Qastina

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Qastina
Qastina is located in Mandatory Palestine
Qastina
Qastina
Arabic قسطينة
Name meaning El Kustîneh, Kŭstîleh, i.e., Castellum[1]
Also spelled Kastina[2]
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°44′20.76″N 34°45′43.98″E / 31.7391000°N 34.7622167°E / 31.7391000; 34.7622167Coordinates: 31°44′20.76″N 34°45′43.98″E / 31.7391000°N 34.7622167°E / 31.7391000; 34.7622167
Population 890 (1931)
Area 12,019 dunams
Date of depopulation 9 July 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Secondary cause Influence of nearby town's fall
Current localities Kfar Warburg, Arugot, Kfar Ahim, Kiryat Malakhi
For the road junction with the same name, see Malakhi Junction.

Qastina (Arabic: قسطينة‎) was a Palestinian village, located 38 kilometers northeast of Gaza City. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.[4]

Location[edit]

Qastina was situated on an elevated spot in a generally flat area on the coastal plain, on the highway between al-Majdal and the Jerusalem-Jaffa highway. A British military camp, Beer Tuvia, was 3 km. southwest of the village.[4]

History[edit]

Qastina was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and by 1596, it was a village in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the liwa' (district) of Gaza, with a population of 385. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley and sesame, and fruits, as well as goats, beehives and vineyards.[5]

The Syrian Sufi traveller Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi reported travelling through the village in the mid-eighteenth century, on his way to al-Masmiyya al-Kabira.[6]

In 1838, Edward Robinson saw el-Kustineh located northwest of Tell es-Safi, where he was staying,[7] while in 1863, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village, called Kasthineh. He found it had four hundred people. Near the mouth of a well were the remains of an antique gray-white marble column, while two palm trees and three acacia mimosas shaded the cemetery.[8] In the late nineteenth century, Qastina was described as a village laid out in a northwest-southeast direction on flat ground. It had adobe brick structures, a well, and gardens.[9]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, the village had a population of 406 Muslims,[2] increasing in the 1931 census when it had an all-Muslim population of 593 in 147 houses.[10]

The villagers had a mosque, and in 1936 an elementary school was started, which was shared with the neighboring village of Tall al-Turmus. By the mid-1940s the school had 161 students.[4]

In 1939 Kfar Warburg was established on what was traditionally village land, 3 km southwest of the village site.[11]

The villagers lived mostly of agriculture. In 1944/45 a total of 235 dunums was used for citrus and bananas, while 7,317 dunums used for cereals. 770 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. In addition, villagers raised animals and poultry, and worked in the British military camp (Beer Tuvia) nearby.[4]

1948 war, and after[edit]

Qastina was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan.[12] Upon Israel's declaration of independence on 15 May 1948, the armies of neighbouring Arab states invaded, prompting fresh evacuations of civilians fearful of being caught up in the fighting. The women and children of Qastina were sent away to the village of Tell es-Safi by the menfolk at this time, but they returned after discovering there was insufficient water in the host village to meet the newcomers' needs.[13]

A preparatory order for the conquest of Qastina and other neighbouring villages (Masmiya al Kabira, Masmiya al Saghira, al Tina and Tall al Turmus) was drafted by the Giv'ati Brigade's 51st Battalion and produced on 29 June 1948. According to Benny Morris, the document recommended "the 'liquidation' (hisul) of the two Masmiya villages and 'burning' (bi'ur) the rest."[14]

On 9 July 1948, the village and its over 147 houses were completely destroyed by Israeli forces after its inhabitants fled an assault by the Givati Brigade in Operation An-Far.

Qastina was used as a rallying point by the IDF seventh Battalion of the 8th Armored Brigade after the failed attack on Iraq al-Manshiyya in part of the Israeli drive to open a route to the Negev during Operation Yoav.[15]

Today, there are four Israeli localities located on the lands of the former village: in addition to Kfar Warburg, Arugot and Kfar Ahim was established on village land in 1949, after the village had been destroyed. In 1950 Avigdor and in 1951 Kiryat Malakhi were established, both on the land of the destroyed village.[11] Be'er Tuvia, which was also known by the name Qastina after its establishment in 1887, lies adjacent.

Walid Khalidi notes of Qastina that:

"All that remains is the debris of houses strewn across the site. The research team investigating the current status of the depopulated villages visited the site and found it overgrown with bushes and tall grasses that were about 2m high."[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 272
  2. ^ a b Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 9
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xix, village #275. Also gives causes of depopulation.
  4. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, pp. 130-131
  5. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 149. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 130
  6. ^ "Al-Rihla", cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 130
  7. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, Vol 2, p. 364
  8. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 87 -88
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 410. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.130
  10. ^ Mills , 1932, p. 5
  11. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 131
  12. ^ "Map of UN Partition Plan". United Nations. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 
  13. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 176.
  14. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 436.
  15. ^ Shapira, 2008, p. 243

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]