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al-Jiyya is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic الجية
Name meaning "water collector"[1]
Also spelled al-Jeya, al-Jiya, Ed-Deir, Ejjeh
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°37′38″N 34°35′51″E / 31.62722°N 34.59750°E / 31.62722; 34.59750Coordinates: 31°37′38″N 34°35′51″E / 31.62722°N 34.59750°E / 31.62722; 34.59750
Population 1,230 (1945)
Area 8,506 dunams

8.5 km²

Date of depopulation November 4-5, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Beit Shikma,[3] Ge'a[4]

al-Jiyya (Arabic: الجية‎, also transliterated Algie) was a Palestinian village that was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Located 19 kilometers northeast of Gaza City, according to a 1945 census, the village had a population of 1,230. The village was captured by Israel's Giv'ati Brigade on 4 November 1948 during Operation Yoav.

History, Al-Jiyya before 1948[edit]

The village was situated on a sandy spot, surrounded by hills, on the southern coastal plain. Several wadis descended around it and it was periodically subjected to flooding. This perhaps explains its name, which means "water collector" in Arabic.[1][5] The village has been identified with a town referred to in the Crusader records as "Algie".[1] It appeared without its name on the map of Pierre Jacotin compiled in 1799.[6] The villagers reported that their village had been ruined at one point and then rebuilt by Muhammed Aby Nabbut, the governor of Jaffa and Gaza between 1807 and 1818.[1]

In 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin called the village Ed-Deir, and he estimated it had three hundred and fifty inhabitants. Near the wells he saw several parts of columns and one Corinthian capital, all made of gray-white marble. He further noted sycamores, pines and acacias mimosas, at intervals, in the middle of tobacco plantations.[7] In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine called it Ejjeh, and described it as "a moderate -sized mud village, with a pool to the north. On the east is a Sebil, or drinking-fountain. Beside the road to the west are olive groves."[8]

Al-Jiyya's population was Muslim and the village had its own mosque. The children attended school in the neighboring village of Barbara. The villagers installed a pump on one of the wells in the area to draw water for domestic use.[9] The villagers worked primarily in agriculture, planting various types of grain, especially corn. Al-Jiyya was known for its cheese and dairy products, which were sold in Gaza and in Majdal.[10]

In 1944/45 a total of 189 dunums was used for citrus and bananas, while 8,004 dunumus were allocated to cereals and 26 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[1]

Among the archaeological remains found in al Jiyya were a stone column and the remains of a Roman mill.[1]

1948 War[edit]

The village was captured by Israel's Giv'ati Brigade on 4 November 1948 during Operation Yoav. At the end of November 1948, Coastal Plain District troops carried out sweeps of the villages around and to the south of Majdal. Al-Jiyya was one of the villages named in the orders to the IDF battalions and engineers platoon, that the villagers were to be expelled to Gaza, and the IDF troops were "to prevent their return by destroying their villages." The path leading to the village was to be mined. The IDF troops were ordered to carry out the operation "with determination, accuracy and energy".[11] The operation took place on 30 November. The troops found "about 40" villagers in Barbara and al-Jiyya, "composed of women, old men and children", who offered no resistance. They were expelled to Beit Hanun, in the northern Gaza strip. Eight young men who were found were sent to a POW camp.[12]

According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi (1992):

"All traces of the village have been completely obliterated. Some sycamore trees grow on the site. Cantaloupes have been planted by the settlement of Beyt Shiqma on the surrounding lands."[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Khalidi, 1992, p.114
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, village #311 p xix, Also gives the cause for depopulation
  3. ^ In 1950, according to Khalidi, 1992, p.114
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxi: settlement #60, 1949.
  5. ^ but "confusion" according to Palmer, 1881, p. 367
  6. ^ Y. Karmon (1960). "An Analysis of Jacotin's Map of Palestine". Israel Exploration Journal 10 (3): 155–173. 
  7. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 173
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 259-260
  9. ^ Hammad, ´Abd al-Qadir Ibrahim (1990): "Al-Jiyya." Al-Bayader Assiyasi, No. 398 (5 May 1990) p. 68. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.114
  10. ^ Hammad, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.114
  11. ^ Coastal Plain District HQ to battalions 151 and ´1 Volunteers`, etc., 19:55 hours, 25 Nov. 1948, IDFA (=Israeli Defence Forces and Defence Ministry Archive) 6308\49\\141. Cited in Morris, 2004, p.517
  12. ^ Coastal Plain HQ to Southern Front\Operations, 30 Nov. 1948, IDFA 1978\50\\1; and Southern Front\Operations to General Staff Divisions, 2. Dec. 1948, IDFA 922\75\\1025. Cited in Morris, 2004, p.518


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