Palestinian sacred/heritage sites (makam) in the Etzyon Bloc

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Nurit and Irit (report and photos), Ra’ed (driver)
שדה של

Here once were Palestinian sacred heritage sites

The cucumber field of Khaled from Al Khader village is situated between the settler-colony of Neve Daniel and the settler-colonist outpost of Sde Boaz. In order to tend it, he must walk from Al Khader. Access by vehicle is blocked by the settler-colony Neve Daniel and the checkpoint placed on the dirt track that bypasses it.

We reached his carefully tended vineyard as we searched for the Nabi Daniyal maqam.
The voices emerging from the vineyard led us to Khaled. Nearly every field fenced in by a low stone wall has a one-room stone house on it, a yard and a water hole. Khaled inherited his house from his forefathers, and he uses it to rest from the day’s toil and to store his work tools.

Among the green cucumbers Khaled placed sculptures that from afar resemble women bending down tending the field. What is the meaning of this? We asked. These are scarecrows that guard the field against marauding gazelles and hares. Does that help? Very much so!

Access to the field via road 60 is blocked by the settler-colony and the barrier placed on the dirt track that bypasses it.

We asked him where Nabi Daniyal maqam was.

He told us it disappeared 15 years ago, and agreed to show us where it had always stood, serving several villages, among them Nahaleen, Al Khader and Beit Zakariya.

Who demolished it? Where did its ancient stones disappear to? He had no idea. A year before it disappeared, the settler-colony outpost of Sde Boaz was erected opposite the maqam. The settler-colonists frequent the place, and over the years they have placed picnic tables there, held educational projects and even an arbor still stands there since the Jewish holiday of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) was last celebrated. The both ancient and young oak trees there give breezy shade that is cool even on a very hot day.

In order to reach the site by car we had to cross settler-colony Neve Daniel whose gate was opened for us, and pass the electrical gate connecting the settler-colony, the maqam  and the outpost. As we had no code for the gate we waited, entering and exiting, until the gate opened by a local, and our nifty driver Raed was quick to pass through.

Bet Zakariya
From Nabi Daniyal maqam, ruined by the settler-colonists, we drove towards the maqam-mosque of Nabi Zakariya and the hamlet named after it, caged in between the giant settler-colonies of the Etzyon Bloc.

600 Palestinians live in the ancient village of Bet Zakariya. They have only a single mosque with no minaret. 35 years ago they began erecting a minaret above the maqam but this construction was stopped by the Civil Administration as a result of the Etzyon Bloc settler-colonists’ objections. Many appeals were made to the Supreme Court but were rejected. The settler-colonists don’t want to hear the muezzin’s voice from a minaret.

The monumental synagogue at Neve Daniel

Every single one of the giant settler-colonies in the area contains a fancy synagogue for the occupiers, planned by Israel’s architects.


Dror Etkes: The mythology of the ‘Jewish lands’ on which the Etzyhon settler-colonist bloc was erected – from Sicha Mekomit (‘local call’) website, late 2016: