|Also Spelled||'Iraq al-Manshiya, Arak el Menshiyeh|
|Date of depopulation||February–June 1949|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Expulsion by Yishuv forces|
|Current localities||Kiryat Gat, Sde Moshe|
Iraq al-Manshiyya (Arabic: عراق المنشية) is a former Palestinian town located 32 km northeast of Gaza City. Its total land area consisted of 13,838 dunams. According to the British Mandate, the town had a population of 2,010 Arabs and 210 Jews in 1945. The town contained two mosques and a shrine for Shaykh Ahmad al-Uranyni.
The village was located 32 km north-east of Gaza, in an area of rolling hills, where the coastal plain and the foothills of the Hebron mountains merged. It was on the south side of the highway between al-Faluja to the north-west, and Bayt Jibrin to the east.
It was also located at the foot of Tell Maqam Shayk Ahmad al-Arayni (now: Tell Gat).
A khan was established at the site in 717 H. (1317-1318 C.E.) by al-Malik Jukandar during the reign of the Mamluk sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun. This according to inscriptions on either side of the entrance to the Maqam Shayk Ahmad al-Arayni, at the summit of the tell.
In 1596 Iraq al-Manshiyya was a village in the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the liwa' (district) of Gaza, with a population of 61. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, and barley, as well as goats and beehives.
In the late nineteenth century, Iraq al-Manshiyya was described as a village built of adobe bricks and surrounded by arable land. The village had a radial plan, with its smaller streets branching out from the intersection of two perpendicular main streets. Three wells supplied the village with water for domestic use. As the village grew, it expanded towards the northeast in the direction of the large mound, called Tall al-Shaykh Ahmad al- Urayni. At the summit, some 32 m. high, was the religious shrine for Shaykh Ahmad al-´Urayni. The shrine consisted of a roofless walled enclosure made of reused stone blocks. The doorway was located in the middle of the north wall. Above the doorway was a marble lintel, while on each side of the door were the above mentioned inscriptions. Opposite, on the south wall, was a deep concave mihrab.
The villagers worked primarily in agriculture; grain, grapes, and many varieties of trees (such as olive and almond trees) were cultivated. In 1944/45 a total of 13,449 dunums was allocated to cereals, 53 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Goats and sheep supplied the materials (hair and yarn) needed for rug weaving. The villagers dyed their rugs in al-Faluja, where they also went for medical treatment and other services.
1948 Arab-Israeli War, and after
However, it was captured by Israel's Alexandroni Brigade on March 1, 1949 from Egyptian forces in Operation Yoav. The Egyptian Army controlled the area - which included al-Faluja - surrounded by Israeli forces. After Egypt and Israel negotiated an armistice agreement, the Israeli Defense Forces intimidated the inhabitants to flee.
A kibbutz named Gat was established in 1941 on lands that traditionally belonged to the village; it took over additional lands after the expulsion of the villagers. In 1954 Qiryat Gat was established on village land, and in 1956 Sde Moshe was established on village land east of the village site.
According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the structures on the village land in 1992 are: "A forest of eucalyptus has been planted on the site, and two signs, each in both Hebrew and English, identify it as "Margolin Peace Forest." Only traces of the village streets remain, along with scattered cactuses. Part of the surrounding land is cultivated by Israeli farmers."
The shrine stood until at least 1946, when it was inspected by the Antiquities Department. During the 1950s it was described as being in very ruinous condition, and Petersen, inspecting it in 1994, found no inscriptions or standing structures; an outline on the ground were the only visible remains of the building.
- Palmer, 1881, p.365
- Hadawi, 1970, p.45
- Morris, 2004, p xix, village number 320. Also gives the cause for depopulation
- Iraq al-Manshiyya Town Statistics and Facts
- Khalidi, 1992, p.106
- Petersen, 2002, p.155
- Mayer, 1933, 62 No. 6. Cited in Petersen, 2002, p.155
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977), Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 149. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 106
- Kedar, 199, 64-65. Cited in Petersen, 2002, p.155
- Conder and Kitchener, SWP III, 1883, p.259. Also quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.106
- Hadawi, 1970, p.87
- Map of UN Partition Plan, United Nations, retrieved 2009-08-14
- Morris, 2004, pp.243-245
- Khalidi, 1992, p 108
- Benvenisti, Meron (2002), Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-23422-2 p. 156, 203, 318
- Conder, Claude Reignier and H.H. Kitchener (1883): The Survey of Western Palestine: memoirs of the topography, orography, hydrography, and archaeology. London:Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. vol 3
- Guérin, M. V.: (1869): Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine. Judee Item notes: v. 1, pt. 2 (p. 123, 124, 304)
- Hadawi, Sami (1970), Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center
- Khalidi, Walid (1992), All That Remains, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, ISBN 0-88728-224-5
- Mayer, L. A. (1933), Saracenic Heraldry: A Survey, Oxford University Press, Oxford. (Cited in Petersen, 2002)
- Morris, Benny (2004). Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-00967-7
- Nasser, Gamal Abdul (1955/1973): "Memoirs" in Journal of Palestine Studies
- " “Memoirs of the First Palestine War” in 2, no. 2 (Win. 73): 3-32, pdf-file, downloadable
- 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.
- Petersen, Andrew (2002): A Gazetteer of Buildings in Muslim Palestine: Volume I (British Academy Monographs in Archaeology) Iraq al-Manshiyya, p. 155.
- Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins (1878), Volume: 1-2, 1878
- with A. Socin (1879). "Alphabetisches Verzeichniss von Ortschaften des Paschalik Jerusalem". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palaestina-Vereins (Leipzig) II: 133–163. p. 144