Suhmata

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Suhmata
Suhmata 1949.jpg
Jewish settlers at Suhmata, 1949
Suhmata is located in Mandatory Palestine
Suhmata
Suhmata
Arabic سحماتا
Also spelled Soukhmata[1] Sahmatah, Samueth, Samahete
Subdistrict Acre
Coordinates 33°00′18.64″N 35°18′13.79″E / 33.0051778°N 35.3038306°E / 33.0051778; 35.3038306Coordinates: 33°00′18.64″N 35°18′13.79″E / 33.0051778°N 35.3038306°E / 33.0051778; 35.3038306
Population 1,130 (1945)
Area 17,056 dunams
Date of depopulation 30 October 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Tzuriel, Hosen

Suhmata (Arabic: سحماتا‎, Hebrew: סוחמאתא) was a Palestinian village, located 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of Acre. It was depopulated by the Golani Brigade during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

History[edit]

Separated from the neighbouring village of Tarshiha by a deep gorge, the ruins of a Byzantine era church lay within Suhamata's village lands.[3][4][5] Underground water reservoir and a burial cave that apparently dates to the Roman period have been found at the village site.[6][7] Suhmata had a Christian population at least until the Persian invasion of Palestine (A.D. 614-627)[8] and presumably many people remained Christian for some time after that.[9] Excavations in 1932 revealed an inscription in the church's mosaic floor that dates to 555 CE.[10] The Crusaders referred to the village as Samueth or Samahete.[4][5] Suhamata, the village of Suphie, and some houses in Castellum Regis were purchased by Baldwin IV of Jerusalem from Petronilla of Aragon, the vicecomitissa of Acre, for 4,500 bezants.[11] However, Ronnie Ellenblum writes that it is unlikely that there was actual Frankish settlement in Suhmata.[11] What was earlier termed a Crusader-era castle constructed in the village was (rebuilt by Daher el-Omar in the latter half of the 18th century), turned out to be the Byzantine church.[4][9][12]

In 1875 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited Suhmata, and noted that "The village divided into two distinct quarters, occupies two hills near each other, between which is a great birket, partly cut in the rock and partly built. One of these hills is crowned by the remains of a fortress flanked by towers and built with simple rubble; it contained several subterranean magazines, a mosque, and various chambers. The foundation is attributed to Dhaher el Amer. It is now three parts demolished, and on the place where it stood grow vines and tobacco."[13]

In the late nineteenth century, Suhmata was a village built of stone and situated on a ridge and the slope of a hill. The village residents, numbering about 400, tended fig and olive trees.[14]

In the late Ottoman era, an elementary school for boys was founded in the village (1886), and during the Mandatory Palestine, an agricultural school was established.[4][9] These schools, a mosque, a church, two rain-fed irrigation pools,[9] and some 288 houses made up the built-up portion of the village just prior to the outbreak of the 1948 war.[4]

Over 70 percent of the village land was rocky and uncultivated, covered with oak and wild pears. The agricultural land was planted with wheat, barley, maize, tobacco, and vegetables. Suhmata's tobacco had a reputation for quality. In 1944/45 a total of 3,290 dunums was allocated to cereals; 1,901 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[9]

1948 war and aftermath[edit]

During Operation Hiram, on 30 October 1948, the First Battalion of Israel's Golani Brigade assaulted the village, resulting in the exodus of its villagers.[4] The village was left in ruins.[15]

A naming committee established by the Jewish National Fund, which operated from 1948 to 1951 until its incorporation into a Governmental Naming Committee set up by Israel, renamed Suhmata, "Hosen", meaning "Strength." Meron Benvenisti writes that the committee chose this symbolic new name after determining that there was no known Jewish historical connection to the village of Suhmata.[16]

Suhmata's former inhabitants founded a village committee in 1993 which organizes volunteer efforts. The village committee also conducted a survey of the displaced population from Suhmata and their distribution inside Israel.[17] The village was also the focus of the 1996 play Sahmatah by Hanna Eady and Ed Mast.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Guérin, 1880, p.74
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, xvii, village #64. Also provides cause of depopulation.
  3. ^ Robinson, 1857, p. 76.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Welcome to Suhmata". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  5. ^ a b Pringle, 1997, p. 118.
  6. ^ Lerer, 2008, Zuri’el
  7. ^ Lerer, 2009, Suhmata
  8. ^ Makhul, Naji 1977, (Acre and its villages since Ancient Times. In Arabic.) p.134, quoted in Khalidi, p.29
  9. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.29
  10. ^ Avi-Yonah,1933: "The Byzantine Church at Suhmata." The Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine 3 (2) p.92-105, quoted in Khalidi, p.29
  11. ^ a b Ellenblum, 2003, p. 45, note #10.
  12. ^ Pringle, 1997, p. 118
  13. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 74-75, as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 192
  14. ^ Conder & Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.149. Cited in Khalidi, p.29
  15. ^ Mansour, 2004, p. 220.
  16. ^ Benvenisti, 2002, pp. 34-35.
  17. ^ Masalha and Said, 2005, p. 98.
  18. ^ Americans for Middle East Understanding February - March 1999

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]