Mallaha

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Mallaha
Melaha.jpg
Bundles of dried papyrus being loaded onto a lorry. Mallaha, circa 1936.
Mallaha is located in Mandatory Palestine
Mallaha
Mallaha
Arabic ملاّحة
Name meaning "the salty site"
Subdistrict Safad
Coordinates 33°05′23.80″N 35°34′55.38″E / 33.0899444°N 35.5820500°E / 33.0899444; 35.5820500Coordinates: 33°05′23.80″N 35°34′55.38″E / 33.0899444°N 35.5820500°E / 33.0899444; 35.5820500
Population 654 (1932)
Area 2,168 dunams
Date of depopulation 25 May 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Whispering campaign

Mallaha (Arabic: ملاّحة‎) was a Palestinian Arab village, located 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) northeast of Safed, on the highway between the latter and Tiberias.[2][3] 'Ain Mallaha is the local Arabic name for a spring that served as the water source for the village inhabitants throughout the ages. It is also one of the names used in English to refer to the ancient Natufian era settlement at the site.

History[edit]

Ancient[edit]

Evidence of settlement at Mallaha (or 'Ain Mallaha) dates back to the Mesolithic period circa 10,000 BCE.[4] The first permanent village settlement of pre-agricultural times in Palestine, Kathleen Kenyon describes the material remains found there as Natufian, consisting of 50 circular, semi-subterranean, one-room huts, paved with flat slabs and surrounded by stone walls up to 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) high.[5][6] The floors and walls of the homes were decorated in solid white or red, a simple and popular decorative motif in the Near East at the time.[4] The inhabitants appear to have subsisted on fish from nearby Lake Hula, as well as by hunting and gathering, though no evidence of animal domestication or cultivation has been found.[5][7]

Crusader era[edit]

During the Crusader era, the Franks referred to Mallaha as Merla.[8] Ibn al-Qalanisi describes a battle that took place at Mallaha in June 1157 between the Arab and Turkish forces of Nur ad-Din Zangi and those of the Crusaders under King Baldwin III.[9][10] Qalanisi writes that Nur ad-Din sent his troops to Mallaha immediately after learning via pigeon post that the Franks had set up an encampment there. The battle, as described by Qalanisi, was bloody and quick, resulting in decisive victory for the Muslim forces, who are reported to have lost only two men,[9] with the king narrowly escaping with a bodyguard.[11] The battles for control over Mallaha continued. The Itinerary of Richard I notes that the army had advanced to Merla, "where the king had spent one of the previous nights."[8]

Ottoman rule[edit]

Mallaha, like most of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in the early sixteenth century. Sufi traveler al-Bakri al-Siddiqi passed by the village in the mid-eighteenth century. In 1838, Edward Robinson (scholar) observed that Mallaha lay northwest of Lake Hula.[3][12]

British Mandate[edit]

Mallaha during the British Mandate times had a roughly rectangular configuration that stretched from north to south, Its entire population was Muslim, and it lived mostly of agriculture.[3]

In a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Mallaha had a population of 440, all Muslims,[13] increasing in the 1931 census to a population of 654, still all Muslims, in 161 houses.[14]

In 1944/45 a total of 1,761 dunums were used for cereals by the villagers. The population, combined with that of 'Arab al-Zubayd, came to 890.[3]

Mallaha 1946

1948, and after[edit]

On 25 May 1948 the villagers left their homes on the advice of their Jewish neighbours. This was part of a "whispering campaign" launched by the Haganah following Operation Yiftach.[15]

According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, describing the remains of the village in 1992: "The sandy hill on which the village was situated is completely overgrown with tall grass, cactuses, and weeds, as well as an assortment of fig, eucalyptus, and date-palm trees. Amidst the overgrowth, stone rubble from destroyed houses can be seen. The surrounding land is cultivated by the settlement of Yesud ha-Ma'ala.[3]

A village history was published in Damascus in 2005.[16] According to a commentator on Palestinian village history, dr. Davis, this history is especially notable due to the prominent role women are given in describing village life. Davis believes this might be because the villagers belonged to the Ghawarneh group, where women traditionally took more prominent roles.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, 2004, xvi, village #28. Also provides cause of depopulation.
  2. ^ Welcome to Mallaha, Palestine Remembered, retrieved 2008-12-22 
  3. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.472.
  4. ^ a b Schmandt-Besserat, 2007, p. 47.
  5. ^ a b Kenyon, 1985, p. 20.
  6. ^ Kipfer, 2000, p. 381.
  7. ^ Edwards et al., 1970, p. 499.
  8. ^ a b Lyon and Jackson, 1984, p. 430.
  9. ^ a b Gabrieli, 1969, pp. 66-7.
  10. ^ Maalouf, 1987, pp.143-158 cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.472.
  11. ^ Dabbagh, pp.165-166 cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.472.
  12. ^ Robinson, 1841, p.341
  13. ^ J. B. Barron, ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine. Table XI, Sub-district of Safad, p. 42. 
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 108
  15. ^ Morris, Benny (1987) The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-1949. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-33028-9. p.123.
  16. ^ 'Abd al-'Aal, 2005: Judhur wa furu' Filastiniyya min al-Mallaha
  17. ^ Davis, 2011, p. 108

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]