nakba of 1948, arguing that, along with its connection to other Palestinian cities (e.g., Gaza, Hebron, Jerusalem), Beersheba never disengaged from the rest of Palestine. Since its foundation in 1900, Beersheba has come to resemble a mosaic of Palestinian society, with merchants from all over Palestine alongside Gazans, Bedouins, Hebronites, and members of other urban and agricultural communities. The dynamics between Beersheba and these groupings developed mainly through economic, trade, and social relations among families and through education. Today, the city remains a significant economic and political hub for the Bedouin.

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