|Etymology: A well|
|Geopolitical entity||Mandatory Palestine|
|Date of depopulation||May 2, 1948|
|• Total||5,579 dunams (5.579 km2 or 2.154 sq mi)|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
Biriyya (Arabic: بيريّا) was a Palestinian Arab village in the Safad Subdistrict. It was depopulated during the 1947–1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on May 2, 1948 by The Palmach's First Battalion of Operation Yiftach. It was located 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) northeast of Safad. Today the Israeli moshav of Birya includes the village site.
The village stood on the southern slope of a high hill that overlooked the city of Safad, 1.5 kilometres to the southwest, and faced Mount al-Jarmaq, to the west. At the bottom of the slope ran a deep wadi and between Biryya and Safad lay agricultural land that was crossed by a highway linking to the main city and nearby towns and villages.
Biriyya is believed to have been built on the site of the Roman village of Beral or Bin, which was also a Jewish town during the first century CE. Ishtori Haparchi, however, thought the village to have been the Beri of rabbinic literature.
In the 1596 tax record, Biriyya was a village in the nahiya of Jira (liwa’ of Safad) with a Muslim population of 38 families and 3 bachelors, and a Jewish population of 16 families and 1 bachelor; a total estimated population of 319 persons. The villagers paid taxes on crops such as wheat, barley, and olives and other types of produce and owned beehives, vineyards, and a press that was used for processing olives. Total taxes paid was 3,145 akçe.
In 1875 Victor Guérin found Biriyya to have about 150 Muslim inhabitants. In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described Biriyya as having "good stone houses, containing about 100 Muslims, surrounded by arable cultivation, and several good springs near the village."
A population list from about 1887 showed Biria to have about 355 Muslim inhabitants.
British Mandate era
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Biria had a population of 128, all Muslims, increasing in the 1931 census to 170, still all Muslims, in a total of 38 houses.
In the 1945 statistics it had a population of 240 Muslims with a total of 5,579 dunums of land. A total of 328 dunums were used for cereals, 53 dunums for irrigation for use in the orchards, while 25 dunums were built-up (urban )land.
The villagers sold their products at the market in nearby Safad.
1948 war and aftermath
On April 7, 1948 it was reported that 20 Arabs had been killed near Mount Canaan, outside Safad. On May 1, 1948, the Palmach's First Battalion captured Biriyya, while another force took the adjacent village of Ayn al-Zaytun. According to a report in The New York Times, the villagers began to evacuate the city by themselves following its capture. The occupation of Safad and eastern Galilee was completed in May 1948 during Operation Yiftach.
- List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Palestinian exodus
- Birya Fortress
- Birya affair
- Palmer, 1881, pp. 61, 69
- Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 9
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 69
- Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #54. Also gives the cause of depopulation.
- Khalidi, 1992, p.440
- Ishtori Haparchi, Kaftor wa-Ferach vol. 2, (3rd edition, published by ed. Avraham Yosef Havatzelet), chapter 11, Jerusalem 2007, p. 53 (note 14) (Hebrew)
- Petersen, 2005, p. 131 Note that Petersen only counts families, and not bachelors
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 175
- Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 writes that the register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
- Karmon, 1960, p. 166. Note 15: the area north of Safad was not surveyed by Jacotin, but drawn based on an existing map of d'Anville.
- Robertsen and Smith, 1841, vol. 3, 2nd appendix, p. 134
- Guérin, 1880, p. 438
- Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.196. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 440
- Schumacher, 1888, p. 189
- Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Safad, p. 41
- Mills, 1932, p. 105
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 118
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 168
- Morris, 2004, p. 220
- Barron, J.B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Conder, C.R.; Kitchener, H.H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology. 1. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Department of Statistics (1945). Village Statistics, April, 1945. Government of Palestine.
- Guérin, V. (1880). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 3: Galilee, pt. 2. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Hadawi, S. (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- Hütteroth, Wolf-Dieter; Abdulfattah, Kamal (1977). Historical Geography of Palestine, Transjordan and Southern Syria in the Late 16th Century. Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten, Sonderband 5. Erlangen, Germany: Vorstand der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft. ISBN 3-920405-41-2.
- Karmon, Y. (1960). "An Analysis of Jacotin's Map of Palestine" (PDF). Israel Exploration Journal. 10 (3, 4): 155–173, 244–253.
- Khalidi, W. (1992). All That Remains:The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN 0-88728-224-5.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Morris, B. (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.
- 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 (2005). The Towns of Palestine Under Muslim Rule. British Archaeological Reports. ISBN 1841718211.
- Rhode, H. (1979). Administration and Population of the Sancak of Safed in the Sixteenth Century (PhD). Columbia University.
- Robinson, E.; Smith, E. (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 3. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.
- Schumacher, G. (1888). "Population list of the Liwa of Akka". Quarterly statement - Palestine Exploration Fund. 20: 169–191.