|Date of depopulation||16 May 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Influence of nearby town's fall|
In 1596, al-Bira was a village in the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Shafa under the liwa' (district) of Lajjun, with a population of 297. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, and olives, as well as on goats and beehives.
Al-Bira appeared as a village in a map published in 1850, but was found uninhabited later in the 19th century. Guerin report that "The ruins are those of a large Arab village, whose houses were built for the most part of basaltic stones. It replaced an ancient township, to which belongs an edifice now completely destroyed, of which there yet remain several basaltic columns and a mutilated capital." Al-Bira had a population of 200 Muslims in 1922. In 1931, there were 53 occupied houses and a population of 220 Muslims.
According to Benny Morris, Kibbutzniks demanded the destruction of neighboring villages as a means of blocking the return of the Arab villagers. For this reason a veteran local leader, Nahum Wurwitz of Kfar Gil'adi appealed in a letter in September 1948 for permission to destroy al-Bira, Kawkab al-Hawa, Jabbul, and al-Hamidiyya in the area for fear that they may be used by Arabs for military operations and to enable them to "take the village's lands, because the Arabs won't be able to return there".
- Morris, 2004, p. xvii village #112. Also gives cause of depopulation.
- al-Bira, PalestineRemembered.com.
- Simons (1937): Handbook for the Study of Egyptian Topographical Lists Relating to Western Asia. Leiden: E.J. Brill. p117. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 44
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah, 1977, Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 157. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 45
- Carl Zimmermann, Atlas von Palaestina und der Sinai-Halbinsel, Berlin, 1850.
- Quoted in Survey of Western Palestine, Vol. II, p114.
- Report and Abstracts of the Census of 1922, Table IX.
- Census of Palestine 1931, Population of Villages, Towns, and Administrative Areas, p77.
- Benny Morris (2004), The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited, Cambridge University Press, pp. 357. Quotes from Peterzil to Erem, Bentov, Hazan and Cisling (August 10, 1948), quoting an extract from an undated letter from Faivel Cohen of Ma'ayan Barukh, to Peterzil, HHA-ACP 10.95.10(5) therein.
- Khalidi, 1992, p. 45
- Conder, Claude Reignier and H.H. Kitchener (1881): The Survey of Western Palestine: memoirs of the topography, orography, hydrography, and archaeology. London:Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. vol 2
- Hadawi, Sami (1970), Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center
- Khalidi, Walid (1992), All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, ISBN 0-88728-224-5
- Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.