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1. Compilation of the Depopulated Villages List
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Posted by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta on August 7, 2001

An expanded list* of 531 localities ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Holocaust, exceeding in number previously published lists, is compiled. The list contains the following information on each locality: original Arabic name, geographical location according to Palestine Grid, district, population, land area, date of depopulation, reasons for exodus, Israeli offensive, defenders and massacres (if any). This data-base was processed to study various aspects of this extraordinary event.
According to Benny Morris, in his authoritative work (1987), the sequence of ethnic cleansing of Palestinian villages is classified in four waves:

  1. from December 1947, immediately after the UN recommendation of the Partition of Palestine on 29 November 1947, to March 1948,
  2. from April 1948, marking the onset of the Israeli offensive, known as Plan Dalet, until ll June 1948, the start of the First Truce, 
  3. from 9 July 1948, with the start of Israeli operations, Dani and Dekel, in the Ten Days fighting, till the end of the Second Truce on 15 October 1948 and
  4. from the breaking of the Second Truce by the Israeli operation Yo'av in the south and operation Hiram in the north, to their conclusion in November 1948.

Thereafter, the Israelis invaded Egyptian territory until al-Arish, from which they withdrew under British pressure, and invaded the Negev, which they kept occupied.
Morris identified 369 villages which had been ethnically cleansed and assigned the causes of exodus for most of them.
Walid Khalidi (1992), directing a team of Palestinian field researchers, listed 418 villages and provided a dictionary for each village which included: location, land ownership, population, a resume of the village history before 1948, how it was occupied and depopulated, Israeli settlements on its lands and description of the village or its remains today.
Khalidi meticulously revised the previous listings and arrived at a clear definition of his list; namely, the ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages with a distinct identity. Khalidi deliberately excluded towns and places where no permanent structures or a cluster of houses existed. Khalidi also cited other researchers who used different or no definitions; e.g. Al-Arif (399), Nijm and Muammer, who included part of Beer Sheba, (443) and Saleh (472). In all, Khalidi excluded 151 villages which appeared in one or another list.
In this study, a list of 531 localities is compiled, largely from the previously quoted Morris and Khalidi. The word locality is used to signify a town, a village or tribal land. Palestinian towns are included here for obvious reasons. Tribal land is included fully for the first time, because its inhabitants represent a significant part of the refugee population, over 100,000, in 1948 and their cultivated land is about 5,000,000 d. (donum = 1000 m2). An average sub-tribe (Ashira) would therefore have a typical population of 1,200, and cultivates about 60,000 d., which makes it comparable to any village.
Table 1 shows the classification of ethnically cleansed localities per district (as per Palestine Mandate Administration) listed as towns, villages, tribes by Morris (M), Khalidi (K) and this study (AS). As Table 1 shows, the notable difference is that Khalidi. excluded towns; Khalidi. and Morris excluded most of Beer Sheba District. In this study 78 new tribes and 9 Police Stations are taken into account. Each Police station had a typical community of 40, which grew at times to 100, had permanent structures, which frequently included a school and a trading post. Part of the small difference in the number of villages between Khalidi and this study arises from the inclusion of some villages, which, although ultimately repopulated by other villagers, have been the scene of massacres.

Table 1  

Note that by clicking on the district name below, you should be able to view many of listed towns associated with each district.


* This list is published by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), under the title: "The Palestinian Nakba 1948, The Register of Depopulated Localities in Palestine". A map (50 x 90 cm) is also published by the PRC showing the location of the depopulated villages in addition to 8 tables giving useful information about the refugees. At Palestine Remembered we have a similar scanned version of the map, it's 4 MB in size, however, it worth the download.



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Posted by Stefan on January 10, 2012 #140866

Growing up in a Jewish community in England, I was puzzled by the question of how the State of Israel had come into being. I had no access to information about the Nakba. Then, hiking in Israel as a teenager, I happened to come across the ruins of a Palestinian village. Sitting there alone among the ruins, I suddenly guessed the answer to my question. The audacity of it astonished me. I then thought that if they had been more thorough in clearing up behind them I still wouldn't understand.