Qalqilia is located 14 km from the Mediterranean Sea near the Green Line. It is 80 km northeast of Jerusalem, and sits at an altitude of 60 – 70m above sea level. As of 2011, there were about 100,000 inhabitants in the district of Qalqilya(PCBS). The Governorate of Qalqilya contains 34 villages. The area is also home to many archaeological ruins and other tourist destinations, but most sites are in need of rehabilitation. Despite that, in recent years, the city has become very active because of the beauty of the region, with its green areas and orchards, and availability of water.
The area around Qalqilya has been populated since prehistoric times, and prehistoric flint tools have been found in the area of the modern town. In Roman times, a way-station existed in the location called Cala-c’Aliya. Invading armies, many of which came from the Mediterranean coast just 12 km away, often came through Qalqilya. Its current name comes from the Arabic Qala’alia, meaning ‘high fortress.’ During the subsequent Muslim rules of the area, the town was populated with Arab inhabitants.
Following the Oslo Accords, the town came under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. Since 2003, the Israeli Separation Wall has been built to completely encircle Qalqilya, separating the city from agricultural lands on the other side of the wall, leading to anger and protests from many of the citizens of the city.