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al-Dawayima is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic الدوايمة
Name meaning The little Dom tree[1]
Also spelled ad-Dawayima
Subdistrict Hebron
Coordinates 31°32′10″N 34°54′43″E / 31.53611°N 34.91194°E / 31.53611; 34.91194Coordinates: 31°32′10″N 34°54′43″E / 31.53611°N 34.91194°E / 31.53611; 34.91194
Palestine grid 141/104
Population 3,710[2][3] (1945)
Area 60,585 dunams
60.585[3] km²
Date of depopulation 29 October 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Amatzia

Al-Dawayima, Dawaymeh or Dawayma (Arabic: الدوايمة‎) was a Palestinian town, located in the former Hebron Subdistrict of Mandatory Palestine, and in what is now the Lakhish region, some 15 kilometres south-east of Kiryat Gat.[5]

It has been occasionally identified with the Old Testament town of Bosqat, the home of Josiah's mother Jedidah (2 Kings, 22:1) though the association has not found widespread acceptance.[6] According to a 1945 census, the town's population was 3,710, and the village lands comprised a total land area of 60,585 dunums of which nearly half was cultivable. The population figures for this town also included the populations of nearby khirbets, or ancient villages. During the 1948 Palestine war, the al-Dawayima massacre occurred. According to Saleh Abd al-Jawad an estimated 80–200 civilian men, women and children were killed.[7] According to John Bagot Glubb, a UN report said that 30 women and children were killed.[8]


Al-Dawayima's historical remains encompass a long period from the Bronze Age, through to the Persian and Hellenistic, down to the Ottoman period. Bulldozing what remains of the Palestinian village to prepare a new Israeli village has revealed an ancient olive press, a columbarium cave, a villa from the Second Temple era, and both mikvehs and cisterns.[5]

The "core clan" of Al-Dawayima were the Ahdibs, who traced their origin to the Muslim conquest and settlement of Palestine in the seventh century.[9]

Ottoman era[edit]

In the late Ottoman era, in May, 1838, Edward Robinson visited during harvesting time. He noted that Al-Dawayima was situated on a hill, with a view of several villages to the east. During the harvest, several Christians from Beit Jala were employed here as labourers; the barley harvest was coming to an end, while the wheat harvest was just beginning.[10]

In 1863 Victor Guérin visited twice, and he estimated that the village contained 900 inhabitants,[11] while an Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that Dawaime had only a population of 85, in a total of 34 houses, though the population count included men, only. It also noted that it was located west of Hebron.[12][13]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described al-Dawayima as a village on a high stony ridge that had olive groves beneath it. On a higher ridge to the west stood a shrine that was topped by a white stone.[14]

Map with Al-Dawayima dated 1894. Center, level with Hebron.

The people of al-Dawayima were Muslims. They maintained several religious shrines, chief among them the shrine of Shaykh ´Ali. This shrine had a large courtyard, a number of rooms, and one large hall for prayers, and was surrounded by fig and carob trees and cactuses. It attracted visitors from the neighboring villages.[15] A mosque was located in the village center, it was maintained by the followers of al-tariqa al-khalwatiyya, a Sufi mystic order founded by Shaykh Umar al-Khalwati (d.1397)[16]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, AI Dawaima had a population of 2,441 inhabitants, all Muslims,[17] increasing in the 1931 census to 2,688, still all Muslim, in a total of 559 houses.[18]

The villagers expanded and renovated the village mosque in the 1930s, and added a tall minaret.[15]

By 1945, Al-Dawayima had a population of 3,710 Muslims,[2] with a total land area of 60.585 dunums of land.[3] By 1944/45, 21,191 dunums of village land were allotted to cereals, 1,206 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards,[19] while 179 dunams were built-up (urban) areas.[20]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

Al-Dawaymima was captured by Israel's Eighty Ninth Battalion (commanded by Dov Chesis) of the 8th Armored Brigade led by the founder of the Palmach, Yitzhak Sadeh, after Operation Yoav on 29 October 1948, five days after the start of the truce. It was the site of the al-Dawayima massacre in which 80-200 civilians were killed including women and children.[7] According to Lieutenant-General John Bagot Glubb, a British officer stationed with Jordanian's Arab Legion in Bethlehem and Hebron at that time, the massacre was calculated to drive out the villagers and had been reported by UN observers to involve 30 deaths.[21] The massacre was cited by Yigal Allon as the reason for the halting of the creeping annexation that included Bayt Jibrin, Qubeiba and Tel Maresha.[22] It was also seen as a reprisal by the Israelis for the massacre of Jews in Kfar Etzion months before, on May 13, 1948, by Palestinian fighters and some members of the Arab Legion.[23]

The moshav of Amatzia was established in 1955 on land that had belonged to Al-Dawayima.[24] According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi :

"The site has been fenced in. A cowshed, a chicken coop, and granaries have been built at its center (which has been leveled). The southern side of the site contains stone terraces and the remnants of a house. The eastern side is occupied by the residential area of the moshav."

In 2013, the whole area, apart from some ancient Jewish remains, was bulldozed to pave the way for the erection of a new community, to be named Karmei Katif, which is planned to house evacuees of the Gaza Strip settlements. The new name is reminiscent of Gush Katif.[5]


A woman's thob (loose fitting robe with sleeves) dated to about 1910 that was produced in Al-Dawayima is part of the Museum of International Folk Art (MOIFA) collection at Santa Fe. The dress is of hand-woven blue indigo linen. The embroidery is in predominantly red silk cross-stitch, with touches of violet, orange, yellow, white, green and black. The upper half of the qabbeh (the square chest panel) is embroidered with alternating columns of diamonds, (a pattern known as el-ferraneh), and eight-pointed stars, (called qamr ("moons")). The lower half of the qabbeh is in the qelayed ("necklaces") pattern. The side-panels of the skirt are completely covered with embroidered columns. Among the patterns used here are: nakhleh ("palm") motif, ward-wil-aleq ("rose-and-leech") and khem-el-basha ("the pashas tent"). Each column is topped with various trees. There is no embroidery on the long, pointed sleeves.[25]

The village is often featured in the works of Palestinian artist Abdul Hay Mosallam who was expelled from it in 1948.

By 2011, two books about the village history had been published.[26]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 2008 film Salt of this Sea, Al-Dawayima is the village which Emad, the male protagonist, hails from. The village ruins serve as the temporary residence of the main characters, Emad and Soraya. The film is dedicated to the memory of the Al-Dawayima massacre.


  • Abd al-dean (عبد الدين)
  • Abu Subaih (أبوصبيح)
  • Abu-Farwa (ابوفروه)
  • Abu-Galyeh (أبوغالية)
  • Abu-Galyoun (أبو غليون)
  • Abu-Halemah(أبوحليمة)
  • Abu-Haltam (أبو حلتم)
  • Abu-Kadra (أبو خضرة)
  • Abu-Matr (أبو مطر)
  • Abu-Me'alish (أبومعيلش)
  • Abu-Rahma (ابورحمة)
  • Abu-Rayan (أبو ريان)
  • Abu-Safyeh (أبو صفية)
  • Abu-Sugair (أبو صقير)
  • Afaneh (عفانه)
  • Al-Absi (العبسي)
  • Al-Adarbeh (العداربة)
  • Al-Aqtash (القطيشات)
  • Al-Atrash (الأطرش)
  • Al-Ayaseh (العيسه)
  • Al-Hijouj (الحجوج)
  • Al-Jamarah (الجمرة)
  • Al-Jawawdeh (الجواودة)
  • Al-Kateeb (الخطيب)
  • Al-Khodour(الخضور)
  • Al-Mallad (الملاد)
  • Al-Manasra (المناصرة)
  • Al-Najaar (النجار)
  • Al-Qaisieh (القيسيه)
  • Al-Sabateen(السباتين)
  • Al-Turk (الترك)
  • Al-Zaatreh (الزعاترة)
  • Asha (عشا)
  • Basbous(بصبوص)
  • Ead (عيد)
  • El-Ghawanmeh (الغوانمه)
  • Ganem (غانم)
  • Hamdan (حمدان)
  • Harb (حرب)
  • Hudaib (هديب)
  • Hunaif (حنيف)
  • Ms'ed (مسعد)
  • Nashwan (نشوان)
  • Sa'adeh (سعادة)
  • Shahin (شاهين)
  • Sundoqa (صندوقه)
  • Zebin (زبن)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 367
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 23
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 50
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #324. Also gives cause for depopulation
  5. ^ a b c Zafrir Rinat, ‘Bulldozing Palestinian History on Israel’s southern hills,’ at Haaretz 22 June 2013.
  6. ^ Jennifer L. Groves, 'Boskath', in David Noel Freedman, (ed.) Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, Wm B.Eerdsmans/Amsterdam University Press 2000 p.198.
  7. ^ a b Saleh Abdel Jawad (2007), Zionist Massacres: the Creation of the Palestinian Refugee Problem in the 1948 War, in Benvenisti & al, 2007, pp. 59–127 See p. 67
  8. ^ Sir John Bagot Glubb, A Soldier with the Arabs, London 1957, pp. 211-212.
  9. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 469
  10. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 2, pp. 400-402
  11. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 342-3, 361
  12. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 151
  13. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 144 found 100 houses, way more than Socin
  14. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p.258. Also quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 213.
  15. ^ a b Hudayb, 1985, p. 54. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 213
  16. ^ Glassé, 1989, p. 221. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 213
  17. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Hebron, p. 10
  18. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 28
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 93
  20. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 143
  21. ^ Sir John Bagot Glubb, A Soldier with the Arabs, London 1957, pp. 211-212. "The Israelis were now deliberately driving out all Arabs, a process assisted now and then but the usual 'calculated massacre'. On October 31st, United Nations observers reported that the Israelis had killed thirty women and children at Dawaima (Dawayima), west of Hebron. It would be an exaggeration to claim that great numbers were massacred. But just enough were killed, or roughly handled, to make sure that all the civilian population took flight, thereby leaving more and more land vacant for future Jewish settlement. These particular villages west of Hebron were to remain vacant and their lands uncultivated for eight years."
  22. ^ Shapira, 2008, p. 248
  23. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 469 and Morris, 2008, p. 333.
  24. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p.215
  25. ^ Stillman, 1979, pp. 56-57
  26. ^ Davis, 2011, pp. 30 -31


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