|Name meaning||the fortress|
|Date of depopulation||16 May 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Influence of nearby town's fall|
In 1596, al-Bira was a village in the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Shafa under the liwa' (district) of Lajjun, with a population of 297. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, and olives, as well as on goats and beehives.
Al-Bira appeared as a village in a map published in 1850, but was found uninhabited later in the 19th century. Guérin reported that "The ruins are those of a large Arab village, whose houses were built for the most part of basaltic stones. It replaced an ancient township, to which belongs an edifice now completely destroyed, of which there yet remain several basaltic columns and a mutilated capital."
British Mandate era
In 1945, the population consisted of 260 Muslims, with a total of 6,866 dunams of land. Of this, 48 dunams were for plantations or irrigable land, 4,667 for cereals, while 53 were built-up (urban) land.
The village became depopulated on 16 May 1948.
According to Benny Morris, Kibbutzniks demanded the destruction of neighboring villages as a means of blocking the return of the Arab villagers. For this reason a veteran local leader, Nahum Wurwitz of Kfar Gil'adi appealed in a letter in September 1948 for permission to destroy al-Bira, Kawkab al-Hawa, Jabbul, and al-Hamidiyya in the area for fear that they may be used by Arabs for military operations and to enable them to "take the village's lands, because the Arabs won't be able to return there".
- Palmer, 1881, p. 160
- Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 6
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 43
- Morris, 2004, p. xvii village #112. Also gives cause of depopulation.
- al-Bira, PalestineRemembered.com.
- Simons (1937): Handbook for the Study of Egyptian Topographical Lists Relating to Western Asia. Leiden: E.J. Brill. p117. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 44
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 157. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 45
- Carl Zimmermann, Atlas von Palaestina und der Sinai-Halbinsel, Berlin, 1850.
- Guérin, 1880, p. 129, as cited in Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 114
- Barron, 1923, Table IX, p. 31
- Mills, 1932, p. 77
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 84
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 134
- Morris, 2004, p. 357. Quotes from Peterzil to Erem, Bentov, Hazan and Cisling (August 10, 1948), quoting an extract from an undated letter from Faivel Cohen of Ma'ayan Barukh, to Peterzil, HHA-ACP 10.95.10(5) therein.
- Khalidi, 1992, p. 45
- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, Herbert 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 (1880). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 3: Galilee, pt. 1. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Hadawi, Sami (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (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. ISBN 3-920405-41-2.
- 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.