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Sa'sa' - سعسع: Sa'sa' through out history until today, detailed study

Posted on October 16, 2001

By Refa'at Loubani


History and Typography
Population and Agriculture

Social and Educational Life

Catastrophes and War Crimes

Sa'sa' After 1948


History and Typography

Sa'sa' is a small village in West Galilee, north of Palestine. It is situated on a hill, 825 m. above sea level. To the west of the village there are two small mountains, Adathir (عداثـر ) and Al Tawil ( الطويل) To the south there is the Jarmak Mountain (الجرمق) the highest mountain in Palestine, 1,099 m. above sea level. Thirty kilometers to the east lies Kanaan Mountains (كنعـان) on which the City of Safad is built (Safad is the District Center of that area of seventy seven (77) villages).

It's positioned at the crossroads of three main roads connecting it to Safad, Acre, Haifa and the nearby villages, its proximity to the Lebanese borders (4 km.), its relatively high elevation, have enhanced its position, and hence the mandatory government (Britain) built a security fence and a Police Headquarters (Sa'sa' Police Camp) to monitor and try to deter the activities of the Palestinian fighters during the Palestinian Revolution (1936-1939).

Sa'sa' is one of the very old villages in Palestine. The numerous caves (including old graves and carvings) that surround the village date back to the Bronze Age and some manuscripts show that Sa'sa' was built during the time of the Roman Emperor - HADRIAN.

The Arab geographist - Abu Abdullah Al Bakri (Died in 1094) mentioned that - during his second trip from Deir Al Kassi to Safad - he passed by Sa'sa'.

Population and Agriculture

The population of Sa'sa' increased as follows:

End of 19th Century 300
1922 643
1945 1,130
To date (2001) 5,000

The area of the land belonging to Sa'sa' was 14,796 Dunums (1,476.9 Hectares). None of the land in Sa'sa' was owned by the Jews prior to 1948. The land was mainly fertile, arable, growing wheat, barley, olives, fig trees, grapes, apples, pears, zaa'roor and tobacco. The abundance of olive trees in manifested by the fact that prior to 1948, there were two olive breweries, and these were not enough, so Sa'sa' was brewing part of its olives in neighboring villages.

Near the village there are three water springs: Al-Bidiyyah (عـين الباديــة), Al Humaymah (عيـن الحميمة) and Ghabbati (عين غباطية), the last two springs have their water from Jarmak mountain. Rainwater was abundant, and the weather was cool in the summer and very cold in winter with lot of snow, ice and hails every winter.

Sa'sa' was a very green village very famous for its forestry and nearby mountains, with mainly giant oak and sindian trees. The Sa'sa'ities used the forests to make charcoal, lime, and sell lumber to neighboring villages. The population of Sa'sa' used to own lot of cattle: goats, sheep, cows, oxen and camels.

In general, except for clothing, stationary, sugar and tea, Sa'sa' was a self-sufficient village, growing everything it needed including dairy products and tobacco, the main part of which they were exporting to the cigarette factories in Haifa and this was their main source of cash money.

Social and Educational Life

Like most rural areas, the people in Sa'sa' led a smooth, harmonious and quiet life. Inter-marriage between the different families promoted the sense of cooperation, mutual respect and love between the village people. One example of their solidarity was manifested by the fact that none of the village people would go to work in case somebody dies or a man is married. The funerals and weddings were a joint village affair with every family sharing in these events according to its capabilities. The same applies to helping the few poor families of the village; they were given their needs from the crops, vegetation and fruits by their fellow village people.

The educational status in Sa'sa' started slowly, but progressed well later. There were two schools:

  • Boys Elementary School: up to 6th Grade.
  • Girls Elementary School: established in 1945.

The educational system in Palestine was:

  • Elementary Education: (7 years) 
  • Secondary Education: (4 years) - Culminating in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (Called the London Matriculation)

Catastrophes and War Crimes

Three serious catastrophes rocked Sa'sa' between 1938 and 1948:

  1. During the Palestinian Revolution (1936-1939), and by virtue of its position and proximity to the Lebanese borders, Sa'sa' helped the Palestinian fighters by giving them shelter, logistics, and safe passage to and out of Lebanon. The British Government retaliated by dynamiting and destroying twelve big houses (10% of the village) the owners of which houses were suspected of helping the fighters. Yet the British Government was nice! enough to vacate the village from its people and surrounded them in a place where they could see their houses (or those of their relatives) being razed to the ground.
  2. On 15 February 1948, 3rd unit of the Palmach gang, which was part of the Zionist Haganah Army, attacked Sa'sa' at midnight and destroyed ten houses on top of those who were sleeping in them. This resulted in the death under the rubble of eleven (11) persons and an embryo. The people who died were three (3) men, two (2) women (one of them pregnant), three (3) girls, and three (3) boys. This was a horrifying incident. Sa'sa' has lost about 10% of its population, 30% of its houses overnight. The remaining Sa'sa'ities buried their dead in two mass graves. It was the first time in our life that we saw the mutilated corpses of our village people buried in mass graves.
  3. The third catastrophe occurred on 29 October 1948, when we were forced to leave our village under the shelling and heavy fire of the advancing Israeli army after the occupation of all Northern Palestine and the expulsion of its inhabitants. The unbalance of power (number wise and armament wise) made our resistance futile, and we were forced-like our other fellows-to leave to Lebanon with only our clothes on, and on that day we started our continuous, miserable, and unforgettable wilderness.

Sa'sa' After 1948

The Israelis destroyed most the houses of the village, including its very beautiful mosque, and brought in Jewish settlers who are occupying our homes and land, till to date.

They further built a colony to the south of our village in 1949 with about 10,000 immigrants. Like the rest of Palestine which was colonized by the Israelis before and after 05 June 1967, Sa'sa' is yawning under the persecution merciless impact of the Israeli colonial imperialist rule. Sa'sa' is still waiting for the day of Liberation which will be coming. hopefully soon. Click here to view pictures of Sa'sa' before and after ethnic cleansing.


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