Dayr Sunayd

Dayr Sunayd
Dayr Sunayd
Dayr Sunayd is located in Mandatory Palestine
Dayr Sunayd
Arabic دير سنيد
Name Meaning "Monastery of Sunayd"
Also Spelled Deir Suneid, Deir Sineid
District Gaza
Coordinates 31°34′28.05″N 34°33′17.98″E / 31.5744583°N 34.5549944°E / 31.5744583; 34.5549944Coordinates: 31°34′28.05″N 34°33′17.98″E / 31.5744583°N 34.5549944°E / 31.5744583; 34.5549944
Population 730 (1945)
Area 6,081 dunums

6.1 km²

Date of depopulation Late October or early November 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities None

Dayr Sunayd (Arabic: دير سنيد‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the District of Gaza located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) northeast of Gaza. Situated at an elevation of 50 meters (160 ft) along the southern coastal plain of Palestine, Deir Sunayd had a total land area of 6,081 dunams.[2] Prior to its depopulation during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, it had 730 inhabitants in 1945.[3]



The first part of its name "Dayr" is Arabic for "Monastery", suggesting that it was once the site of a monastic order or a Christian population possibly resided there at one point of time. "Sunayd" was the name of an Arab tribe in the area. Under the Ottoman Empire, in 1596, Dayr Sunayd laid in the nahiya of Gaza, part of the Sanjak of Gaza. With a population of 66, it paid taxes on wheat, barley, fruit, beehives and goats.[4]

In the late 19th century, Dayr Sunayd was a moderate-sized village that was rectangular in shape, split into four quadrants by two roads that crossed at right in angles. It had adobe brick houses, eight wells, gardens, a pond, and at the center of the village was a mosque.[5] By the end of the British Mandate period, Dayr Sunayd had expanded west toward the coastal highway. A school was opened in 1945 with an enrollment of 63 students and a number of small shops were opened there as well. Agriculture was the primary source of income for most residents, followed by commerce.[3]

1948 War and aftermath

The date on which Dayr Sunayd was captured during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War cannot be specified, but the village was probably seized by Israeli forces in late October or early November 1948. It had come under aerial bombardment in Operation Yoav on October 15-16, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris. The New York Times reported that it was "pummeled" again on October 21.[3]

Dayr Sunayd also witnessed fighting in the early stages if the war, as Egyptian and Jewish forces battled for control of the village and the nearby town of Yad Mordechai shortly after May 15, 1948. The late president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser said that when spent the night at the Gaza Military Hospital, "the beds around me were filled with our wounded from the battle of Dayr Sunayd, which was still in progress". Abdel Nasser was critical of the Egyptian command's strategy at the battle, but nonetheless, it ended in an Egyptian victory "after heavy sacrifices and in spite of all the difficulties our forces encountered." Abdel Nasser's colleague Abdel Hakim Amer participated in the battle.[3]

There are no Jewish towns on village lands. According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the remains of Dayr Sunayd consist of "A railroad bridge, unused segments of track, and three of the train station's buildings are all that remain of Dayr Sunayd. The stone bridge is built astride a wadi and passes over four wide, round-arched culverts. The station's buildings are deserted and in a state of deterioration."[3]

See also

  • List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War


  1. ^ Note that Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #313, gives both date and cause of depopulation as "Not known"
  2. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p.92.
  3. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.93.
  4. ^ Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977), Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 147. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 93
  5. ^ SWP, 1881, Vol. 3, p.234, Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 93


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