Taytaba

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Taytaba
Taytaba is located in Mandatory Palestine
Taytaba
Taytaba
Arabic طيطبا
Name meaning "Watchtower"[1]
Also spelled Teitaba[2]
Subdistrict Safad
Coordinates 33°00′48″N 35°28′43″E / 33.01333°N 35.47861°E / 33.01333; 35.47861Coordinates: 33°00′48″N 35°28′43″E / 33.01333°N 35.47861°E / 33.01333; 35.47861
Population 530 (1945)
Area 8,453 dunams

8.5 km²

Date of depopulation May 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Fear of being caught up in the fighting
Current localities None

Taytaba (Arabic: طيطبا‎, also spelled Teitaba) was a Palestinian-Arab village in the Safad Subdistrict, located 5 kilometers north of Safad. It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine in May 1948 under Operation Hiram. In 1945 it had a population of 530 and a total area of 8,453 dunams, 99.8% of which was Arab-owned.[3]

It was situated in a rocky area located along the crest of a basaltic hill that overlooks Wadi Taytaba, a tributary of Wadi Waqqas, to the southeast. It was connected to a highway leading to Safad via a secondary road and connected to many of the surrounding villages through secondary roads as well.[3]

History[edit]

Taytaba has been identified as the Biblical site where Elijah received his patronymic of "Tishbite."[1]

During the early Ottoman era in 1596, Taytaba was part of the nahiyah ("subdistrict") of Jira, part of the liwa ("district") of Safad and paid taxes on goats and beehives. It had a population of 434.[3] Its population decreased to roughly 200, all Muslims, by the late Ottoman era when French explorer Victor Guérin visited in 1870. The houses were made of basalt and there was a plantation of figs. An Islamic shrine stood on a nearby hill, with blocks of basalt apparently carved by hand.[4] At that time, Taytaba's inhabitants cultivated gardens to the west of the village site.[3]

During the British Mandatory period in the early 20th-century, the houses of the village were built from stone and adobe brick. All of its residents, who numbered 364 in the 1931 census were Muslims.[3] A mosque and a boys' elementary school (the latter was built during the British period) was located in the southern section of Taytaba. The built-up areas of the village amounted to 61 dunams. The inhabitants main source of income and sustenance was from agriculture and 585 dunams were cultivated for orchards and 45 dunams for grains. A total of 5,763 dunams were cultivable.[5]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

In February 1948 Taytaba reportedly hosted Arab volunteers participating in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War according to the New York Times. The newspaper stated that on 18 February a British Army patrol approaching Taytaba was attacked by Arab fighters prompting the dispatch of British reinforcements. British forces eventually withdrew and no casualties were reported. On 15 February a unit from the Haganah (precursor to the Israeli Army) attacked Taytaba following a mass killing they committed at the nearby Palestinian-Arab village of Sa'sa'. No details of the attack on Taytaba were mentioned the Associated Press report.[5]

It is not known exactly when Taytaba was captured by Israel or emptied of its residents, but most likely fell in May during the later stages of the Israeli offensive Operation Yiftach. According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, as such its residents probably evacuated or were expelled between the capture of Safad on 11 May or the end of the operation on 25 May. The Palestinian historian Nafez Nazzal contends that most of Taytaba's inhabitants left the village in early May as a result of the massacre at Ein al-Zeitun.[5] Following the news of the massacre, many families fled to temporarily camp in the fields between the village and nearby Ras al-Ahmar. However, armed men remained in Taytaba until retreating after Jewish forces attacked in October.[6]

As of 1992 no Israeli localities were built on the site of Taytaba and according to Khalidi when he visited, the "village contains the stone rubble of razed houses." A small number of olive trees were present among thorny plants and grass. Part of its lands were used by the Israeli moshav of Dalton for agricultural and pastoral purposes.[5]

Archaeology[edit]

To the east of Taytaba lies the ruins (khirba) of al-Tasarif, an artificial mound which contains stone fragments of an ancient tomb. To the north of the village is a field of dolmens.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Conder and Kitchener, 1881, p. 95.
  2. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #44. Gives cause of depopulation as "?"
  3. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p. 499.
  4. ^ Guérin (1870), pp. 442–443
  5. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p. 500.
  6. ^ Esber, 2008, p. 337.

Bibliography[edit]