Tulkarm or Tulkarem (Arabic: Ø·ÙˆÙ„ÙƒØ±Ù…â€Ž, á¹¬Å«lkarm; Hebrew: ×˜×•×œ ×›×¨×â€Ž) is a Palestinian city in the Tulkarm Governoratein the extreme northwestern West Bank. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Tulkarm city and the adjacent refugee camp had a population of approximately 58,962 inhabitants at mid-year 2006. Its land area consists of 28,793 dunam.
Tulkarm was founded and settled by the Canaanites in 3000 BCE. The Romans also established the trading post Berat Soreqa at the site. After the Muslim conquest of Palestine in the 7th century CE, it received its current name “Tulkarm” which means “the bountiful mountain.” The Arabic name is derived from the Aramaicwords “Toor Karma,” meaning “mount of vineyards.” The modern locality was established by the Mamluks in the 13th century and it became a strategic center in western Palestine.
In 1596, Tulkarm appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Qaqun of the Liwa of Nablus. It had a population of 176 Muslim households and paid taxes on wheat, barley, summercrops, olives, goats or beehives and a press for olives or grapes.
Tulkarm gained more importance when the Ottomansâ€”who ruled the area since 1517â€”granted the small town the status of a township in 1886, giving it precedence over the nearby villages, during this time Qalqilyawas also part of the district of Tulkarm. In addition, Tulkarm gained an Ottoman governor, bringing the residents who numbered only a few thousand and were mostly fellahin, closer to the government. In 1908, the Ottomans turned Tulkarm into a major rail junction on the Hejaz railway line running up from Egypt and southern Palestine to Haifa in the northwest, and Syria and Transjordan to the east. The local Burqawi family controlled the area around the city in the 19th century. The Ottoman Army used Tulkarm as a base duringWorld War I, but in 1918, the city was captured by British forces.
At the time of the 1931 census, Tulkarm had 804 occupied houses and a population of 4540 Muslims, 255 Christians, 18 Jews, 12 Samaritans, and 2 Druses. The census also listed “Tul Karm Suburbs” as having 516 Muslims, 15 Jews and 10 Christians.
A large portion of Tulkarm was captured by theIsrael Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War including present-day Netanya, Kafr Qasem,umm Khalid lands, Miska, Tantura, and other areas that were then incorporated into Israel, the majority of the city and other parts of the districts of Tulkarm and Jenin, especially the remaining portion in the West Bank were captured in the 1948-1949, but not all of them were incorporated into Israel proper right away, but were kept under military rule (mostly for strategic purposes of controlling the Jezreel and the Samarian Highlands against Arab forces). But they remained under the classification of disputed territories at the armistice lines between the Jordanian and Iraqi army controlled West Bank and Israel, until 1967 when they were reclassified as being in the West Bank, even though most of the Tulkarm was captured were in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence but the city still had portions in the West Bank . The remaining portion of Tulkarm was captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. It is also the site of the famous Kafr Qasim massacre happened.
The city is situated on the western part of the northern West bank, in the foothills of the Samarian mountains about 15 kilometers (9 mi) west of Nablus and 15 kilometers (9 mi) east of the Israeli coastal town of Netanya. It is bordered by the 1948 cease-fire line in the west. Its central location between a plain and a mountain has made it commercially and strategically significant and has had a great effect on its growth. In the past, Tulkarm was a caravan station and a trading center for products from the city’s surrounding villages and farms, as well as a point from which armies crossed to Egypt and the Levant (al-Sham).
Tulkarm is at the crossroads of three historically important arteries: A road which runs north from the Latrun area along the edge of the plain to Mount Carmeland the Galilee, a road which winds northward along the outer tier of hills from the Ajalon valley to the Jezreel Valley, and a road that rises from theMediterranean Sea at modern-day Netanya east to Nablus. In the past it was a junction of the coastal railroad from north of Haifa to Cairo and a branch of the narrow gauge Hejaz railway to Damascus.