Al-Kabri

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This article is about the former Palestinian village of al-Kabri. For the kibbutz that was created in its place, see Kabri, Israel. For the archaeological site of Tel Kabri, which is on the grounds of the kibbutz, see Tel Kabri. For other uses, see Kabri.
al-Kabri
AcreNE1799.jpg
French map of the area in 1799. Note the aqueduct between Acre and Kabri, built by Jezzar Pasha[1]
al-Kabri is located in Mandatory Palestine
al-Kabri
al-Kabri
Arabic الكابري
Name meaning The Bridge (in Turkish)[2]
Also spelled Kabira
Cabra (Crusader name)
Subdistrict Acre
Coordinates 33°00′55.72″N 35°09′03.17″E / 33.0154778°N 35.1508806°E / 33.0154778; 35.1508806Coordinates: 33°00′55.72″N 35°09′03.17″E / 33.0154778°N 35.1508806°E / 33.0154778; 35.1508806
Population 1,520 (1945)
Area 28,729 dunams

28.7 km²

Date of depopulation 5, 21 May 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Fear of being caught up in the fighting
Secondary cause Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Kabri, Ga'aton, Me'ona, Ein Ya'akov, Ma'alot

Al-Kabri (Arabic: الكابري‎) was a Palestinian Arab town in the Galilee located 12.5 kilometers (7.8 mi) northeast of Acre. It was captured by the Jewish Forces 21 May 1948, a week after the State of Israel was declared. In 1945, it had a population of 1,520[4] and a total area cultivated of 20,617[5] dunams. It is near the site of Tel Kabri.

History[edit]

Al-Kabri was known as "Cabra" under Crusader rule in the twelfth century. It is mentioned by Arab geographer al-Maqrizi as "al-Kabira" in the early fifteenth century, by now under Mamluk rule. Under the name Al-Kabrah, it was mentioned as part of the domain of the Crusaders during the hudna between the Crusaders based in Acre and the Mamluk sultan al-Mansur (Qalawun) in 1283.[6] In 1291, Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Khalil allocated the town's income to a charitable organization in Cairo.[4]

Ottoman period[edit]

Al-Kabri was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and by 1596 it was part of nahiya (subdistrict) of Akka under the liwa' (district) of Safad with an all-Muslim population of 10 households. Taxes were paid on wheat, barley, summer crops, cotton, occasional revenues, beehives and/or goats.[7] In Pierre Jacotin´s map from 1799 the village was called Kabli.[8]

The place was well known for its springs, including Ayn Mafshuh, Ayn Fawwar, Ayn al-'Asal, and Ayn Kabri. The number of springs made al-Kabri the main supplier of water in the District of Acre. Ancient aquifers supplied water from the springs to Acre, and two additional canals were built by Jezzar Pasha in 1800, and Sulayman Pasha in 1814.[9][10]

In 1875, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village: "Many of the houses are built of good materials, which seem ancient. They are constructed of stones finely cut, mixed with simple rubble, perfectly jointed by means of little stones so placed as to fill up spaces and to make the whole compact. The site of an ancient church, now completely destroyed, is still, to a certain extent, to be traced. Many columns have been removed from it, and numbers of cut stones of medium size. Above the village, the ruins of houses prove that the place was once much more populous than now."[11]

"At twenty-five minutes walk from El Kabry is a spring called Neba Fawara. Formerly received in a basin, of which the foundations only are now visible, it runs away in a considerable stream, which waters several gardens. Enormous fig-trees show the extraordinary fruitfulness of the soil. A little farther I pass along arcades entirely covered with high bushes, which form part of the aqueduct of El Kabry. The ground rises here, so that the canal supported by these arcades is at the level of the ground, then it disappears altogether, reappearing again, according to the level of the ground. El Kabry is in a very advantageous position, thanks to its precious springs, which must always have caused the foundation of a group, more or less considerable, of houses. The name of Kabry shows that it was once called Gobara, a name given by Josephus to a place in another part of Galilee. It contains two abundant springs; one is received in a reservoir similar to that of Et Tell, and from there, by an opening made expressly, the water runs off in a cascade to turn mills and water gardens. The second spring gushes from the bottom of a kind of vaulted cave, into which one descends by steps, and it feeds the aqueduct, which, sometimes subterranean, sometimes on the level of the ground, sometimes borne in arcades, supplies Akka with water. Reconstructed by Jezzar Pasha at the end of the last century, this aqueduct has succeeded one much older, of which traces yet remain.

Besides these two springs there is a third not far off, called Ain Jatun, of equal importance, which fertilises the proverbially fruitful territory of Kabry."[12]

In 1881 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described the village as a "village built of stone, containing about 400 Moslems, situated on the edge of the plain, with gardens and olives, figs and mulberries, apples and pomegranates; there is a large spring and birket here, at which the aqueduct conveying water to 'Akka commences."[13]

British Mandate of Palestine[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Al Kabry had a population of 553, all Muslims,[14] increasing in the 1931 census to 728 Muslims in 173 houses.[15]

During this period, Al-Kabri's houses were built of stone, mud, and reinforced concrete. The village contained a mosque and a boys' elementary school. Agriculture was the base of the economy with villagers cultivating olives, citrus, and bananas and engaged in animal husbandry, including raising cattle.[9]

The population grew to 1,530 in 1945, still all Muslim.[16] Together with the nearby Tarshiha, the villages had 47,428 dunums of land at this time.[17] Of this, a total of 743 dunums of land in the two villages was used for citrus and bananas, 5,301 were plantation and irrigable land, 14,123 for cereals,[18] while 252 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[19]

1948 and aftermath[edit]

Further information: al-Kabri incident

Kabri was first badly shaken by the Palmah raid on the village on the night 31 January/1 February 1948, in which the house of the main al-Husayni-affiliated notable, Fares Sirhan, was demolished. After this, Siran and his family fled to Lebanon.[20]

On the 27 March 1948, the Yehiam convoy bringing supplies to besieged Kibbutz Yehiam was attacked while passing by Al-Kabri and 46 Haganah members were killed.[21][22]

In April 1948, the Haganah prepared an initial blueprint for an operation called "Ehud", which provided for attacks on Kabri, al Nahar, al-Bassa and Zib for "the destruction of the gangs [and] the menfolk, [and] the destruction of property.[20]

The village was probably occupied on the night of 20–21 May during the second stage of Operation Ben-Ami, by which time most of the inhabitants had fled.[9]

During their dispersal in Galilee some of the villagers were killed when it was discovered that they came from Al-Kabri, in retaliation for the convoy ambush.[23]

According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the remaining structures on the village land in 1992 were "crumbled walls and stone rubble, overgrown with thorns, weeds, and bushes. The settlement of Kabri uses the land adjacent to the site for agriculture and as a pasture."[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jacotin, 1826. See also Siege of Acre (1799)
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 43
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #81. Also gives causes of depopulation
  4. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 19
  5. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 20: Citrus, bananas, cereals, fruit and olive trees
  6. ^ Dan Barag (1979). "A new source concerning the ultimate borders of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem". Israel Exploration Journal 29. pp. 197–217. 
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 193
  8. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 160
  9. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, p. 20
  10. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 156
  11. ^ Guérin, 1880, p. 32 -33, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 169
  12. ^ Guérin, 1880, p. 32 -33, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 146
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 146. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, pp. 19-20
  14. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  15. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 101
  16. ^ Village Statistics The Palestine Government, April 1945, p. 3
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 41
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131
  20. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. 253
  21. ^ Benvenisti, 2000, p.138
  22. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 20. Gives the date as 28 March and that the New York Times reported 49 Jews dead and six Arabs, and that the convoy consisted of five trucks and an armored car
  23. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 20, quoting Nazzal, 1978, pp. 58-63

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]