Arab al-Shamalina

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Arab al-Shamalina

عرب الشمالنة
Etymology: Kh. Abu Zeineh, the ruin of Abu Zeineh, p.n.[1]
Arab al-Shamalina is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arab al-Shamalina
Arab al-Shamalina
Coordinates: 32°54′13″N 35°36′08″E / 32.90361°N 35.60222°E / 32.90361; 35.60222Coordinates: 32°54′13″N 35°36′08″E / 32.90361°N 35.60222°E / 32.90361; 35.60222
Palestine grid205/256
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulationMay 4, 1948[4]
 • Total650[2][3]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Secondary causeExpulsion by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesAlmagor[5]

Arab al-Shamalina (Arabic: عرب الشمالنة‎) also known as Khirbat Abu Zayna was a Palestinian Arab village in the Safad Subdistrict. It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 4, 1948 under Operation Matate (Broom), a sub operation of Operation Yiftach. It was located 13 km southeast of Safad near the Jordan River.

In 1945 it had a population of 650.


The village was located north of the point where the Jordan River flowed into Lake Tiberias, west of the Syrian border. It overlooked the northernmost shoreline of the lake and a secondary road linked it to the village of al-Tabigha, also on the lake shore but to the southwest.[6] A highway that skirted the edge of the lake led to the city of Tiberias. The village was inhabited by the settled members of the ‘Arab al-Shamalina Bedouin tribe and several archaeological sites have been found in the vicinity.[6]

In 1875, Victor Guérin found here the foundations of a building with walls one metre in thickness.[7]

In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) noted: "Modern Arab granaries and slight traces of modern ruined houses" at Kh. Abu Zeineh, or Shunet esh Shemalneh.[8]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Shamalneh had a population of 278, all Muslims,[9] increasing in the 1931 census to 551; 1 Christian and 555 Muslims, in a total of 108 houses.[10]

In the 1944/45 statistic the village was counted with Al-Butayha, and together they had a total 16,690 dunums of land.[2] Of this, 3,842 dunums was allocated to cereals, 238 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards,[11] while 12,610 dunams were classified as non-cultivable land.[12]

The area to the north of the village, along the river banks was widely used for the cultivation of citrus fruits and vegetables and the river and several springs provided the people for irrigation and for drinking water.[6]

1948 war and depopulation[edit]

Under Operation Matateh, a sub operation of Operation Yiftach, the village, along with others between Lake al-Hula and Lake Tiberias was depopulated by Israeli forces on 4 May 1948. Israeli historian Benny Morris, has documented that the village was given specific orders to be attacked and the houses destroyed and commenced with Palmach troops bombarding the area, causing the villagers to flee.[6]

The settlement of Almagor was established on village land, 2 km northwest of the village site in 1961.[5]

In 1992 the village site was described: "The site, which is mostly covered with thorny grass, is strewn with the rubble of houses. Eucalyptus and palm trees also grow on the site. Most of the surrounding land is used as pasture, although some of it is cultivated."[5]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 128
  2. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 69
  3. ^ Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 9
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii village #77. Also gives causes of depopulation
  5. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 435
  6. ^ a b c d Khalidi, 1992, pp. 434-435
  7. ^ Guérin, 1880, pp. 240-1; as given in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 396
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 396
  9. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Safad, p. 42
  10. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 110
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 118
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 168


External links[edit]