The northwestern tower of Belvoir Fortress, outside which the village Kawkab al-Hawa expanded.
|Name meaning||"star of the wind"|
|Also spelled||Kaukab al Hawa|
|Date of depopulation||16 May 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
Kawkab al-Hawa (Arabic: كوكب الهوا) is a depopulated former Palestinian village located 11 km north of Baysan. It was built within the ruins of the Crusader fortress of Belvoir, from which it expanded. The Crusader names for the Frankish settlement at Kuwaykat were Beauvoir, Belvoir, Bellum videre, Coquet, Cuschet and Coket. During Operation Gideon in 1948, the village was occupied by the Golani Brigade and depopulated.
Yaqut al-Hamawi, writing in the 1220s, referred to the place as a castle near Tiberias. According to him, it fell in ruins after the reign of Saladin. The Ayyubid commander of Ajlun, Izz al-Din Usama, was given Kawkab al-Hawa as an iqta ("fief") by Saladin in the late 1180s and it remained in his hands until 1212, when it was seized by sultan al-Mu'azzam. An inscription in the Ustinow collection, dated, tentatively, to the Abbasid period, was found incised on a basalt rock near the spring at Kawkab al-Hawa. The inscription state: "He ordered to make this blessed fountain the illustrious amir, Shuja ad-Din, may his glory be perpetuated."
Under the Ottoman Empire, in 1596, Kawkab al-Hawa was administrated by nahiya ("subdistrict") of Shafa under the liwa' ("district") of Lajjun, with a population of 50. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, beans and melons, as well as on vineyards.
The scholar Edward Robinson described the place in 1838 as a small village ("Kaukab el-Hawa"), situated "on the brow of the Jordan Valley", and he identified the place as the former Belvoir fortress
Since the village was built within the outlines of the fortress of Belvoir, it was slow to expand. The villagers, who numbered about 110 in 1859, resided within the fortress walls and cultivated about 13 faddans outside them.
In time the village expanded to the north and the west in a circle around the fortress. The Muslim population of the village used their land, which lay outside the village walls, for agriculture. In 1944/45 a total of 5,839 dunums was allocated to cereals; 170 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.
1948 War and aftermath
According to Benny Morris, Kibbutzniks demanded -and often themselves carried out- the destruction of neighbouring villages for local (and selfish) reasons, as a means of blocking the return of the Arab villagers. For this reason a veteran local leader, Nahum Wurwitz of Kfar Gil'adi appealed in a letter in September 1948 for permission to destroy Kawkab al-Hawa, Jabbul, al-Bira and al-Hamidiyya in the area for fear that they may be used by Arabs for military operations and to enable them to "take the village's lands, because the Arabs won't be able to return there".
Walid Khalidi described the remaining structures of the village in 1992:
"The village has been eliminated, but the site of the Belvoir Castle has been excavated and turned into a tourist attraction. Fig and olive trees grow on the village site. The slopes overlooking the Baysan Valley and Wadi al-Bira are used by Israelis as grazing areas; they also cultivate the other surrounding lands."
According to Meron Benvenisti, Kawkab al-Hawa represents one of the most conspicuous examples of the Israeli practice of removing Arab settlements of all Arab structures which did not interest them. At Kawkab al-Hawa (and at Caesarea) all Arab structures (except those useful as tourist amenities) were demolished by the Israelis, while the Crusader buildings were restored and made into tourist attractions. According to Benvenisti: "In the Israeli context, it is preferable to immortalize those who exterminated the Jewish communities of Europe (in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries) and murdered the Jews of Jerusalem in 1099 than to preserve relics of the local Arab civilization with which today´s Israelis supposedly coexist. Crusader structures, both authentic and fabricated, lend a European, romantic character to the country´s landscape, whereas Arab buildings spoil the myth of an occupied land under foreign rule, awaiting liberation at the hands of the Jews returning to their homeland."
- Palmer, 1881, p.162
- Hadawi, 1970, p.43
- Morris, 2004, p xv village number 115
- Robinson, Later Bibl. Researches, p. 565. '" Kaukab, called by the Crusaders Coquet, Coket...William Stubbs and Arthur Hassall(1902) Historical Introductions to the Rolls Series Longmans, Green, and Co., p 829...Historical Introductions to the Rolls Series. Collected and Edited by Arthur Hassall By William Stubbs, Adamant Media Corporation ISBN 1-4021-4831-3 p 329
- Ellenblum, 2003, p.56
- Kawkab al-Hawa, PalestineRemembered.com.
- Mu'jam Al-Buldan, cited in le Strange, 1890, p.483. Also quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.53.
- Humphreys, 1977, p.144.
- Sharon, 2007, p.131-134.
- 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. 157. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 53
- Robinson, 1856, p.361
- Conder, Claude Reignier and H.H. Kitchener: The Survey of Western Palestine. London:Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund (1881) II, p.85, p.117-119. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 53.
- Hadawi, 1970, p.85
- Khalidi, 1992, p. 53
- Morris, 2004, pp. 357. Quotes from Peterzil to Erem, Bentov, Hazan and Cisling (August 10, 1948), quoting an extract from an undated letter from Faivel Cohen of Ma'ayan Barukh, to Peterzil, HHA-ACP 10.95.10(5) therein.
- Benvenisti, 2002, 169, 303
- 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. 169, 303.
- Ellenblum, Ronnie (2003), Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-52187-1, ISBN 0-521-52187-4
- Conder, Claude Reignier and H.H. Kitchener (1881): The Survey of Western Palestine: memoirs of the topography, orography, hydrography, and archaeology. London:Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. vol 2
- Hadawi, Sami (1970), Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine, Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center
- Humphreys, Stephen (1977), From Saladin to the Mongols: The Ayyubids of Damascus, 1193-1260, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-87395-263-7, ISBN 0-87395-263-4
- Khalidi, Walid (1992), All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, ISBN 0-88728-224-5
- Le Strange, Guy (1890), Palestine under the Moslems. London
- Morris, Benny, (second edition 2004 third printing 2006) 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.
- Robinson, Edward (1856): Biblical researches in Palestine, 1838-52. A journal of travels in the year 1838. By E. Robinson and E. Smith. Drawn up from the original diaries, with historical illustrations, University of Michigan Library.
- Sharon, Moshe (2007), Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae, Addendum, BRILL, ISBN 978-90-04-15780-4 (Kawkab al-Hawa: p.131 )
- (1873-4): Quarterly statement - Palestine Exploration Fund Vol. 5-6 (p.179)
- Welcome to Kawkab-al-Hawa
- SWP map IX, IAA
- SWP map 9, Wikimedia commons
- Kawkab al-Hawa, at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
- Kawkab Al-Hawa photos from Dr. Moslih Kanaaneh