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The village overlooked the Jordan Valley
Al-Ja'una is located in Mandatory Palestine
Name meaningfrom personal name[1]
Also spelledJaauneh[2]
Coordinates32°58′18″N 35°31′58″E / 32.97167°N 35.53278°E / 32.97167; 35.53278Coordinates: 32°58′18″N 35°31′58″E / 32.97167°N 35.53278°E / 32.97167; 35.53278
Palestine grid200/264
Population1,150[3][4] (1945)
Area839[4] dunams
Date of depopulation9 May 1948[5]
Cause(s) of depopulationInfluence of nearby town's fall
Current localitiesRosh Pinna

Al-Ja'una or Ja'ouna (Arabic: الجاعونة), was a Palestinian village situated in Galilee near al-Houleh Plateau, overlooking the Jordan Valley. The village lay on a hillside 450–500 meters above sea level, 5 kilometers east of Safad near a major road connecting Safad with Tabariya. The Israeli town of Rosh Pinna (Hebrew:ראש פינה) sits on the former village site, which was expanded to include the depopulated Palestinian Al-Ja'una.[citation needed]


Broken pillars and a capital has been found here.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

Al-Ja'una was mentioned in the 1596 Ottoman census as being a village in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Jira, in the Safad Sanjak, with 27 households and 4 bachelors, an estimated population of 171. All the villagers were Muslim. The villagers paid a fixed tax rate of 25% on various agricultural products, such as wheat, barley, olives, goats, beehives, and a powered mill; a total of 2,832 akçe. 1/12 of the revenue went to a Muslim charitable institution.[7][8][9]

The village appeared under the name of Gahoun on the map that Pierre Jacotin compiled during Napoleon's invasion of 1799.[10]

In 1838, it was noted as el-Ja'uneh, a Muslim village, located in the el-Khait district.[11]

In 1875, Victor Guérin found that Al-Ja'una had 200 Muslim inhabitants.[12]

Al-Ja'una in a map of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1880

In 1881 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described the village as being built of stone, on the slope of a hill, whose 140-200 residents cultivated fig and olive trees.[2][13] There were two springs in a wadi, south of the village.[2] A mosque and an elementary school for boys was established in the village in Ottoman times.[13]

The settlement of Rosh Pinna is located to the southeast of the village site. It was first established in 1878 on land purchased from the villagers of al-Ja'una but has expanded over the years to now include part of the former village land of Al-Ja'una.[13]

Laurence Oliphant visited Rosh Pinna and Al-Ja'una in 1886, and wrote:

"Jauna, which was the name of the village to which I was bound, was situated about three miles (5 km) from Safad, in a gorge, from which, as we descended it, a magnificent view was obtained over the Jordan valley, with the Lake of Tiberias lying three thousand feet below us on the right, and the waters of Merom, or the Lake of Huleh, on the left. The intervening plain was a rich expanse of country, only waiting development. The new colony had been established about eight months, the land having been purchased from the Moslem villagers, of whom twenty families remained, who lived on terms of perfect amity with the Jews."[14]

A population list from about 1887 showed Ja’auneh to have about 930 inhabitants; 555 Muslims and 375 Druze.[15]

British Mandate era[edit]

To the right: the top of "The American House", built by an Al-Ja'una villager who had worked in America

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Ja'uneh had a population of 626; all Muslims,[16] increasing in the 1931 census to 799, still all Muslims, in a total of 149 houses.[17]

Felix Salten visited Rosh Pinna in 1924 and noted also Al-Ja’una in his travel book Neue Menschen auf alter Erde:

“Right next to Rosh Pin[n]a, the Arab village Dzha’une. These early settlers still employ Arab workers, a practice that naturally had to cease within the new rebuilding movement. The Arabian children of Dzha’une all go to school that has been built for them by the settlement [of Rosh Pinna] and they are taught Hebrew there.”[18]

In the 1945 statistics the population was 1,150 Muslims,[3] and the total land area was 839 dunums; 824 of which were owned by Arabs, 7 by Jews, and 8 public.[4] Of this, 172 dunums were plantations and irrigable land, 248 used for cereals,[19] while 43 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[20]

1948 Arab-Israeli war, depopulation, and aftermath[edit]

The old road leading to Safad.

The village was depopulated during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, the evacuation of the residents of al-Ja'una occurred some time before 2 May 1948, although he has somewhat contradicted this by also documenting that the actual depopulation took place one week later, on 9 May, coinciding with the final attack on Safad.[21]

At midnight on 5–6 June 1949, the remaining villagers in Al-Ja'una (together with those of Al-Khisas and Qaytiyya) were surrounded by Israeli Defence Force units, who then forced the villagers into trucks "with brutality—with kicks, curses and maltreatment...." (in the words of Knesset member and Al HaMishmar editor Eliezer Peri) and dumped them on a bare hillside near the village of 'Akbara.[22] When questioned about the expulsions, David Ben-Gurion responded that he found the military reasons for the evictions "sufficient".[23] 'Akbara served as a "dumping spot" for the "remainders" from various depopulated Palestinian villages, and its conditions were to remain bad for years.[24]

Walid Khalidi, writing in 1992 about the remains of Al-Ja'una, stated: "The settlement of Rosh Pinna occupies the village site. Many of the houses remain; some are used by the residents of the settlement; other stone houses have been abandoned and destroyed."[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 72
  2. ^ a b c Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP 1, p.198
  3. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 9
  4. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 70
  5. ^ According to Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #52. Also gives the cause of depopulation
  6. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 224
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 177. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 458
  8. ^ Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 writes that the register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
  9. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 177
  10. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 165
  11. ^ Robinson and Smith, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 136
  12. ^ Guérin, 1880, p. 454
  13. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 458
  14. ^ Oliphant, 1887, p.71
  15. ^ Schumacher, 1888, p. 189
  16. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Safad, p. 41
  17. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 107
  18. ^ Salten, Felix (1925). Neue Menschen auf alter Erde: Eine Palästinafahrt (in German). Wien: Paul Zsolnay Verlag. p. 222. LCCN 25023844.
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 119
  20. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 169
  21. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 459
  22. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 511-512
  23. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 512, note 51
  24. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 513, note 54


External links[edit]