Najd, Gaza

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Village najed.JPG
Village ruins, 2010
Najd is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic نجد
Name meaning Highland[1]
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°33′02.29″N 34°35′54.49″E / 31.5506361°N 34.5984694°E / 31.5506361; 34.5984694Coordinates: 31°33′02.29″N 34°35′54.49″E / 31.5506361°N 34.5984694°E / 31.5506361; 34.5984694
Population 620[2] (1945)
Area 13,576 dunams

13.6 km²

Date of depopulation 12 May 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Expulsion by Yishuv forces
Current localities Sderot,[4] Or HaNer[5]

Najd (Arabic: نجد‎) was a Palestinian Arab village, located 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) northeast of Gaza City. During the British Mandate in Palestine, children from Najd attended school in the nearby village of Simsim. On 13 May 1948, Najd was occupied by the Negev Brigade as part of Operation Barak, and the villagers were expelled[6] and fled to Gaza.


The Mukhtar of Najd, 1939

Ceramics from the Byzantine period have been found.[7]

Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, in 1596, Najd formed part nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the liwa' (district) of Gaza with a population of 215. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley and fruit, as well as on goats, beehives and vineyards.[8]

Edward Robinson, who travelled through Palestine in 1838, noted that Najd lay south of a wadi, and described how the villagers were winnowing barley by throwing it into the air against the wind with wooden forks.[9] In 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village. He described it as being on a small height, and with three hundred inhabitants.[10] In 1883 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Najd as a small village with a well and a pond.[11]

As the population grew during the Mandate period, the village expanded northwestward. The village population was Muslim, and the children attended school in Simsim, 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) to the northeast. The villagers worked primarily in agriculture and animal husbandry. Fields of grain and fruit trees surrounded Najd on all sides. The fruit trees were concentrated to the north and northeastern sides, where irrigation water was available from wells.[12]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Nejd had a population of 305, all Muslims,[13] while in the 1931 census, Najd had 82 occupied houses and a population of 422 Muslims.[14]

Cultivated lands in the village in 1944-45 included a total of 10 dunums allocated for citrus and bananas and 11,916 dunums for cereals. An additional 511 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The population at this time was 620.[12][15]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

According to Benny Morris, the villagers of Najd were expelled by soldiers from the Negev Brigade on 12–13 May, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.[6]

The Israeli city of Sderot was founded in 1951 on village land, a few miles to the south of the village site,[12] while Or HaNer was founded in 1957 also on village land, to the northeast.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 377
  2. ^ Hadawi, 1970, p. 46
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. XIX, village #315. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  4. ^ Founded in 1951 on village land, to the south of the village. In Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  5. ^ Founded in 1957 on village land, to the northeast. In Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  6. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. 258
  7. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 882
  8. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 144. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  9. ^ Robinson, 1841, p. 371. Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 292
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 260. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  12. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  13. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 6
  15. ^ Hadawi, 1970, p. 88


External links[edit]