Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira

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This article is about the depopulated village in historic Palestine. For the ancient village in southern Syria, see al-Masmiyah.
al-Masmiyya al-Saghira
al-Masmiyya al-Saghira is located in Mandatory Palestine
al-Masmiyya al-Saghira
al-Masmiyya al-Saghira
Arabic المسمية الصغيرة
Also spelled Masmiyyat al-Hurani
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°45′09.75″N 34°47′55.70″E / 31.7527083°N 34.7988056°E / 31.7527083; 34.7988056Coordinates: 31°45′09.75″N 34°47′55.70″E / 31.7527083°N 34.7988056°E / 31.7527083; 34.7988056
Population 530 (1945)
Area 6,478 dunams

6.5 km²

Date of depopulation July 8–9, 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Masmiya Bet,[2] Kfar HaRif

Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira (Arabic: المسمية الصغيرة‎), also known as Mamsiyyat al-Hurani, was a Palestinian Arab village in the Gaza Subdistrict, located 42 kilometers (26 mi) northeast of Gaza. Established in the 19th century,[3] it was situated at an elevation of 60 meters (200 ft) in the southern coastal plain of Ottoman Syria. Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, but prior to that, in 1945, it had a population of 530 inhabitants.[3]


Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira was established in the second half of the 19th century by al-Hurani clan who had lived in the adjacent al-Masmiyya al-Kabira, but left because of feuds with other residents. Thus, the village was also known as "Masmiyyat al-Hurani". The adjectival Saghira means "minor" in Arabic and was used to differentiate it from al-Mamsiyya al-Kabira, the latter word meaning "major".[3]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Mesmiyet Saghira had a population of 261 Muslims,[4] increasing in the 1931 census when Masmiya El Saghira had an all-Muslim population of 354 in 73 houses.[5]

Seven small shops provided the village with its basic needs and children attended school in al-Masmiyya al-Kabira. Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy, grain being the dominant crop. In addition to cultivation, the inhabitants raised livestock which numbered approximately 4,000 animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, camels, mules. Farmers participated in the weekly market of al-Faluja, and also sold their products in the cities of Gaza, al-Majdal (Ashkelon), and Jaffa.[3]

The circumstances of al-Masmiyya al-Saghira's capture by Israel was identical to those of its sister village, al-Masmiyya al-Saghira which was occupied by the Givati Brigade on July 8–9, 1948. Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that the military operation was undertaken occurred in the ten days between the first two truces of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and that it "precipitated the evacuation of the village". The Jewish moshav of Kfar HaRif was established on al-Masmiyya al-Saghira's lands in 1956. According to Walid Khalidi: "Virtually no trace of the village remains, and the site is overgrown with weeds, tall grasses, and a scattering of eucalyptus trees".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xix, village #274. Also gives the cause for depopulation.
  2. ^ also known as Masmiya Shalom. Morris, 2004, p. xxi, settlement #72, established in 1949
  3. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.126.
  4. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  5. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 5


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