Sirin, Baysan

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Sirin
Arabic سرين
Also spelled Sereen
Subdistrict Baysan
Population 810[1] (1945)
Area 28,445[1] dunams

28.4 km²

Date of depopulation April 6, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation

Sirin (Arabic: سرين‎) was a Palestinian Arab village located 17 kilometers (11 mi) north of Beisan. The village was depopulated and destroyed in 1948. Only the village cemetery and one house remain standing, along with the remains of a mosaic pavement and a vaulted spring dating to the Byzantine period. Mentioned in historical documents, the 1596 census indicated it had 22 people; by 1945, this had risen to 810.

History[edit]

Like other villages in Palestine, Sirin fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire between 1517 and 1918. In 1596, Sirin formed part of the nahiya (subdistrict) of Jenin under the liwa' ("district") of Lajjun, with a population of 22. Villagers paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat and barley, as well as on goats and beehives.[3]

James Silk Buckingham, who visited the village in the early 19th century, transcribes its name as "Sereen" and describes it as being made up of about thirty to forty houses with half a dozen Bedouin tents located close to it.[4] In the latter half of the same century, the village of Sirin was described as being surrounded by hedges of prickly pear, with about 100 inhabitants who cultivated 35 faddans of land.[5]

First evacuated in April 1948 by Jewish forces, by June 1948, some of the inhabitants had returned. Permanently depopulated by Israeli troops in the summer of 1948, Sirin was then completely destroyed.

Benny Morris claims that Sirin was one of the first of approximately two dozen villages that were evacuated on Arab orders in April-May 1948 for "pre-invasion military reasons."[6] However Ilan Pappe writes that the village had not been evacuated and that it expected that it "would be exempt from the fate of the nearby villages", due to its good connections with Jewish authorities, but that it was nonetheless occupied by Jewish troops on May 12, 1948, expelling the population and destroying the mosque, church and monastery.[7]

When Israeli troops entered Sirin in June 1948, they that about 100 inhabitants had returned. After checking their IDs and searching for weapons (finding only some knives), the troops left the village. A report from the battalion's intelligence officer recommended, "the Arabs should be ejected from the area, the young men should be arrested, and the crops confiscated ..."[8] Sirin, along with the villages of Hadatha, 'Ulam, and Ma'dhar, were all permanently depopulated by Israeli troops in the summer of 1948.[9]

Walid Khalidi described all that was left of the village structures of Sirin in 1994: "The cemetery and one house (which serves as a storage room for straw) are all that remain of Sirin. Stone rubble surrounded by clusters of cactuses can be seen on the site. The site itself is used as a stockyard for cattle. The spring in the middle of the site is covered with a stone structure. Some of the land around the village is planted in cotton."[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hadawi, 1970, p. 44.
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #108 Also gives cause of depopulation.
  3. ^ Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter and Kamal Abdulfattah (1977), Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. p. 157. Quoted in Khalidi (1992), p. 60
  4. ^ Buckingham, 1821, p. 449. Also cited in Khalidi, p. 60.
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, SWP, 1881, II p.86. Quoted in Khalidi, p. 60.
  6. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 76-77.
  7. ^ Pappe, 2006, p. 105.
  8. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 261.
  9. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 308, footnote # 806.
  10. ^ Khalidi, 1994, p. 60.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]