|Name meaning||personal name,|
|Date of depopulation||June 11, 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
Julis (Arabic: جولس) was a Palestinian Arab village in the Gaza Subdistrict, located 26.5 kilometers (16.5 mi) northeast of Gaza on a slight elevation along the southern coastal plain. In 1945, there were 1,030 inhabitants in the village. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Julis was built on an archaeological site whose ancient name is unknown. In 1596, it was a village of 204 persons (79 households) located in the nahiya of Gaza, part of the Liwa of Gaza. It paid taxes on wheat, barely, fruit, beehives, vineyards and goats. In the late 19th century, Julis was mostly built of adobe brick structures, had a well to the south, and a pool surrounded by gardens to the northeast.
British Mandate period
During World War II, the British built a highway that passed through Julis parallel and feeding traffic to the coastal highway. The road also intersected at the village with the highway leading from al-Majdal (Ashkelon) to the Jerusalem–Jaffa highway. This gave the village importance as a transportation center. The British also constructed a military camp in Julis to control the junction.
The village was laid out in a square, sandwiched between the two highways and bounded at one end by the traffic circle where they intersected. Its adobe and cement houses were constructed close together. The village had a mosque—its entire population consisted of Muslims—and a shrine dedicated to Shaykh Khayr. According to local tradition, Khayr was a Muslim soldier killed fighting against the Crusaders. Village shops were scattered along the highway and in 1937 a school was opened; it had an enrollment of 86 students in the mid-1940s. Underground water was abundant in Julis and was used for domestic methods.
1948 War and aftermath
On May 27-28, 1948, the Givati Brigade's First Battalion captured a military barracks in Julis during Operation Barak, but failed to gain control of the village itself. Egyptian forces attempted to recapture it almost immediately. According to the History of the Haganah, "The defenders of the place [Givati forces] blocked enemy units which tried... to infiltrate the barracks from the direction of the village of Julis." The Haganah account says that Julis was captured on June 11, as the Givati's Third Battalion mounted a number of operations to occupy a number of villages before the first truce of the war took place. However, in Gamal Abdel Nasser's memoirs, he recalled the maneuvers having taken place soon after the truce came into effect.
At the end of the truce, Julis became one of the many main positions the Egyptians failed to recapture. The Egyptian Army's Sixth Battalion which Nasser was chief of staff of, was ordered to take back the position. In later years, Nasser was very critical of the operation's planning, writing "Once again we were a facing a battle for which we had no preparation. We had no information about the enemy at Julis." In the few hours before his unit was to move towards Julis, Nasser organized a quick reconnaissance of the position. During the course of the battle, his commanding officer ordered him to participate in the actual fighting, leaving his unit without direction or coordination. After getting hold of a few aerial photographs of the village, Nasser convinced his commander that "even if we had succeeded in entering Julis... it would have turned into a cemetery for our forces." He argued that Julis was indefensible without the barracks which overlooked it. On July 10, after many Egyptian casualties, the battle was called off. According to the Haganah, the Givati units repulsed an Egyptian attack in which no Israeli soldier was injured. A close colleague of Nasser, Isma'il Mohieddin was killed during the battle.
In 1949, Israel established the moshav of Hodaya on village lands southwest of the village site. According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, "Only a few houses remain. Most of them are made of cement, and have simple architectural features: flat roofs and rectangular doors and windows. One has two storeys and another has an 'iliyya. One house, in the southwestern section of the site, is occupied by Jewish residents."
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