Deir al-Dubban

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Deir al-Dubban
Deir al-Dubban is located in Mandatory Palestine
Deir al-Dubban
Deir al-Dubban
Arabic دير الدبان
Name meaning "Monastery of the Flies"[1]
Also spelled Dayr ad-Dhubban
Subdistrict Hebron
Coordinates 31°40′23″N 34°53′33″E / 31.67306°N 34.89250°E / 31.67306; 34.89250Coordinates: 31°40′23″N 34°53′33″E / 31.67306°N 34.89250°E / 31.67306; 34.89250
Palestine grid 139/120
Population 730[2][3] (1945)
Area 7,784[3] dunams
7.7 km²
Date of depopulation October 23–24, 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Luzit

Deir al-Dubban (Arabic: دير الدبان‎‎, from Dayr ad-Dhubban, literally, the "Monastery of the Flies"[1]) was a small Palestinian village 26 kilometers (16 mi) northwest of Hebron, near the modern village of Luzit, between Jerusalem, and Ashqelon (Ascalon 'Asqalan).[5] The village was depopulated in the 1948 Palestine War.


A possible reason behind Deir al-Dubban's name is that its ancient inhabitants worshiped Ba'l Zabub ("Lord of the Flies"), a chief Canaanite deity in the region.[6]

Moshe Sharon, professor of early Islamic history at Hebrew University, has examined the inscriptions in the caves of Deir al-Dubban. He dates them from early 8th century C.E. to early 10th century C.E.[5]

Ottoman era[edit]

The village was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with all of Palestine, and in 1596 it appeared in the tax registers as being in the Nahiya ("Subdistrict") of Al-Quds of the Liwa ("District") of Al-Quds. Its population of 396 paid taxes on wheat, barley, olive trees, fruit trees, vineyards, goats and beehives.[7] All the inhabitants (72 households) were Muslim.[8]

The American Biblical scholar E. Robinson reports passing Deir al-Dubban in 1838, on his way to examine caverns nearby.[6][9]

The French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village in 1863, and found that it had seven or eight poor Fellahin families,[10] while an official Ottoman village list of about 1870 showed that Der Dubban had 24 houses and a population of 79, though the population count included only men.[11][12] In 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) noted that the village appeared as being on an ancient site, and that there were large caverns. It had a with a well to the west.[13] Charles Warren found inscriptions, apparently in Syriac in the caves, one with a Byzantine cross engraved above it.[14]

In 1896 the population of Der ed-dibban was estimated to be about 249 persons.[15]

British Mandate era[edit]

During the British Mandate period, Deir al-Dubban's main economic activities were rainfed agriculture and animal husbandry. As a customary practice, farmland was divided into eastern and western sections; one section was planted on during a particular season, while the other remained a fallow. Adjacent to the farmland were fig orchards and grape vineyards.[6]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Dair al-Dubban had a population of 454 inhabitants, all Muslims,[16] increasing in the 1931 census of Palestine to 543, still all Muslim, in 112 inhabited houses.[17]

In 1945, Deir al-Dubban had a population of 730 Muslims[2] and a land area of 7,784 dunams.[3][6] 5358 dunams were for cereals,[18] while 58 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[19]

1948 and aftermath[edit]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, on October 24, Israeli forces belonging to the Givati Brigade captured Deir ad-Dubban in a northward push in Operation Yoav. Most of the inhabitants fled the village before the arrival of Israeli forces, those that remained were expelled.[6] The Jewish settlement of Luzit was established on the village's northeastern lands in 1955. According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, "the village's old roads are easily identifiable. There are also remnants of stone terraces and a cave."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 267
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 23
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 50 Archived 2009-07-20 at WebCite
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #293, Also gives cause of depopulation.
  5. ^ a b Sharon, 2004, pp. 20-36
  6. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1992, p. 216.
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 120. As cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 216
  8. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 120
  9. ^ Robinson, 1841, vol 2. pp. 352, 353
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 104
  11. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 151
  12. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 143
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, pp. 415, 420
  14. ^ Warren, 1871, p. 91
  15. ^ Schick, 1896, p. 123
  16. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Hebron, p. 10
  17. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 28
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 93
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 143


External links[edit]