Dimra

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Dimra
Dimra1.jpg
Farmers of Dimra winnowing their corn crop, 1941
Dimra is located in Mandatory Palestine
Dimra
Dimra
Arabic دمره
Name meaning Tumrah; personal name. Also called Beit Dimreh, "by the peasantry"[1]
Also spelled Dimrah,[2] Beit Dimreh[3] Demreh[4]
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°33′32.26″N 34°33′53.90″E / 31.5589611°N 34.5649722°E / 31.5589611; 34.5649722Coordinates: 31°33′32.26″N 34°33′53.90″E / 31.5589611°N 34.5649722°E / 31.5589611; 34.5649722
Population 324 (1931)
Area 8,492 dunams

8.5 km²

Date of depopulation early November 1948[5]
Cause(s) of depopulation Fear of being caught up in the fighting
Current localities Erez

Dimra (Arabic: دمره‎) was a small Palestinian Arab village located 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) northeast of Gaza City.[3][6] Ancient remains at the site attest to longtime settlement there. During the era of Mamluk rule in Palestine, the town was the home of the Bani Jabir tribe. Depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Israeli kibbutz of Erez was founded in 1949 on part of the former village's lands.

History[edit]

Ancient mosaics found at the place, now in Erez

Ancient remains found throughout the village, including marble and granite columns as well as pottery, attest to longtime settlement at the site.[3] An excavation have found remains, including coins, dating the sixth century CE, that is the Byzantine empire. Many potsherds, dating to the same period, indicates that a pottery workshop was located there at the time.[7]

Mamluk period[edit]

Following the conquest of the Crusader states during the period of Mamluk rule (1270-1516 CE) over Greater Syria (Levant), Dimra was located on an eastward route which left the main Gaza-Jaffa highway at Beit Hanoun.[3] According to Moshe Sharon, Dimra was a likely resting place for those travelling in the region due to its natural, independent water supply.[3]

Three pieces of a marble slab, deposited since 1930 in the Rockefeller Museum, and dated to 676 AH (1277 CE) commemorates the building of a mosque at Dimra at that year.[3]

According to Walid Khalidi, Al-Qalqasandi, an Arab scholar (d. 1418 AD), wrote of Dimra, noting it was the home of the Bani Jabir, an Arab tribe.[8]

Ottoman period[edit]

During the period of Ottoman rule in Palestine, Edward Robinson passed by "Dimreh" in 1838, describing it as located near the bend of a valley.[9] In 1863, French explorer Victor Guérin found the village to have 120 inhabitants. He assumed the village had previously been larger, due to several empty houses there. By the well he found one column made of grey granite, and five sections of columns made of grey-white marble. Cucumbers and watermelons were planted in the surrounding gardens.[10]

In 1883 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine noted that the place was alternately called Tumrah and Beit Dimreh. The village was small, made of adobe located on the side of a hill. On the north side there was a garden with a water well below it.[11]

British Mandate of Palestine[edit]

The village expanded during the British mandate period, and houses were built eastward and southward. In 1944-45 a total of 96 dunums of land in the village were allocated to citrus and banana cultivation, 7,412 dunums to cereals, and 388 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[12] An elementary school opened in Dimra in 1946, with an initial enrollment of 47 students.[12]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the women and children of Dimra were reportedly evacuated by the village men on 31 October, likely in response to the advance of the Israeli army.[13]

The Israeli settlement of Erez was founded in 1949 on part of the village site.[12] The remaining structures of the village are described by Khalidi in All That Remains (1992):

"Most of the village is fenced in and used as pasture. A crumbling stone water basin, concrete rubble from houses, and a destroyed well are nearly all that remain. A watering trough for cows has been placed on what appears to be a concrete fragment from a former house. The well is topped with an old, nonoperating water pump. More debris lies in a wooded portion of the site, near a Jewish cemetery. Some cactuses that formerly served as fences, as well as shrubs and thorny plants, grow on adjacent lands.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 363
  2. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, p. 118.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sharon, 2004, p.138.
  4. ^ Thomson, 1860, p. 356.
  5. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xix, village #314. Also gives cause of depopulation
  6. ^ "Dimra". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  7. ^ Paran, 2007, Erez (East) Final Report
  8. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 94. Quoting Ahmad al-Qalqashandi's Al-Nujum, cited in D1/2:272.
  9. ^ Robinson, 1842, vol. II, p.371. Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 94.
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 174-175
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP vol 3, p. 236
  12. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, p. 94.
  13. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 76.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]