al-Muharraqa is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic المحرّقة
Also Spelled al-Muharrqah
District Gaza
Coordinates 31°28′01.29″N 34°36′40.71″E / 31.467025°N 34.6113083°E / 31.467025; 34.6113083Coordinates: 31°28′01.29″N 34°36′40.71″E / 31.467025°N 34.6113083°E / 31.467025; 34.6113083
Population 580 (1945)
Area 4,855 dunums

4.9 km²

Date of depopulation May 25, 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Yakhini, T'kuma

Al-Muharraqa (Arabic: المحرّقة‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the District of Gaza, located 14.5 kilometers (9.0 mi) east of Gaza City. The village laid on rolling terrain on the southern coastal plain of Palestine, on a bend in the wadi. It had an elevation of 125 meters (410 ft) and a total land area of 4,855 dunams, most of which was public property, while its built-up area of 29 dunams was Arab-owned. Al-Muharraqa was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. [2]



Although not mentioned in Byzantine sources, al-Muharraqa was inhabited during this period, according to archeological evidence. During the Mamluk period from the 13th to 15th centuries, the lands and surplus agricultural produce of al-Muharraqa were dedicated as a waqf for the maintenance of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the Great Mosque of Gaza. It was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and by 1596, it was under the administration of the nahiya of Gaza, part of the Sanjak of Gaza, and had a population of 457. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, beehives, and goats.[2]

Al-Muharraqa was likely abandoned in either the 17th or 18th centuries, since it lacked mention by travelers, but was repopulated in the late 1870s. During the British Mandate period, the overall layout of the village was rectangular, and continued to expand in a rectangular pattern along the roads leading the highway and the village of Kawfakha. The houses of the village were constructed of mud bricks, and there was a mosque and a school; the latter opened in 1945 with an enrollment of 60 students. The mosque, school, and a number of small shops constituted al-Muharraqa's nucleus. Water for household use was primarily obtained from a slightly salty 90 meters (300 ft) well, but was supplemented with rainwater which collected in some shallow domestic wells. Agriculture was the main source of income, especially the village's chief crop, barley. Figs, grapes, and almonds were also cultivated.[2]

1948 War

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the village with Kawfakha was raided by the Palmach's Negev Brigade on May 27-28, and a New York Times correspondent reported it was officially captured on May 29.[3] Israeli historian Benny Morris claims most of al-Muharraqa's inhabitants were driven out at that time, but it was not thoroughly destroyed and depopulated until August 16; Israeli forces were officially observing the second truce, however, Morris writes that they proceeded to mine and destroy the village for "military reasons".[2]

Jewish localities established afterward include the settlement of Yakhini built north of the village site in 1950, and T'kuma in 1949, although the latter was built on lands belonging to the city of Gaza, but just 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) west of al-Muharraqa's village site. Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village remains:

The site is overgrown with thorny plants and short grasses and surrounded by eucalyptus trees. It is marked by piles of rubble from buildings, including the village diwan (a meeting and guest house). There are also the remnants of a mill and a well. The cemetery, overgrown with wild vegetation, still exists, in a dilapidated condition, and the fallen superstructure of one of the tombs is visible. The lands in the vicinity are cultivated by farmers.[2]

See also

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


  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xx, village #367. Also gives cause of depopulation
  2. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.127.
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p 258


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