Operation Dekel

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Operation Dekel (Hebrew: מבצע דקל‎, Mivtza Dekel, lit. Operation Palm Tree), was the largest offensive by Israeli forces in the north of Israel after the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was carried out by the 7th Armoured Brigade led by Canadian volunteer Ben Dunkelman (called Benjamin Ben-David in Israel), a battalion from the Carmeli Brigade, and some elements from the Golani Brigade between 8–18 July. Its objective was to capture Nazareth and the Lower Galilee.

On 15 July Israeli aircraft bombed Saffuriya village and caused panic among the population; many of the villagers fled northwards toward Lebanon, others found shelter in Nazareth, leaving about 100 elderly people behind.

On the evening of 16 July, Nazareth surrendered to the Israelis after a light fight which left one Israeli dead and one wounded. The Arab Liberation Army forces in the village under the command of Fawzi al-Qawuqji retreated to the mountains in the north. In sharp contrast to the surrounding towns, the inhabitants of Nazareth were never forced to evacuate as Dunkelman refused to obey orders from Haim Laskov to evacuate them.[1]

Arab localities captured in Operation Dekel[edit]

Operation Dekel. July 1948
Name Population[2] Date Brigade Notes
Kuwaykat 1,050 9 July 7th Armoured Brigade and Carmeli Brigade Village depopulated and destroyed
Kafr Yasif 1,057 (1931) 10 July Carmeli Brigade Most of Muslim population as well as refugees from other villages deported. Town exists today.
Khirbat Jiddin 1,500 10-11 July Village and bedouin camps depopulated and destroyed.
Julis n/a (Druze) 8-14 July Population allowed to remain in their homes. Town exists today.
Al-Makr n/a 8-14 July Town exists today.
I'billin 1,057 8-14 July Muslim population expelled. Town exists today.
Shefa-'Amr 3,640 8-14 July 7th Armoured Brigade and Carmeli Brigade Muslim population fled under bombardmennt. Town exists today as a city.
Kabul 457 (1931) 15 July 7th Armoured Brigade Villagers remained. Town exists today.
Al-Mujaydil 1900 15 July Golani Brigade Village completely emptied and raised to the ground.
Ma'lul 690 15 July Village depopulated and destroyed.
Saffuriya 4,000 16 July Carmeli Brigade Villagers expelled. Hundreds of returnees expelled November 1948 and January 1949. Nothing remains.
Nazareth 18,000 16 July Carmeli Brigade Population allowed to remain. Town exists today.
Nimrin 320 17 July Village depopulated and destroyed.
Lubya 2,370 17 July Villagers not allowed to return. Village buildings destroyed in 1960s.
Hittin 1,190 17 July Golani Brigade Villagers fled before the attack and then prevented from returning. Village destroyed.
Amqa 1,240 15–16 July 7th Armoured Brigade and Carmeli Brigade Village depopulated and destroyed.
ad-Damun 1,310 15-16 July 7th Armoured Brigade Village bombarded, population expelled and buildings destroyed.
Tamra, 15-18 July 7th Armoured Brigade Villagers evacuated 20 May. Re-populated with exiles from neighbouring villages.
Mi'ar 770 15-18 July 7th Armoured Brigade Villagers fled from advancing soldiers. Village destroyed.
Yafa 833 (1931) 15-18 July Town exists today.
Uzeir 150 15-18 July Village exists today.
Kfar Kanna 1,175 (1922) 15-18 July 7th Armoured Brigade Town exists today.
Rummana 590 15-18 July Village exists today.
Bu'eina 15-18 July Town exists today.
Al-Ruways 330 18 July 7th Armoured Brigade Villagers fled under bombardment and buildings destroyed. Land now used by kibbutz Yas'ur.
Tur'an 1,350 18 July Empty houses used for refugees expelled from other villages. Town exists today.
Nahf 200 (1881) 18 July 7th Armoured Brigade Population allowed to remain. Town exists today.
Al-Birwa 1,460 18 July Units of ALA involved in defending the village. After capture villagers were prevented from returning and the village was destroyed.
Sha'b 1,740 19 July Villagers expelled, later replaced by exiles from other villages.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Said, E.W. & Hitchens, C. (2001) Blaming the Victims pp. 86-87 ISBN 1-85984-340-9
  2. ^ 'All That Remains',ISBN 0-88728-224-5, quoting 1944/45 census.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°46′53.41″N 35°12′6.26″E / 32.7815028°N 35.2017389°E / 32.7815028; 35.2017389