Gilo (Hebrew: גִּלֹה) is an
Israeli settlement in
south-western East Jerusalem, with a population of 40,000, mostly
Jewish inhabitants. Although it is located within the Jerusalem
Municipality, it is widely considered a settlement, because as one of
the five Ring Neighborhoods built by Israel surrounding Jerusalem, it
was built on land in the
West Bank that was occupied by and annexed to
Israel following the 1967
Six-Day War and 1980 Jerusalem
Law. The international community regards Israeli
settlements illegal under international law, although Israel disputes
this. Israel also disputes its designation as a settlement, and
it is administered as part of the
Map of the
2.1 Biblical era
2.2 Modern era
4 Schools and institutions
5 Settlement debate
6 Arab-Israeli conflict
7 Notable residents
8 See also
10 External links
Panoramic view of
Jerusalem from Gilo
Gilo from Beit Jala
Gilo is located on a hilltop in southwestern
East Jerusalem separated
Beit Jala by a deep gorge. The Tunnels Highway to Gush Etzion
runs underneath it on the east, and the settlement of
Har Gilo is
visible on the adjacent peak.
Beit Safafa and Sharafat are located
north of Gilo, while
Bethlehem is to the South.
A site dating to the period of Israelite settlement during Iron Age I
(1200 – 1000 BC) was identified and excavated at Gilo. The site
revealed a small planned settlement with dwellings along the perimeter
of the site, together with pottery dating to the twelfth century
BC. The southern part of the Iron Age site at
Gilo is believed to
be one of the earliest Israelite sites from this period. The site
was surrounded by a defensive wall and divided into large yards,
possibly sheep pens, with houses at the edges. Buildings at the site
are amongst the earliest examples of the pillared four room house
characteristic of Iron Age Israelite architecture, featuring a
courtyard divided by stone pillars, a rectangular back room and rooms
along the courtyard. The foundations of a structure built of large
stones were also uncovered, possibly a fortified defense tower.
The biblical town of
Gilo is mentioned in the
Book of Joshua
Book of Joshua (Joshua
15:51) and the
Book of Samuel
Book of Samuel (II Sam 15:12). Some scholars
believe that biblical
Gilo was located in the central Hebron Hills,
whereas the name of the modern settlement was chosen because of its
proximity to Beit Jala, possibly a corruption of Gilo. A cit
During the construction of Gilo, archaeologists discovered a fortress
and agricultural implements from the period of the
First Temple period
above the shopping center on Rehov Haganenet. Between Givat Canada and
Gilo Park, they unearthed the remains of a farm and graves from the
Second Temple period. Roman and Byzantine remains have also been found
at various sites.
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Egyptian army positioned its
artillery at Gilo, heavily shelling West Jerusalem. An attempt to
Gilo was beaten back in a fierce battle.
Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, located just north-east of Gilo, changed hands
three times, ultimately remaining part of Israel, but
Gilo remained on
the side of the Green Line held by the Kingdom of Jordan until
In 1970, the Israeli government expropriated 12,300 dunams of land to
build Ring Neighborhoods around
Jerusalem on land conquered in the
Gilo was established in 1973. According to an Israeli municipal
Gilo land had been legally purchased by Jews before
World War II, much of it during the 1930s, and that
had not relinquished their ownership of their land when the area was
captured by the Jordanians in the 1948 War. According to other
sources, the land belonged to the Palestinian villages of Sharafat,
Beit Jala and Beit Safafa. With its expansion over the years,
Gilo has formed a wedge between
Jerusalem and Beit Jala-Bethlehem.
Beit Or hostel
From its inception,
Gilo has provided housing to new
from around the world. Many of those who spent their first months in
the country at the immigrant hostel in Gilo, including those from
Iran, Syria, France and South America, chose to remain in the
neighborhood. Since the large influx of
Soviet Jews in the 1990s, Gilo
has absorbed 15% of all immigrants of that wave settling in
Jerusalem. The immigrant hostel is now the site of an urban
kibbutz, Beit Yisrael.
Gilo is a mixed community of religious and
secular Jews, although more
Haredi families are moving in.
Schools and institutions
Beit Or (Home of Light), a hostel for autistic young adults, opened in
Gilo in March 2008. The Ilan home for handicapped adults is
located in Gilo.
Gilo has 35 synagogues. In 2009, the Gilo
community center, one of the largest in the country, introduced a new
hybrid water heating system that saves energy and greatly reduces
Gilo has a large adventure playground for
Gilo shopping center and residential towers
Gilo is located beyond the 1949 Green Line, on land occupied
since the Six Day War, the United Nations, the European Union
and Japan refer to it as an illegal settlement.
Israel disputes this, and considers it a neighborhood of
Jerusalem. In an interview with the
Jerusalem Post, Gilo
community council director Yaffa Shitrit, invited the world "to come
and see the neighborhood of
Gilo and to understand the geography.
We're not a settlement, we're part of the city of Jerusalem, we're a
neighborhood like Katamon." Palestinians regard it as occupied
territory and make no distinction between
Gilo and the West Bank
Plans to expand
Gilo have drawn criticism from the United States and
United Kingdom. Israel maintains that it has the right to build freely
Gilo because the neighborhood is within (expanded) Jerusalem
municipal borders and not a
West Bank settlement. In 2009, the
Jerusalem Planning Committee approved construction of 900 new housing
units in Gilo, sparking a fresh round of global criticism.
Concrete wall decorated with landscape mural built to shield Gilo
residents from Palestinian gunfire (dismantled in 2010)
From 2000, Beit Jala, a predominantly
Palestinian Christian town, was
used as a base by Fatah's
Tanzim gunmen to launch sniper and mortar
attacks against Gilo. The Israeli government built a concrete
barrier and installed bulletproof windows in the homes and schools on
the periphery of Gilo, facing Beit Jala. The attacks on Gilo
subsided after Operation Defensive Shield, with the rate slowing to
three incidents of gunfire that year. On August 15, 2010,
following years of relative quiet, the IDF started dismantling the
concrete barrier, nearly a decade after its construction.
Seventeen of the 19 passengers killed in the Patt Junction bus bombing
were residents of Gilo.
Eli Amir (born 1937), writer and civil servant
Yisrael Friedman (born 1923), rabbi
Rami Levy (born 1955), founder of Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing
Positions on Jerusalem
List of modern names for biblical place names
^ "UN official:
Gilo expansion threatens Middle East peace". Haarerz.
24 November 2009.
^ a b "Israel Angers Palestinians With Plan for Housing". New York
Times. September 27, 2011.
^ a b c KERSHNER, ISABEL (November 17, 2009). "Plan to Expand
Jerusalem Settlement Angers U.S." The New York Times. Retrieved
February 24, 2010.
^ BEN-DAVID, LENNY (2007-12-15). "The strategic significance of Har
Homa (op-ed)". The
Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
^ "Israel dismantles security barrier at Gilo". BBC News. August 16,
^ Israel approves 942
Jewish homes in
Gilo settlement (BBC, April 5th,
^ a b "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. December 10, 2009. Retrieved
November 27, 2010.
^ Arafat's media do support
Jerusalem bus bombing – Likud of
^ a b c Mazar, Amihai, (1994) “The Iron Age I” in Ben-Tor, Amnon
(Ed.), “The Archaeology of Ancient Israel”, pp. 286–295, Yale
University Press, ISBN 0-300-05919-1
Gilo & Har Choma Archived 2007-02-27 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b c LIDMAN, MELANIE (2009-11-29). "Housing on the horizon?". The
Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
^ A history of Jerusalem's highest neighborhood
^ Rosenthal, Donna (2003). The Israelis: ordinary people in an
extraordinary land. Simon & Schuster, New York. p. 397 note
16. ISBN 0-684-86972-1. “According to former Jerusalem
municipal planner, Israel Kimhi...”
^ a b Shaul Ephraim Cohen (1993). The politics of planting:
Israeli-Palestinian competition for control of land in the Jerusalem
periphery (Illustrated ed.). University of Chicago Press.
ISBN 0-226-11276-4. ISBN 9780226112763.
^ Ashkenasi, Abraham (1999). Abraham Ashkenasi, ed. The future of
Jerusalem. P. Lang. p. 293. ISBN 0-8204-3505-8.
ISBN 9780820435053. "
Gilo It was established in 1973 on Beit
Safafa, Sharafat and
Beit Jala land..."
Jerusalem neighborhoods: Gilo
^ A house for life
Gilo Residence of the Ilan Foundation
^ Our Jerusalem: Pain and sorrow are not a sign of weakness
^ Waldoks, Ehud Zion (2013-03-24). "Hybrid water heating system to be
Gilo community center". The
Jerusalem Post. Retrieved
^ Israel hot spots:
^ SECRETARY-GENERAL DEPLORES ISRAEL'S SETTLEMENT EXPANSION DECISION
November 17, 2009
^ a b PHILLIPS, LEIGH (November 19, 2009). "EU rebukes Israel for
Jerusalem settlement expansion". EUobserver.com. Retrieved February
^ McGlynn, John (December 28, 2008). "Japan, Israeli Settlements, and
the Future of a Palestinian State". The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan
Focus (52-1-09). Retrieved February 25, 2010.
Gilo residents issue invitation to the world
^ Klein Halevi, Yossi (December 22, 2000). "The War Within East
Jerusalem (op-ed)". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25,
^ Jeffrey Heller (Nov 18, 2009). "Obama criticizes Israel over
Gilo Waits for Deliverance As Mideast Violence Goes On
^ Fields of Fire, Time Magazine
^ It's Back-to-School Day for Israeli children on Gilo's front line,
Los Angeles Times
^ Shooting and buying, Haaretz
Gilo Parts With the Concrete Barrier After a Decade, Ynet
^ Mideast turmoil: In Jerusalem, Despair and Determination
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gilo.
Israeli Army Leaves Palestinian Town In
West Bank After 2 Days of
Tension, Clyde Haberman, New York Times
Widening Hostilities, Israel Kills Chief of P.L.O. Faction, Joel
Greenberg, New York Times
Israeli troops won't relinquish
West Bank town Michele Chabin, USA
Israelis leaving Beit Jala, say Palestinians, CNN
Israeli barrier draws artists to a cause Matthew Kalman, The Boston
To truly see Jerusalem, try varied perspectives, Steven Erlanger, San
Diego Union Tribune
School Students Heard Explosion Outside Associated Press
Blast Hits Palestinian HQ, CBS News
Gilo, settlements, and the Green Line in perspective
Neighborhoods of Jerusalem
Jerusalem neighborhoods east of the 1949 armistice line are depicted
in green, those west of the line in blue (see Green Line).
Kiryat Shomrei Emunim
Kiryat Menachem Begin
Givat Beit HaKerem
Ramat Beit HaKerem
See also: Courtyard Neighborhoods • Ring Neighborhoods
Coordinates: 31°43′53″N 35°11′11″E / 31.73139°N