Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira


Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira
al-Masmiyya al-Kabira
al-Masmiyya al-Kabira is located in Mandatory Palestine
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al-Masmiyya al-Kabira
Arabic المسمية الكبيرة
Also Spelled al-Masmiyya
District Gaza
Coordinates 31°45′27.00″N 34°47′05.00″E / 31.7575°N 34.78472°E / 31.7575; 34.78472Coordinates: 31°45′27.00″N 34°47′05.00″E / 31.7575°N 34.78472°E / 31.7575; 34.78472
Population 2,520 (1945)
Area 20,687 dunums

20.7 km²

Date of depopulation July 8, 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Bene Re'em, Hatzav, Yinnon, Achawa

Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira (Arabic: المسمية الكبيرة‎) was a Palestinian village in the District of Gaza, located 41 kilometers (25 mi) northeast of Gaza.[2] With a land area of 20,687 dunams, the village site (135 dunams) was situated on an elevation of 75 meters (246 ft) along the coastal plain. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Before the war, it had a population of 2,520 in 1945.[3]

Contents

History

In 1596, Al-Masmiyya was a village in the nahiya of Gaza with a population of 385. It paid taxes on crops such as wheat and barley and other produce such as honey and goats.[4] Al-Masmiyya was mentioned by the Syrian Sufi traveler Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi in the mid-18th century.[5] The French traveler Volney noted that the village produced a great deal of spun-cotton.[6] The adjectival al-Kabira ("major") was later added to Masmiyya's name to distinguish it from the nearby al-Masmiyya al-Saghira, established in the mid-19th century. In the late 19th century, al-Masmiyya al-Kabira was laid out in a trapezoid-like pattern, with the long base of the trapezoid facing west. The village was surrounded by gardens and it's houses were constructed of adobe bricks or concrete. The most recent expansion of it was westward and southwestward.[7]

The population of al-Masmiyya al-Kabira was entirely Muslim and the village contained two mosques. There were also two schools. The boy's school was built in 1922 and had an enrollment of 307 students in 1947, while the girl's school was built in 1944 and had 39 students 1947. Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira was one of the few localities in the district to be governed by a village council. The town had a gas station and a clinic.[3]

Agriculture was the main economic activity of the village and the dominant crops were citrus and grains; in 1945, a total of 1,005 dunams were devoted to citrus, while 18,092 were allotted to grains. Beside crop cultivation, residents raised livestock and poultry. Some also worked in the nearby British Army camp. Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira had a weekly market on Thursdays that attracted residents from neighboring communities.[3]

1948 War and aftermath

The village was fenced in by Hagana forces purportedly to protect the village against Deir Yassin like incidents.[8] Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira was captured by the Israeli forces of the Givati Brigade during Operation An-Far. The New York Times reported that it had been occupied July 11, blocking an Egyptian attempt to break through to al-Latrun from the direction of al-Majdal. However, the Haganah claim it was captured during "several clearing operations in the brigade's rear guard, to eliminate the threat and danger posed by the presence of Arab civilian concentrations to the rear of the front."[3]

Morris reports that by 27 May 1949 21 of the approx 400 former Palestinian Arab villages had been repopulated by newly arrived ‘olim, Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira along with ‘Aqir, Zarnuqa, Yibna, Ijzim, Ein Hawd, Tarshiha, Safsaf, Tarbikha, Deir Tarif and that 6 more including Deir Yassin were slated for colonisation. [9]

According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, in reference to the remains of al-Masmiyya al-Kabira,

The two schools and several village houses are extant. The girls' school is deserted, while the boys' school has been converted into an Israeli army installation. Some of the houses are inhabited, but others have been turned into warehouses. One house serves as a shop where juice is sold. All are made of concrete with simple architectural features—flat roofs and rectangular doors and windows. A date palm tree grows in the yard of a house that belonged to a Palestinian named Tawfiq al-Rabi. An Israeli gas station is located on the same spot where the village's gas station (once the property of Hasan Abd al-Aziz and Nimr Muhanna) once stood. The lands in the vicinity are cultivated by Israeli farmers.[10]

Four Jewish settlements were established on village lands; Bene Re'em and Hatzav were founded in 1949, Yinnon in 1952 and Achawa in 1976.[3] A Palestinian Arab family was able to remain in the area and was used as Sabbath Goy by the community of Bene Re'em.[11]

See also

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

References

  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p xvii village #273, also gives depopulation method
  2. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p.124
  3. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.125.
  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. ISBN 3920405412 p. 149. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 130
  5. ^ Al-Rihla, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.130
  6. ^ Volney, 1788, p.336. Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 125
  7. ^ Conder and Kitchener, SWP II, 1881, p.411. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.125
  8. ^ WRMEA The Story of Al-Masmiyya Al-Kabira as I Know It By Maha Mehanna, Rimal, Gaza
  9. ^ Morris, Benny, (second edition 2004 third printing 2006) The Birth Of The Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-00967-7 p 395
  10. ^ Khalidi, 1992, pp.125-126.
  11. ^ Rosana Dolón, Júlia Todolí (2008) Analysing Identities in Discourse John Benjamins Publishing Company, ISBN 9027227195 p 102

Bibliography

External links


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