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Hiribya is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic هربيا
Name meaning Herbieh, p.n., from "to take flight". [1]
Also spelled Hirbya, Herbieh[2]
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°36′20.76″N 34°32′46.89″E / 31.6057667°N 34.5463583°E / 31.6057667; 34.5463583Coordinates: 31°36′20.76″N 34°32′46.89″E / 31.6057667°N 34.5463583°E / 31.6057667; 34.5463583
Palestine grid 107/112
Population 2,300 (1945)
Area 23,312 dunams
23.3 km²
Date of depopulation late October-November 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Secondary cause Expulsion by Yishuv forces
Current localities Zikim, Karmia, Yad Mordechai

Hirbiya Arabic: هربيا‎ was a Palestinian Arab village in the Gaza Subdistrict, located 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) northeast of Gaza along the southern coastal plain of Palestine. In 1945, it had a population of 2,300 inhabitants, of which 2,240 were Arabs and 60 were Jews.[4]


Settlement at the site of Hirbiya dates back to the Canaanite period.[4]

It was known as "Forbie" to the Crusaders. In 1226, the Syrian geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi called "Firbiya" and noted that it was within the administrative jurisdiction of Ascalon. The village was the site of a crucial battle between the Crusaders and the Ayyubids, which ended in a decisive Ayyubid victory. Historians consider it second in strategic significance to the Battle of Hattin in 1187.[4] A circular well, made of masonry, and the foundations of a small tower was still found there in the late 19th century.[5]

Under the Ottoman Empire in 1596, Hirbiya was a village within the nahiya of Gaza, a part of the Liwa of Gaza. With a population of 963, it paid taxes on wheat, barley, grapes, fruit, and cotton.[6]

In the late 19th century, Hirbiya had a rectangular layout, although some of its adobe brick houses were scattered in surrounding orchards. The village was surrounded by a pond, a well, and several gardens. To the south were remains of the Crusader fortress.[7] The population at the time was entirely Muslim. Hirbiya had a mosque and elementary school, both located in the village center. The school opened in 1922 and had an enrollment of 124 students in the 1940s.[4]

1948 war and aftermath[edit]

It is difficult to determine exactly when Hirbiya was captured by Israel, although it was definitely targeted in October 1948 during Operation Yoav. The village came under aerial bombardment on October 15-16, along with a number of other towns and villages in the area. Later, during the same operation, an attack on the village was planned, but the attack was called off when it learned that a large Egyptian Army force was quartered in the village. It probably fell to Israeli forces in early November, shortly after the occupation of Ascalon at the end of Operation Yoav.[8]

The Jewish localities of Zikim and Karmiya were established on village lands in 1949 and 1950 respectively. The town of Yad Mordechai, established in 1943 has expanded onto Hirbiya's lands. According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, "The mosque (which has been converted into a warehouse) and the house of Muhammad 'Atiyya are the only buildings that survive."


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 360
  2. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p. 235
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xx, village #379. Also gives causes of depopulation.
  4. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, p.101.
  5. ^ Conder and Kichener, 1883, p. 251
  6. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 145. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 101
  7. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, p.235, Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 101
  8. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 102.


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