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Al-Ruways is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic الرويس
Name meaning "The little hilltop", or "headland"[1]
Also spelled al-Ruweis
Subdistrict Acre
Coordinates 32°51′50.01″N 35°10′40.46″E / 32.8638917°N 35.1779056°E / 32.8638917; 35.1779056Coordinates: 32°51′50.01″N 35°10′40.46″E / 32.8638917°N 35.1779056°E / 32.8638917; 35.1779056
Palestine grid 167/252
Population 330 (1945)
Area 1,163[2] dunams
1.2 km²
Date of depopulation July 15–16, 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces

Al-Ruways (Arabic: الرويس‎‎) was a Palestinian Arab village on a rocky hill located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) southeast of Acre and south of the village of al-Damun. Its population in 1945 was 330. Al-Ruways was depopulated following its capture by Israeli forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.


Middle Ages[edit]

Al-Ruways stood on the site of the Crusader town of Careblier,[4] which was also referred to by the Crusaders as "Roeis".[5] In 1220, Beatrix de Courtenay and her husband Count Otto von Botenlauben, Henneberg, sold their land, including Roeis’, to the Teutonic Knights.[6] However, they appeared not to have sole ownership, as in 1253 John Aleman, Lord of Caesarea, sold several villages, including Roeis, to the Knights Hospitaller.[7] In 1266, a Crusader vanguard returning from a raid in Tiberias to Acre was ambushed at Roeis by Mamluk forces based in Safad.[8] In 1283 it was mentioned as part of the domain of the Crusaders in the hudna (truce) between the Acre-based Crusaders and the Mamluk sultan al-Mansur Qalawun.[9]

Based on tradition, the people of the village professed to have blood relations with Husam ad-Din Abu al-Hija. Hussam ad-Din was a high-ranking officer in the Ayyubid army of Sultan Saladin.[10]

Ottoman era[edit]

French explorer Victor Guérin visited al-Ruways in 1875, and noted that the village contained "150 people at most, whose homes are located on a hill, amid gardens filled with fig, pomegranate and olive trees, and here and there are palm trees".[11]

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described al-Ruways as being situated on open ground with olive groves to the north of the village. Its population of 400 was entirely Muslim.[12]

British Mandate era[edit]

Under the British Mandate of Palestine in the early twentieth century, al-Ruways was one of the smallest villages in the District of Acre. In the 1922 census Al-Ruways had a population of 154; all Muslims,[13] increasing in the 1931 census to 217, still all Muslim, in a total of 44 houses.[14] and consisting of two quarters.

The village had a mosque. Its children attended school in nearby al-Damun. The inhabitants' drinking water came from domestic wells, and they primarily grew wheat, corn, sesame, watermelons, and olives.[4] In 1945 the population of al-Ruways was 330, all Arabs, who owned 1,163 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[2] 222 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 844 used for cereals,[15] while built-up areas consisted of 15 dunams.[16]

1948 war and aftermath[edit]

On 18 July 1948, two days after Nazareth was occupied by Israel's Seventh Armored Brigade in Operation Dekel, some units advanced into the Western Galilee and captured a number of Arab villages, one of which was al-Ruways. The inhabitants fled after bombardment and the fall of major towns in the vicinity, namely Shefa-'Amr and Nazareth.[17][18] According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, "the site is deserted. The debris of old wells and cement roofs is strewn of over the site, which is otherwise covered by a forest of eucalyptus trees and cactus."[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 115.
  2. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 41.
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #91. Also gives the cause of depopulation.
  4. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 28.
  5. ^ Frankel, 1988, p. 264.
  6. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 43- 44, No. 53; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 248, No. 934; cited in Frankel, 1988, p. 264.
  7. ^ Delaville Le Roulx, 1883, p. 184; cited in Clermont-Ganneau, 1888, pp. 309 -310; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 319, No. 1210.
  8. ^ Bronstein, 2005, p. 46.
  9. ^ From al-Qalqashandi´s version of the hudna, referred in Barag, 1979, p. 207.
  10. ^ Benvenisti, 2000, p. 195.
  11. ^ Guérin, 1880, p. 431
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 271. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 28
  13. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 37.
  14. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 102.
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81.
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131.
  17. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p.29.
  18. ^ Morris, 2004, pp.421-423.


External links[edit]