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Tulkarm Logo.jpg
Municipal Seal of Tulkarm
Tulkarm is located in the Palestinian territories
Arabic طولكرم
Governorate Tulkarm
Government City
Also spelled Tulkarem (officially)

Tul Qarem (unofficially)

Coordinates 32°18′41.50″N 35°01′37.34″E / 32.311528°N 35.0270389°E / 32.311528; 35.0270389Coordinates: 32°18′41.50″N 35°01′37.34″E / 32.311528°N 35.0270389°E / 32.311528; 35.0270389
Population 58,950 (includes refugee camp) (2006)

28,793  dunams (28.8 km²)

Founded in 3rd Century
Head of Municipality Mahmoud al-Jallad

Tulkarm or Tulkarem (Arabic: طولكرم‎,Hebrew: טול כרם‎), Ṭūlkarm is a Palestinian city in the Tulkarm Governorate in the extreme northwestern West Bank and North-Central Israel. 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.[1] Its land area consists of 28,793 dunam.



Tulkarm was originally 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 Aramaic words "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.[2]

Tulkarm gained more importance when the Ottomans—who ruled the area since 1517—granted the small town the status of a township in 1886, giving it precedence over the nearby villages, during this time Qalqilya was 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.[3] 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.[2][3] The local Burqawi family controlled the area around the city in the 19th century.[4] The Ottoman Army used Tulkarm as a base during World War I, but in 1918, the city was captured by British forces.[2] A large portion of Tulkarm was captured by the Israel 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, others parts of the district of Tulkarm, especialy the remaining part in the West Bank were captured in the 1948-1949 ,mostly for strategic purposes of controling the Jezreel and the Samarian Highlands. 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. The remaining portion of Tulkarm was captured during the 1967 Six-Day War. It is also were the famous Kafr Qasem 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 Carmel and 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 the Mediterranean 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.

Archaeological findings reveal that an agglomeration has existed here at least since the Roman Period. In the past, Tulkarm has assumed the form of a small village, but it has expanded since the beginning of the 20th century due to an increase in the traffic passing through. This development came to a halt in the 1930s with the construction of the Petah Tikva-Hadera highway, which bypasses the town in the west. Despite the fact that the Israel-Jordan armistice border of 1949 encircled Tulkarm in the southwest, west and north-west, the city's population has increased considerably and it has become an administrative and agricultural center. The town has an agricultural school that was established during the British Mandate period with a monetary contribution by the philanthropist J.S. Kadoorie. In modern times, the school is recognized as a prominent community college in agriculture and teacher training.

Land use

Tulkarm was built over a higher area than that surrounding it. The land which was formed as a result of the new fourth epoch consists mostly of creeping sands from the west to the east. The mountainous valleys carry quantities of alluvium and gravel to Tulkarm's lands in seasons of heavy rain and floods, thus creating fertile soil. In addition, an aquifer feeds numerous wells and springs in the area.

Tulkarm's arable land allows the city inhabitants to produce citrus fruits, melons, olives, olive oil, tomatoes, potatoes, wheat, sesame, peanut, eggplant, peppers, green beans, guava, and other products. Land designations in the West Bank are defined by the recent "Oslo II" interim agreement, where Tulkarm proper is located in Area A, or under full Palestinian control.


The climate of Tulkarm is subtropical, with rainfall limited to the winter. The average temperature in the winter ranges from 8 to 16 °C (46 to 61 °F), while the average temperature in the summer ranges from 17 to 30 °C (63 to 86 °F). Tulkarm is distinguished by the moderating effect the sea breeze has on its climate. The average temperature doesn’t exceed 27 °C (81 °F) in August, while February's average temperature doesn’t fall below 13.5 °C (56 °F). Humidity is moderate in summer, about 40-70%, though it rises in winter to between 70-85%. Tulkarm receives in excess of 550 millimeters (21.7 in) of rain yearly, which is dispersed and intermittent, characteristic of the Mediterranean Basin.


The rainy season in the Tulkarm Governorate usually starts in October and continues through May. Between December and February, almost 70% of annual rainfall occurs, while 20% of annual rainfall occurs in October and November. Rain in June and September is rare and comes to negligible amounts. July and August have no rain at all, except for one rainfall of 1.5 millimeters (0.1 in) on July 10, 1995 in Tulkarm City (Tulkarm Agricultural Department). The mean annual rainfall in the city of Tulkarm is 642 millimeters (25.3 in) for the period from 1952 to 1995 (Tulkarm Agricultural Department).


The traditional costumes of women from Tulkarm were plain, dark-colored gowns without embroidery.[5] Today, embroidery is the main source of income for the women of the city. The most popular embroidered images are maps of historic Palestine. Musakhan, the national dish of the Palestinian people originated in Tulkarm and the surrounding area. It roughly consists of taboon bread garnished with sumac and onions.[2]



Roads in this district are classified into three categories, the first type is the solid surfaced roads with two lanes which connect Tulkarm and Qalqilya cities with other districts. The second one is the one-lane solid surfaced roads which connect most of the rural communities. The third type is the unpaved roads in the rural areas. It should be mentioned here that most of the roads in the Tulkarm district lack the basic safety requirements.

Public transportation services

Transportation services available in the Tulkarm district comprise public buses and taxis in addition to private vehicles. However, due to insufficiency of organized public transportation system, a high percentage of private vehicles are being used by their owners to transport passengers between communities. This kind of transportation is dangerous due to lack of safety requirements and because drivers operating these vehicles are not qualified to work in public transportation. Added to this is the lack of insurance and licensing in most of these cars, which makes such transportation risky.


Nearly 21% of the population in the Tulkarm district have access to a limited number of lever-turned telephones in rural areas and 27% of the population have access to automatic switchboards.


There is a two-year and a four-year college at Tulkarm called the Khodori Institute and Khodori University, Al-Quds Open University, and two colleges for An-Najah National University. There are four high schools—two for girls (Al'adawiyya and Jamal Abd-Al-Naser) and two for boys (Alfadeleyya and Ihsan Samarah)


Tulkarm has 2 semi-professional soccer teams; Thaqafi Tulkarm and Markez Shabab Tulkarm. Both are in the Palestinian League Division One and both are usually at or near the top of the standings.

People from Tulkarm


  1. ^ Projected Mid -Year Population for Tulkarm Governorate by Locality 2004- 2006 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
  2. ^ a b c d Semplici, Andrea and Boccia, Mario. Tulkarm: The Bountiful Mountain. Med Corporation. pp.3-8.
  3. ^ a b Karmi, 2004, p.20.
  4. ^ Doumani, 1995, p.54.
  5. ^ Karmi, 2004, p.22.



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