Slightly southwest of Jenin lies Arraba, one of the larger towns in the pastoral northern West Bank. Arraba has traditionally been associated with the ancient Canaanite city Arubboth, which is mentioned in the biblical book of 1 Kings as an administrative center for the region under the reign of King Solomon.
During the Ottoman period, Arraba served as the seat of the Abd al-Hadi clan, a prominent family in the region that engaged actively in local and international politics. The clan was famous for its bitter rivalry with the Touquan clan of Nablus; and when the Ottoman forces withdrew their troops from the region in the mid-19th century to fight in the Crimean War, open conflict broke out between the two powerful families. Many of the villages surrounding Arraba were sacked in the ensuing clan battles.
When the Ottomans returned a few years later, they overthrew the Abd al-Hadi rulers, destroying their fortifications in Araba and plundering their palace. All members of the clan either fled or were captured; and with this triumph, the Ottomans eradicated the last independent rule in the Nablus region.
Today, visitors to Arraba can explore the Abd al-Hadi palace in the heart of the town, venturing further and further into the complex through a series of tall, stately gates and tiny doors hidden away in shadowy corners. The palace complex currently serves as Arraba’s municipality headquarters and a center for many community activities and events.
Sites in the Jenin Region:
While walking through the agriculturally and historically rich fields of the Dothan Valley, take a short detour to explore the archaeological findings of the nearby Tel Dothan excavations. As you go, peer into the depths of a few gaping stone wells that hark back to the story of Joseph – a narrative that unfolded in the very fields in which you are standing.
Climb the grassy hill outside the village of Ta’anek and poke around in the layers of archaeological history on top. Among the tall grasses and the shady olive groves, discover the remnants of ancient caves, burial sites, stone courtyards, and thick city walls – all against a background of sweeping views of the surrounding Jezreel Valley.