|• ISO 259||Basma|
Basma, from the air
|• Type||Local council|
Basma (Arabic: بسمة, Hebrew: בסמ"ה) is an Israeli Arab local council in the Wadi Ara area of Haifa District. The local council was formed in 1995 through the consolidation of the villages of Barta'a West, Ein as-Sahala, and Muawiya; Basma is an acronym of the villages' names. In 2014 it had a population of 8,657.
In 1882, during Ottoman rule, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Barta'a as "a ruined Arabic village on a high hill, with a spring in the valley to the north 400 feet below." The name, given at the time as Bertah was taken to mean "cutting". The name 'Ain es Saleh, meaning "the spring of the plain" was noted, but not otherwise described. By Kh. el Mâwîyeh they found "a small ruined khan, of no great antiquity, on the road, near a spring." The name at the time was Khurbet el Mâwîyeh, meaning "the ruin of the place of shelter (a ruined caravanserai)."
In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Barta'a had a population of 468, and Mawiyeh one of 112, all Muslim. Barta'as population increased according to the 1931 census to 692, still all Muslims, in 94 houses, while Mu'awiya had 141 people in 30 houses.
In 1945 Barta'a (including Khirbat Tura el Gharbiya) had a population of 1,000 Arabs with 20,499 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey. 464 dunams were used for plantations and irrigable land, 1,957 dunams for cereals, while 1,900 dunams were non-cultivable land. The population of Mu'awiya was counted with that of Umm al-Fahm.
Andrew Petersen, an archaeologist specialising in Islamic architecture, surveyed the ancient shrine at Muawiya in 1994. According to local tradition, Muawiya had been a soldier in the army of Saladin. He had been killed in a battle close by the village, and he and twelve of his men were buried here. The shrine, named Shaykh Muawiya, is a domed square building, with the entrance to the north. The floor of the shrine is about 0,3 meters below the surface, and contain a cenotaph, incorporating marble columns. There is a mihrab in the wall to the south, just behind the cenotaph, and the west wall has a window. According to local tradition the shrine was built about 100 years ago. However, Petersen found that the structure itself suggested it was considerably older, with rebuilding in the late nineteenth century.
As of the census of 2008, Basma had 7,600 residents, of whom 99.8% were Muslim.
- "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
- Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 51
- Palmer, 1881, p. 144
- Palmer, 1881, p. 143
- Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 61
- Palmer, 1881, p. 149
- Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Jenin, p. 30
- Mills, 1932, p. 67
- Mills, 1932, p. 69
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 54
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 98
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 148
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 55,100, 150
- Petersen, 2001, p. 223
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- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, H. H. (1882). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology. 2. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Hadawi, Sami (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas (PDF). Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Palmer, E. H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Arabic and English Name Lists Collected During the Survey by Lieutenants Conder and Kitchener, R. E. Transliterated and Explained by E.H. Palmer. Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Petersen, Andrew (2001). A Gazetteer of Buildings in Muslim Palestine (British Academy Monographs in Archaeology). 1. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-727011-0.