Qamun

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Qamun
Arabic قامون
Name meaning "Cumin"
Subdistrict Haifa
Population
Area
Date of depopulation late March 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Whispering campaign
Current localities Yokneam

Qamun (Arabic: قامون‎, Kaimôn, meaning "cumin"; also transliterated Kamun, Kaimun, Keimûn) was a Palestinian village, located southeast of Haifa, adjacent to the neighbouring village of Qira.[2]

Thought to be the site of the Canaanite royal city of Jokneam, during Roman rule in Palestine millennia later, it was a city whose name is transcribed by Eusebius of Caesarea as Cammona, and by Jerome, as Cimana.[3] During the Crusades, Caymon was a valuable fiefdom, granted to Balian of Ibelin by Saladin. Incorporated into the empires to rule Palestine that followed, it often was referred to by locals in conjunction with its neighbouring village, as Qira wa Qamun. The occupation of Qira and Qamun by pre-state Israeli forces on 1 March 1948 resulted in the depopulation of both villages.[2]

History[edit]

Eusebius of Caesarea, writing of Kamun in the third century, notes that it was a "city" that lay "6 miles north of Megiddo."[4] In his book, A descriptive geography and brief historical sketch of Palestine (1850), Joseph Schwarz states that Kamun lies in the valley of Wady Naman, a valley near the Carmel, "which has some slight resemblance to the ancient Jokneam."[4] The identification of Kaimun with Jokneam, one of the thirty-one royal cities of Canaan, is reiterated by Carel Willem M. van de Velde in Narrative of a journey through Syria and Palestine in 1851 and 1852.[5] He describes Kaimun during his visit there as a "small village with a plastered tomb called Shech-Abrît or Abrik, near where the victory was obtained by Barak over Sisera."[5] Van de Velde also notes the presence of ruins in Kaimun, including the foundations of a Christian church on the east side of the hill upon which the village was located, and several large vaulted caves.[5]

Edward Robinson also associated Kaimôn with Jokneam, pointing to the presence of a tell known as Tell Kaimôn. Robinson also argued that Kaimôn may be an Arabic corruption of the Hebrew name, Yokneam, as recorded in the Old Testament. By his theory, the Yod was dropped, the guttural Koph was retained and the Ayin sound "may well have disappeared through the medium of the Galilean dialect, which confounded Aleph, Heth and Ayin."[3] Robinson further identifies Kaimôn with the writings of Euseubius on Cammona and those of Jerome on Cimana, which is described as a city "situated in the great plain, six Roman miles north of Legio, on the way to Ptolemais."[3]

One rendition of the story of Cain and Abel in local traditional Islamic folklore holds that after slaying his brother, Cain was accidentally slain by an arrow launched by Lamech while the latter was hunting at Tell el Kaimun.[6]

After Saladin defeated the armies of the Crusades in the twelfth century and before his death, he granted lordship over the fief of Caymon or Tell Kaimun to Balian of Ibelin, an in-law of Henry of Champagne.[7] The Crusaders transformed its name, so as to read, Cain Mons ("Mount Cain"), recalling the tradition that it was the site of Cain's killing as described in the Book of Genesis' Song of Lamech. Writing in the latter half of the 19th century, Claude R. Conder in Tent Work in Palestine: A Record of Discovery and Adventure notes that a local chapel in Keimun "shows the spot once held to be the site of the death of Cain."[8]

According to Ilan Pappe in The Israel/Palestine Question (1999), the 140 tenant farmers of Qira wa Qamun evacuated the village in March 1948 on the "friendly advice" of the local Haganah intelligence officer at Yokneam, Yehuda Burstein.[9] Benny Morris notes that Burnstein received the orders for the evacuation from Yosef Weitz.[10] The Haganah Intelligence Report attributes the flight to "fear and the influence of attacks in the area," which Morris notes is "not really the same thing."[9] Subsequent to the depopulation of the village, Weitz and his colleagues from the Jewish National Fund in the North, "decided to raze the tenants' houses, to destroy their crops, and to pay the evictees compensation."[10]

Qira wa Qamun's inhabitants joined the first wave of the 1948 Palestinian exodus, displaced prior to the outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.[10] Today, the villagers and their descendants remain refugees.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xviii, village #154 "Qira wa Qamun". Also gives cause of depopulation, with a "?"
  2. ^ a b c "Welcome to Qira". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  3. ^ a b c Robinson, 1856, p. 115.
  4. ^ a b Schwarz, 1850, p. 91.
  5. ^ a b c Van de Velde, 1854, p. 331.
  6. ^ Hanauer, 2002, p. 241.
  7. ^ Runciman, p. 82.
  8. ^ Conder, 2002, p. 131.
  9. ^ a b Pappe, 1999, p. 206.
  10. ^ a b c Morris, 2004, p. 131.

Bibliography[edit]