|Name meaning||The western Butani|
|Date of depopulation||May 13, 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
Al-Batani al-Gharbi was a Palestinian village in the Gaza Subdistrict. It was depopulated during the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 13, 1948, by the Giv'ati Brigade under Operation Barak. It was located 36 km northeast of Gaza.
In 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin found the village, which he called Bathanieh el-Gharbieh, to have 400 inhabitants. He further noted three grey white mutilated marble columns by the well. By the well, there were oxen which made the water rise in a huge bucket. Guérin noted that he had seen a similar system several other places in Palestine, as well as in Tunis.
In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's "Survey of Western Palestine", described the two Butani villages as being made of adobe and "situated on low ground, with patches of garden and wells. The western one has also a pond."
British Mandate era
According to the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Al-Batani al-Gharbi had a population of 556 inhabitants, all Muslims. which had increased in the 1931 census to 667, still all Muslim.
The population in 1945 was 980 Muslims, with 4,574 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey. Of this, 170 dunams were used for citrus and banana plants, 95 were for plantations and irrigable land, 4,152 used for cereals, while 34 dunams were built-up land.
Al-Batani al-Gharbi had an elementary school for boys founded in 1947 and it had an initial enrollment of 119 students. The village had one mosque.
In early May, 1948, the Al-Majdal Arab National Committee, (NC), ordered the villagers of Al-Batani al-Gharbi, together with those of Al-Batani al-Sharqi, Yasur, Bayt Daras and the three Sawafir villages to stay put.
Al-Batani al-Gharbi became depopulated as part of Palmach's 'Operation Lightning' (Mivtza Barak). The objective was to compel the Arab inhabitants of the area to 'move' and by striking one or more population centres to cause an exodus, which was foreseen given the wave of panic that was sweeping Arab communities after the Deir Yassin massacre. After Haganah had hit Bayt Daras, the operational orders to them on the 10 May was to "subdue" Al-Batani al-Gharbi and Al-Batani al-Sharqi, "with the same means used vis-à-vis Aqir, Bashshit and Bayt Daras."
The village was depopulated around May 13, 1948. Following the war the area was incorporated into the State of Israel. In 1992 the village site was described: "Cactuses and fig and sycamore trees grow on the site, and some of the village street are still clearly recognizable. The adjacent land is partially cultivated by the nearby kibbutz. A stone quarry is also located on village lands."
- Palmer, 1881, p. 267
- Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 31
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 45
- Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #279, Also gives cause of depopulation, with "?"
- Khalidi, 1992, pp. 83-84
- Karmon, 1960, p. 171
- Guérin, 1869, pp. 80 -81
- Socin, 1879, p. 148
- Hartmann, 1883, p. 134
- Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 409
- Barron, 1923, p. 9
- Mills, 1932, p. 2
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 86
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 136
- Morris, 2004, p. 179, note #112, this was according to Haganah intelligence
- Ramzy Baroud, 'Beit Daras and a buried history of massacres,', in Asia Times, 16 April 2013.
- Morris, 2004, p. 256, note #752
- Khalidi, 1992, p. 84
- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, H. H. (1882). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology. 2. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Department of Statistics (1945). Village Statistics, April, 1945. Government of Palestine.
- Guérin, Victor (1869). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine. 1: Judee, pt. 2.
- Hadawi, Sami (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Centre.
- Hartmann, M. (1883). "Die Ortschaftenliste des Liwa Jerusalem in dem türkischen Staatskalender für Syrien auf das Jahr 1288 der Flucht (1871)". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 6: 102–149.
- Karmon, Y. (1960). "An Analysis of Jacotin's Map of Palestine" (PDF). Israel Exploration Journal. 10 (3,4): 155–173; 244–253.
- Khalidi, Walid (1992). All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-88728-224-5.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.
- Palmer, E. H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists Collected During the Survey by Lieutenants Conder and Kitchener, R. E. Transliterated and Explained by E.H. Palmer. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Socin, A. (1879). "Alphabetisches Verzeichniss von Ortschaften des Paschalik Jerusalem". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 2: 135–163.
- Welcome To al-Batani al-Gharbi
- al-Batani al-Gharbi, Zochrot
- Survey of Western Palestine, Map 16: IAA, Wikimedia commons
- al-Batani al-Gharbi, from the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center