Al-Batani al-Sharqi

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al-Batani al-Sharqi
al-Batani al-Sharqi is located in Mandatory Palestine
al-Batani al-Sharqi
al-Batani al-Sharqi
Arabic البطاني الشرقي
Name meaning The eastern Butani[1]
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°45′06.64″N 34°43′24.00″E / 31.7518444°N 34.7233333°E / 31.7518444; 34.7233333Coordinates: 31°45′06.64″N 34°43′24.00″E / 31.7518444°N 34.7233333°E / 31.7518444; 34.7233333
Population 650 (1945)
Area 5,764 dunams

5.8 km²

Date of depopulation May 13, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities None

Al-Batani al-Sharqi (Arabic: البطاني الشرقي‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the Gaza Subdistrict, located 36.5 kilometers (22.7 mi) northeast of Gaza situated in the flat terrain on the southern coastal plain of Palestine. It had a population of 650 in 1945. Al-Batani al-Sharqi was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[3]

History[edit]

The earliest mention of al-Batani indicates that it was originally founded as a ranch by the Umayyad caliph Mu'awiyah I in the 8th century CE.[3]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1596, under the Ottoman Empire, it was a village in the nahiya of Gaza, east of Isdud, north of Bayt Daras and part of the Sanjak of Gaza with a population of 39. Al-Batani paid taxes on wheat, barley, fruit, beehives, goats, and vineyards.[4] The whole population was Muslim.[5]

In 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village which he called Bathanieh Ech-Charkieh. He found about one hundred adobe brick houses, and ancient stones laying on the ground near a well. Tobacco plantations grew in gardens surrounded by cactus hedges.[6] In the late 19th century, the village of al-Batani al-Sharqi was situated on low ground and extended from east to west in a rectangular shape. Patches of garden and a number of wells surrounded the village.[7]

British Mandate era[edit]

Construction expanded westward—the Wadi al-Mari's winter flooding impeded eastward expansion—along the road that linked to al-Batani al-Gharbi until the distance between the two villages was less than 2 kilometers (1.2 mi). Village houses, made of adobe, with wood-and-cane roofs, were built close together along narrow alleys. The two al-Batanis shared an elementary school that was opened in 1947; its initial enrollment was 119 students. The village had a mosque and a number of small shops. The entire population was Muslim.[3]

In 1945 Al-Batani al-Sharqi had a population of 650, all Arabs, with 5,764 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[8] Of this, 319 dunams were allocated to citrus and banana plants, 474 plantations and irrigable land, 4,733 used for cereals,[9] while 32 dunams were built-up land.[10]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

Together with nearby Bashshit and Barqa, al-Batani al-Sharqi was captured by the Haganah's Givati Brigade, just before the end of the British Mandate period in Palestine.[3] According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, it fell on May 13, 1948, as part of Operation Barak in which the Haganah moved southwards in anticipation of an engagement with Egyptian forces.[11]

The History of the War of Independence, however, states that it was captured by Israeli Jewish forces under the Givati Brigade's Eighth Battalion on June 10–11. Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi said that this may have meant that the village briefly changed hands in the course of Israeli-Egyptian battles on the southern front before the first truce came into effect on June 11.[3]

There are no Israeli localities on village lands which consisted of 5,764 dunams in 1945. According to Khalidi, "Only a dilapidated police station from the Mandate period survives. It is a complex of three single-storey, concrete flat-roofed buildings... Cactuses and fig, eucalyptus, and sycamore trees are scattered over the site. Israeli farmers cultivate citrus on the adjacent lands."[3] The city with a population of 754 and 151 houses was wiped out and eliminated except for the estimated refugees of around 4,630.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 267
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xix, village #278, Also gives cause of depopulation.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1992, pp.84-85.
  4. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 145. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 85
  5. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 145
  6. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 80
  7. ^ Conder and Kitchner, 1882, SWP II: p. 409. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, 85
  8. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 45
  9. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 86
  10. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 136
  11. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xvii.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]