'Aqqaba is identified with Iqbin (Hebrew: אקבין), mentioned in the 6th-7th century Mosaic of Reḥob as a Jewish settlement in the region of Sebastia inhabited mostly by non-Jews and, therefore, agricultural produce obtained from the area could be taken by Jews without the normal restrictions imposed during the Sabbatical years, or the need for tithing.
'Aqqaba, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the census of 1596, the village was located in the Nahiya of Jabal Sami of the Liwa of Nablus. The population was 22 households and 5 bachelors, all Muslim. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 33.3% on various agricultural products, such as wheat, barley, summer crops, olive trees, goats and/or beehives, in addition to "occasional revenues"; a total of 5,982 akçe.
In 1870 Victor Guérin found the village to have 130 inhabitants, who had a mosque in the eastern part of the village.
In 1882, the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "a good sized village on the northern slope of Ras el Akra. It is surrounded with brushwood on the hills, but has arable land below."
In the 1945 statistics the population was 600; 20 Christians and 580 Muslims, with 8,068 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey. Of this, 1,259 dunams were used for plantations and irrigable land, 4,284 dunams were for cereals, while 54 dunams were built-up (urban) land.
'Aqqaba is made up of three main families: Abu Arra, Abu Ghannam and al-Masri. During clear weather, Haifa could be seen from the west on the Merranean Sea as well as the summit of Jabal ash-Sheikh in Lebanon, while from the east the mountains of Ajloun in Jordan are clearly seen day and night. 'Aqqaba is the highest point in the Tubas Governorate. 'Aqqaba lies five kilometers east the Arab American University.
^Aaron Demsky, The Permitted Villages of Sebaste in the Reḥov Mosaic, Israel Exploration Journal (vol. 29, no. 3/4), Jerusalem 1979, p. 189. "איקבין is identified by Sussmann with the village 'Aqabah (map ref. 1830 1953)."