|Name meaning||"The cavern of Suweidan"|
|Also spelled||Iraq al-Suweidan|
|Date of depopulation||July 8, 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
|Current localities||Yad Natan, Otzem, Sde Yoav|
Iraq Suwaydan (Arabic: عراق سويدان, Hebrew: עיראק סווידאן) was a Palestinian Arab village located 27 kilometers northeast of Gaza City. It was captured by Israeli forces in Operation Yoav against the defending Egyptian Army during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The village infrastructure, with the exception of the police station built by the British Mandate authorities, was destroyed.
In the late nineteenth century, Iraq Suwaydan was described as a moderate-sized village situated on a plain.
British Mandata era
In 1931, the village had 81 houses. In 1942, the villagers established an elementary school and in 1947 shared its facilities with the children of the neighboring villages, Ibdis and Bayt 'Affa. There were 104 students in the mid-1940s.
1948 and aftermath
On May 12, 1948, the British authorities withdrew, handing over the police fort to the Egyptian army, which then garrisoned it. The fort controlled the road between al-Majdal and Bayt Jibrin as well as the main road to the Negev. The village was captured and destroyed during Operation Yoav. Eight Israeli attempts to capture the fort failed. It finally fell on 9 November 1948 after a massive bombardment including air strikes by B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft.
In 1953, Yad Natan was founded east of Iraq Suwaydan on village lands. In 1955, Otzem was established on village lands to the southeast and in 1956, Sde Yoav was established west of the site, close to village land. In 1992, remains of houses could be seen in a eucalyptus grove that the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi identified as the center of the village, along with cacti and remnants of a pool. Two roads, one passing through the village and the other leading to fields, were recognizable. The British police station, renamed Metzudat Yo'av, was still in use and the surrounding lands were cultivated by Israeli farmers.
- Palmer, 1881, p. 365
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 45
- Morris, 2004, p xx, village #380. Also gives the cause for depopulation
- Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p.259. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.108
- Khalidi, 1992, p.109
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 87
- David Tal War in Palestine, 1948: Israeli and Arab Strategy and Diplomacy, Routledge 2004 p.177.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iraq Suwaydan.|
- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Benvenisti, Meron (2002). Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23422-2. Retrieved 2013-11-05. P. 42
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, H. H. (1883). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology 3. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Hadawi, Sami (1970), Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center, retrieved 2013-11-05
- Khalidi, Walid (1992). All That Remains. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-88728-224-5.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-00967-7.
- Palmer, E. H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists Collected During the Survey by Lieutenants Conder and Kitchener, R. E. Transliterated and Explained by E.H. Palmer. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Seriy, Gregory (2007): ‘Iraq Suweidan Final Report, Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel, No. 119.