|Date of depopulation||15–16 July 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
Al-Damun (Arabic: الدامون, al-Dâmûn) was a Palestinian Arab village located 11.5 kilometres (7.1 mi) from the city of Acre that was depopulated during 1948 Arab-Israeli war. In 1945, the village had 1,310 inhabitants, most of whom were Muslim and the remainder Christians. Al-Damun bordered the al-Na'amin River (Belus River), which the village's inhabitants used as a source of irrigation and drinking water from installed wells.
Excavations at the site has shown pot sherds dating from the Late Bronze Age, up to and including Early Islamic, Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman times.
Al-Damun is mentioned in early Arab and Persian sources since the 11th century CE. Local tradition identified the village as containing the tomb of the prophet Dhul-Kifl, who is mentioned in the Qur'an twice. Despite Islamic tradition claiming the tomb to be in al-Kifl near Najaf or Kifl Hares near Nablus, Nasir Khusraw believed it to be al-Damun when he visited the region in 1047. He writes "I reached a small cave, which is in Damun where I performed the ziyarat too, for it is said to be the tomb of Dhul-Kifl, peace be upon him."
Al-Damun was captured by the Crusaders, who referred to it as "Damar" or "Damor" during their invasion of Levant in 1099, and it remained in their hands unlike most of Palestine which was conquered by the Ayyubidss under Sultan Saladin in 1187. In 1253 John Aleman, Lord of Caesarea sold several villages, including al-Damun, to the Knights Hospitaller. It was mentioned as part of the Crusaders' domain in the hudna (truce agreement) between the Acre-based Crusaders and the Mamlukss under Sultan al-Mansur Qalawun in 1283.
Al-Damun, like the rest of Palestine, was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, and in the census of 1596 the village was located in the Akka Nahiya (Subdistrict of Acre), part of the Safad Sanjak (District of Safed). The population consisted of 33 households and two bachelors, all Muslim. The inhabitants paid taxes on wheat, barley, fruit trees, cotton, occasional revenues, goats and beehives.
Until the late 18th century the village was ruled by the Arab Zaydani clan, which rose to prominence in the Galilee through the campaigns of Sheikh Zahir al-Umar. They traced their lineage to the al-Zaydaniyya tribe which emigrated to Palestine from the Hejaz. The village mosque was built by a resident of al-Damun, Ali ibn Salih, who was also Zahir's uncle, in 1722-23. Inscriptions on the mosque entailed the genealogy of the Zaydani family and included a poem dedicated Ibn Salih.
A map by Pierre Jacotin from Napoleon's invasion of 1799 showed the place, named as Damoun. In 1875, al-Damun was prosperous and had roughly 800, mostly Muslim inhabitants and two mosques. In addition to the possible tomb of Dhul-Kifl, there was a shrine dedicated to a certain Sheikh Abdallah on an adjacent hill. An elementary school for boys was founded by the Ottomans in 1886.
British mandate period
At the time of the 1922 census of Palestine, al-Damun had a population of 727, of whom 687 were Muslims and 40 were Christians. All the Christians were Roman Catholic. The population increased in the 1931 census to 917; 870 Muslims and 47 Christians, living in a total of 183 houses.
At the beginning of the 20th century, al-Damun's houses were clustered along one road and starting in 1935, the residents started to build them with reinforced concrete. The inhabitants drew their drinking water from nearby springs and irrigated some of their crops from the Na'amin River. They also engaged in allied activities, particularly plaiting mats and baskets from esparto grass. The chief crops of al-Damun were wheat, sorghum, barley, and olives, but it was also well known for its watermelons and cantaloupes.
In 1945 the population of al-Damun was 1,310, 1,240 Muslims and 70 Christians, The village's total land area was 20,357 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey. 709 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 17,052 used for cereals, while 111 dunams were built-up (urban) land.
1948 war and aftermath
Prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Haganah kept files on all the Palestinian villages. The 1947 entry for al-Damun listed 25 individuals suspected of involvement with the Palestinian nationalist movement. In April 1948, Haganah reports say that the son of the main local land-owner, Sadiq Karaman, paid the local ALA garrison P£5000 to leave, presumably in an attempt to keep the village from getting involved with the hostilities in the 1948 Palestine war.
After the initial Israeli successes in the central Galilee during the first stage of Operation Dekel, units of the Haganah's Sheva Brigade moved westward and captured al-Damun, among other Arab localities, in the second stage of the operation on July 15–16, 1948. However, Palestinian historian, Aref al-Aref, dates its capture earlier in May 1948, following the fall of Acre. Israeli historian Benny Morris reported that inhabitants were demoralized by the fall of Acre and then Nazareth, and so fled during the bombardment that preceded the attack on the village. The remaining residents were expelled and al-Damun itself was completely destroyed according to both historians.
According to Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, in 1992, the site was "overgrown with thorns, cacti, olive trees, and pines. Stone and concrete rubble is scattered around it. The structure that formerly protected the central water source and regulated its flow stands untended and is collapsing in several places. The cemetery is extant, although the markers over a few graves are collapsing." British historian Andrew Petersen writes that the village had a number of eighteenth or nineteenth-century stone houses, some which had decorated facades.
- Palmer, 1881, p. 108
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40
- Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #90. Also gives cause of depopulation.
- Khalidi, 1992, p.11.
- Ronen, 1966. Cited in Stern, 2010, Ed-Damun Final Report
- Sharon, 2004, pp.7-9,
- Also in le Strange, 1890, p.435 & p.436
- Delaville Le Roulx, 1883, p. 184; cited in Clermont-Ganneau, 1888, pp. 309–310; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 319, No. 1210.
- Barag, 1979, p. 209
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 193
- Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 writes that the Safad register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
- Karmon, 1960, p. 162
- Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP, I, p.270
- Guérin, 1880, pp.424-425
- Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 37.
- Barron, 1923, Table XXI, p. 50.
- Mills, 1932, p. 100.
- Village Statistics The Palestine Government, April 1945, p. 2.
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 80
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 130
- Pappe, 2006, p. 22
- 15. April, note in the Haganah Archive, cited in Morris, 2004, pp. 97, 146
- Petersen, 2001, p. 131
- Barag, Dan (1979). "A new source concerning the ultimate borders of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem". Israel Exploration Journal. 29: 197–217.
- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Clermont-Ganneau, Charles Simon (1888). Recueil d'archéologie orientale (in French). 1. Paris.
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, Herbert H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology. 1. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- 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.
- 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.
- le Strange, Guy (1890). Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- 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 0-521-00967-7.
- 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.
- Pappé, Ilan (2006). The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. London and New York: Oneworld. ISBN 1-85168-467-0.
- Petersen, Andrew (2001). A Gazetteer of Buildings in Muslim Palestine (British Academy Monographs in Archaeology). 1. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-727011-0.
- Rhode, Harold (1979). Administration and Population of the Sancak of Safed in the Sixteenth Century. Columbia University.
- Röhricht, Reinhold (1893). (RRH) Regesta regni Hierosolymitani (MXCVII-MCCXCI) (in Latin). Berlin: Libraria Academica Wageriana.
- Sharon, Moshe (2004). Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum Palaestinae, D-F. 3. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-13197-3.
- Stern, Eliezer (2010-03-17). "Ed-Damun Final Report" (122). Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel.
- Ze'evi, Dror (1996). An Ottoman century: the district of Jerusalem in the 1600s. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-2915-6. p. 89
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