Abil al-Qamh

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Abil al-Qamh
Abil al-Qamh is located in Mandatory Palestine
Abil al-Qamh
Abil al-Qamh
Arabic الفرّاضية
Also spelled Abil al-Mayya
Subdistrict Safad
Coordinates 33°15′34.12″N 35°34′51.80″E / 33.2594778°N 35.5810556°E / 33.2594778; 35.5810556Coordinates: 33°15′34.12″N 35°34′51.80″E / 33.2594778°N 35.5810556°E / 33.2594778; 35.5810556
Population 330[1] (1945)
Area 4,615 dunams

4.6 km²

Date of depopulation May 10, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Fear of being caught up in the fighting
Secondary cause Influence of nearby town's fall
Current localities Yuval

Abil al-Qamh (Arabic: آبل القمح‎) was a Palestinian village located near the Lebanese border norther of Safad.[3]


Abil al-Qamh was established on a site that had been inhabited since 2900 BCE and remained populated for over 2,000 years. It was captured by Thutmose III in 1468 BCE. During the Israelite period, under the reign of David, it was fortified, and later conquered by the Arameans. Then, it was incorporated into the Assyrian Empire in 734 BCE where it was known as Abel-Beth-Ma'aka.[3]

Under Mamluk rule in 1226 CE, Arab geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi mentions Abil al-Qamh as a village belonging to Banias, between Damascus and the Mediterranean Sea.[4] Its Arabic name derives from its Aramaic; The first part of its name abil means "meadow" and the latter part qamh means "wheat".[3]

In 1517, Abil al-Qamh was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire, and by 1596 it was under the administration of the nahiya ("subdistrict") of Tibnin, part of Sanjak Safad. It paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, beehives, vineyards, and goats.[5] In the late 19th century, the village was described as near a stream, and containing a church and ancient ruins.[6]

It was a part of the French Mandate of Lebanon until 1923 when it was incorporated into the British Mandate in Palestine. In the first half of the 20th century, Abil al-Qamh had a triangular outline that conformed to the hill on which it was built. Agriculture was the basis of its economy, and the village's abundant water supply earned it the local name of Abil al-Mayya meaning the "Meadow of Water".[3] In 1944–45 the village had a total of 3,535 dunums allocated to cereals; while 299 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[3][7]

Abil al-Qamh was captured and depopulated on May 10, 1948 by the First Battalion of the Palmach commanded by Yigal Allon in Operation Yifatch. There was no fighting in the village, but after the fall of Safad to Israel and from a "whispering campaign" by local Jewish leaders to the heads of Arab villages (makhatir) warning them of massive Jewish reinforcements arriving in the Galilee, the residents of Abil al-Qamh fled.[3]

In 1952, Israel established the town of Yuval on village lands, 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mi) from the village site. The site itself is "overgrown with grasses and weeds. A grove of trees stands in the northeast corner, and stones from destroyed houses are strewn throughout the site...," according to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi.[8] In recent years, Hezbollah has claimed that Abil al-Qamh and six other depopulated border villages belong to Lebanon.[9]


According to Ottoman records in 1596, Abil al-Qamh had a population of 143.[5] In 1931, the British recorded a population 229.[3] The population rose to 330 Arabs, according to Sami Hadawi's land and population survey in 1945.[1] The village had a mixed population of 230 Shia Muslims and 100 Arab Christians.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hadawi, 1970, p.69.
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #1. Also gives causes of depopulation.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Khalidi, 1992, p.428
  4. ^ al-Hamawi quoted in le Strange, 1890, p.381
  5. ^ a b Hütteroth and Abdulfattah p.183, quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.428.
  6. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I p.85p.86. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.428.
  7. ^ Hadawi, 1970, p.118
  8. ^ Khalidi, 1992, pp.428-429.
  9. ^ Lamb, Franklin. Completing The Task Of Evicting Israel From Lebanon 2008-11-18.


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