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Sumayriyya Aquifer.JPG
The aqueduct in al-Sumayriyya
al-Sumayriyya is located in Mandatory Palestine
Name meaning"Tawny" or "Brown"[1]
Also spelledSomeleria, Katasir
Coordinates32°58′19″N 35°05′36″E / 32.97194°N 35.09333°E / 32.97194; 35.09333Coordinates: 32°58′19″N 35°05′36″E / 32.97194°N 35.09333°E / 32.97194; 35.09333
Palestine grid159/264
Population760[2][3] (1945)
Area8,542[3] dunams
Date of depopulation14 May 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Current localitiesLohamei HaGeta'ot,[5][6] Shomrat[6]

Al-Sumayriyya (Arabic: السُميريه‎, Katasir in Canaanite times, Someleria during Crusader rule), was a Palestinian village located six kilometers north of Acre that was depopulated after it was captured by the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[7]


al-Sumayriyya, 1948
Al-Sumayriyya's old cemetery, July 2008

Tall al-Sumayriyya contains carved stones, a mosaic floor, tombs, columns, and stone capitals. Khirbat Abu 'Ataba has an Islamic shrine and ceramic fragments.[8]

In the Crusader era, it was mentioned in 1277 under the name of Somelaria.[9] At the time, the village belonged to the Templars.[10] In the hudna of 1283 between Al Mansur Qalawun and the Crusaders, Al-Sumayriyya was still under Crusader rule[11][12] while in 1291 it had come under Mamluk control.[13]

A building with a court-yard, measuring 60,5 by 57 meters, dating from the Crusader era, has been noted in the village, and a 13th-century glass-factory has been excavated.[10]

Ottoman era

It was mentioned in the Ottoman defter for the year 1555-6, named Summayriyah, located in the Nahiya of Akka of the Liwa of Safad, and with its land designated as Sahi land, that is, land belonging to the Sultan.[14]

In 1738 Richard Pococke passed by the place, which he called Semmars. He thought the name came from "St. Mary's", and noted the remains of a wall of hewn stone, which he thought had belonged to a convent.[15]

A map by Pierre Jacotin from Napoleon's invasion of 1799 showed the place, named as El Esmerieh.[16]

In 1875 Victor Guérin found the village had 400 Muslim inhabitants.[17] In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described the place as a village of "mud and stone houses, containing about 200 [..] Moslems, situated on the plain, surrounded by a few clumps of olives and figs and arable land; two or three cisterns are in the village, the aqueduct near brings good water."[18]

A population list from about 1887 showed the village to have about 270 inhabitants; all Muslims.[19]

British Mandate era

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities Semariyeh had a population of 307; 300 Muslims and 7 Christians,[20] where all the Christians were Maronite.[21] This had increased in the 1931 census to 392, 390 Muslims, 1 Christian and 1 Jew, in a total of 92 houses.[22]

Al-Sumayriyya had an elementary school for boys, which was founded in 1943. In 1945, it had an enrollment of 60 students. One mosque which remains.[8]

In 1944/1945 the village had a population of 760 Muslims,[2] with a total of 8,542 dunams of land.[3] Of this, 6,854 dunams were allocated to grain crops; 354 dunams were irrigated or planted with orchards,[23] while 28 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[24]

1948, and aftermath

At the beginning of 1945, al-Sumayriyya's 760 inhabitants were all Arab Muslims. The inhabitants fled as a result of the 14 May 1948 assault on the village by the Carmeli Brigade during Operation Ben-Ami, one day before the official outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[7] The village - along with neighbouring al-Bassa and al-Zib which were also captured in the offensive - was subsequently destroyed, except its mosque.[25]

Lohamei HaGeta'ot and Shomrat are both on village land.[6] Morris writes that Bustan HaGalil was built near its site,[26] however, Khalidi writes that Bustan HaGalil is on the land of Al-Manshiyya.[27] Shavey Tziyon and Regba are close to the northern borders of Al-Sumayriyya, but were established on land that used to belong to Mazra'a.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 54
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 5
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 41
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xvii, village #87. Also gives cause of depopulation
  5. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxi, settlement #53. January 1949
  6. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, p. 31
  7. ^ a b Welcome to Al-Sumayriyya, Palestine Remembered, retrieved 2007-12-03
  8. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 30
  9. ^ Röhricht, 1893, RRH, pp. 366-367, No. 1413; cited in Pringle, 1998, pp. 332-333
  10. ^ a b Pringle, 1997, p. 96
  11. ^ Raynaud, 1887, p. 243, no. 490
  12. ^ Barag, 1979, p. 205, no. 26
  13. ^ Raynaud, 1887, p. 243, no. 490; cited in Pringle, 1998, pp. 332-333
  14. ^ Rohde, 1979, p. 97
  15. ^ Pococke, 1745, vol II, p. 78; referenced in Pringle, 1997, p. 96
  16. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 162.
  17. ^ Guérin, 1880, p. 161
  18. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 147. Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.30
  19. ^ Schumacher, 1888, p. 172
  20. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
  21. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XVI, p. 49
  22. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 103
  23. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
  24. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131
  25. ^ Tal, 2004, pp. 104-105.
  26. ^ Morris, 2004, p.xxi, settlement #36. December 1948
  27. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p.23


External links