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The village overlooked the Jordan Valley
Al-Ja'una is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic الجاعونة
Also spelled Jaauneh[1]
Subdistrict Safad
Coordinates 32°58′17.93″N 35°31′57.63″E / 32.9716472°N 35.5326750°E / 32.9716472; 35.5326750Coordinates: 32°58′17.93″N 35°31′57.63″E / 32.9716472°N 35.5326750°E / 32.9716472; 35.5326750
Palestine grid 200/264
Population 1150 (1945)
Area 839 dunams
Date of depopulation 9 May 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Influence of nearby town's fall
Current localities Rosh Pinna

Al-Ja'una or Ja'ouna (Arabic: الجاعونة), was a Palestinian village situated in Galilee on the slopes of Mount Canaan near al-Houleh Plateau, overlooking the Jordan Valley. The village lay on a beautiful hill side 450–500 meters above sea level, 5 kilometers east of Safad near a major road connecting Safad with Tabariya. The current location is occupied by an Israeli town Rosh Pinna (Hebrew:ראש פינה), which was expanded to include the depopulated Palestinian Al-Ja'una.


Al-Ja'una was mentioned in the 1596 Ottoman census as being a village in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Jira, under the liwa' (district) of Safad, with a population of 171. Villagers paid taxes on wheat, barley, olives, goats, beehives, and a powered mill.[3]

In the late 19th century, the village was described as being built of stone, on the slope of a hill, whose 140-200 residents cultivated fig and olive trees.[1][4] There were two springs in a wadi, south of the village.[1] A mosque and an elementary school for boys was established in the village in Ottoman times.[4]

The settlement of Rosh Pinna is located to the southeast of the village site. It was first established in 1878 on land purchased from the villagers of al-Ja'una but has expanded over the years to now include part of the former village land of Al-Ja'una.[4]

The old road leading to Safad

Laurence Oliphant visited Rosh Pinna and Al-Ja'una in 1886, and wrote, "Jauna, which was the name of the village to which I was bound, was situated about three miles (5 km) from Safad, in a gorge, from which, as we descended it, a magnificent view was obtained over the Jordan valley, with the Lake of Tiberias lying three thousand feet below us on the right, and the waters of Merom, or the Lake of Huleh, on the left. The intervening plain was a rich expanse of country, only waiting development. The new colony had been established about eight months, the land having been purchased from the Moslem villagers, of whom twenty families remained, who lived on terms of perfect amity with the Jews."[5]

The inhabitants of the village who were entirely Arab, were employed in agriculture or construction. The population remained in the range of 140-200 throughout the 19th century. In 1931 the population totaled 799, and by 1945 totaled 1,150. Al-Ja'una was situated on an 839 dunam area, 824 of which owned by Arab families, 7 by Jewish families, and 8 public; 172 dunams of the village fields were irrigated (1944–45). Main crops cultivated by the village were olives, grapes, figs, and grain.[citation needed]

1948 Arab-Israeli war, depopulation, and aftermath[edit]

To the right: the top of "The American House", built by an Al-Ja'una villager who had worked in America
Al-Ja'una in a map of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1880

The village was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, the evacuation of the residents of al-Ja'una occurred some time before 2 May 1948, although he has somewhat contradicted this by also documenting that the actual depopulation took place one week later, on 9 May, coinciding with the final attack on Safad.[6]

At midnight on 5–6 June 1949, the remaining villagers in Al-Ja'una (together with those of Al-Khisas and Qaytiyya) were surrounded by Israeli Defence Force units, who then forced the villagers into trucks "with brutality—with kicks, curses and maltreatment...." (in the words of Knesset member and Al HaMishmar editor Eliezer Peri) and dumped them on a bare hillside near the village of 'Akbara.[7] When questioned about the expulsions, David Ben-Gurion responded that he found the military reasons for the evictions "sufficient".[8] 'Akbara served as a "dumping spot" for the "remainders" from various depopulated Palestinian villages, and its conditions were to remain bad for years.[9]

Walid Khalidi, writing in 1992 about the remains of Al-Ja'una, stated: "The settlement of Rosh Pinna occupies the village site. Many of the houses remain; some are used by the residents of the settlement; other stone houses have been abandoned and destroyed."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c SWP, 1881, Vol. 1, p.198.
  2. ^ According to Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #52. Also gives the cause of depopulation
  3. ^ 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. 177. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 458
  4. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 458
  5. ^ Oliphant, 1887, p.71
  6. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 459
  7. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 511-512
  8. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 512, note 51
  9. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 513, note 54


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