Umm al-Faraj

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Umm al-Faraj
Umm al-Faraj is located in Mandatory Palestine
Umm al-Faraj
Umm al-Faraj
Arabic أُم الفرج
Name meaning The ruin with the gap, or chink[1]
Also spelled Um el-Faraj, La Fierge
Subdistrict Acre
Coordinates 33°00′17.76″N 35°07′15.83″E / 33.0049333°N 35.1210639°E / 33.0049333; 35.1210639Coordinates: 33°00′17.76″N 35°07′15.83″E / 33.0049333°N 35.1210639°E / 33.0049333; 35.1210639
Population 800[2] (1945)
Area 825[2] dunams
Date of depopulation 21 May 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Ben Ami

Umm al-Faraj (Arabic: أم الفرج‎, known to the Crusaders as La Fierge) was a Palestinian village, depopulated in 1948.


The village was situated on a flat spot in the Acre plain, 10.5 kilometers (6.5 mi) northeast of Acre.[4]


The village was known to the Crusaders as Le Fierge.[4]

Ottoman era[edit]

In 1799, the village was called El Fargi on the map of Pierre Jacotin.[5] An inscription in marble, built into the wall above the gate of the village mosque, dates this building to 1254 H, (1838-39 C.E.).[6]

During the late Ottoman period, in May 1875, the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village. He described it as being surrounded by "delightful" gardens, irrigated with water from Nahr al-Mafshukh. Many houses were build with great care, and some had old pieces of stone built into them. All the villagers were Muslim.[7] In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as being built of stone and with a population of 200. The villagers planted fig, olive, mulberry and pomegranate trees.[8]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities Umm al Faraj had a population of 322, all Muslims, [9] increasing in the 1931 census to 415, 2 Christians and 413 Muslims, in a total of 94 houses.[10] The older houses in the village were built close together and formed a circle, while the homes build after 1936 were scattered among the orchards.[4] The population of Umm al-Faraj lived by agriculture.[4] In 1944/45 a total of 745 dunams (0.745 km2; 0.288 sq mi) was used for citrus and bananas, 18 dunams (0.018 km2; 0.0069 sq mi) were used for cereals, while 42 dunams (0.042 km2; 0.016 sq mi) were irrigated or used for orchards.[4][11]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Umm al-Faraj was assaulted by Israel's Carmeli Brigade in the second stage of Operation Ben'Ami. The operational order, issued 19 May 1948, was to "attack with the aim of conquest, the killing of adult males, destruction and torching."[12] The assault came on the 20–21 May 1948, when Carmeli forces attacked Umm al-Faraj together with Kabri, al Tell and Nahar, and then "demolished them," according to Morris.[13]

The Israeli settlement of Ben Ami was established in 1949, in part on village land.[14]

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village remains in 1992: "Only the stone mosque remains. It is shut and stands in a state of decay amid tall wild grass. Many trees that might predate the village's destruction can be seen. The nearby lands are cultivated; a banana grove belongs to the Ben Ammi settlement."[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 50
  2. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 41
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #83. Morris also gives cause of depopulation.
  4. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.34
  5. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 160
  6. ^ Sharon, 1999, pp. 170 -171
  7. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 45 -46
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.147. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.34
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 105
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
  12. ^ Morris, 2004, p.253, note 727
  13. ^ Morris, 2004, p.253-254, note 729
  14. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p.35


External links[edit]