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Farmers of Dimra winnowing their corn crop, 1941
Dimra is located in Mandatory Palestine
Name meaningTumrah; personal name. Also called Beit Dimreh, "by the peasantry"[1]
Also spelledDimrah,[2] Beit Dimreh[3] Demreh[4]
Coordinates31°33′32″N 34°33′54″E / 31.55889°N 34.56500°E / 31.55889; 34.56500Coordinates: 31°33′32″N 34°33′54″E / 31.55889°N 34.56500°E / 31.55889; 34.56500
Palestine grid108/107
Population520[5][6] (1945)
Area8,492 dunams
8.5 km²
Date of depopulationearly November 1948[7]
Cause(s) of depopulationFear of being caught up in the fighting
Current localitiesErez[8]

Dimra (Arabic: دمره‎) was a small Palestinian Arab village located 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) northeast of Gaza City.[3][9] Ancient remains at the site attest to longtime settlement there. During the era of Mamluk rule in Palestine, the town was the home of the Bani Jabir tribe. Depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Israeli kibbutz of Erez was founded in 1949 on part of the former village's lands.


Ancient mosaics found at the place, now in Erez

Ancient remains found throughout the village, including marble and granite columns as well as pottery, attest to longtime settlement at the site.[3] An excavation have found remains, including coins, dating the sixth century CE, that is the Byzantine empire. Many potsherds, dating to the same period, indicates that a pottery workshop was located there at the time.[10]

Mamluk period[edit]

Following the conquest of the Crusader states during the period of Mamluk rule (1270-1516 CE) over Greater Syria (Levant), Dimra was located on an eastward route which left the main Gaza-Jaffa highway at Beit Hanoun.[3] According to Moshe Sharon, Dimra was a likely resting place for those travelling in the region due to its natural, independent water supply.[3]

Three pieces of a marble slab, deposited since 1930 in the Rockefeller Museum, and dated to 676 AH (1277 CE) commemorates the building of a mosque at Dimra at that year.[3][11]

According to Walid Khalidi, Al-Qalqasandi, an Arab scholar (d. 1418 CE), wrote of Dimra, noting it was the home of the Bani Jabir, an Arab tribe.[12]

Ottoman period[edit]

In 1838, during the Ottoman rule in Palestine, Edward Robinson passed by Dimreh, describing it as located near the bend of a valley.[13] He also noted it as a Muslim village, located in the Gaza district.[2]

In 1863, French explorer Victor Guérin found the village to have 120 inhabitants. He assumed the village had previously been larger, due to several empty houses there. By the well he found one column made of grey granite, and five sections of columns made of grey-white marble. Cucumbers and watermelons were planted in the surrounding gardens.[14] An Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that the village had a population of 198, in a total of 71 houses, though the population count included men, only.[15][16]

In 1883 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine noted that the place was alternately called Tumrah and Beit Dimreh. The village was small, made of adobe located on the side of a hill. On the north side there was a garden with a water well below it.[17]

British Mandate of Palestine[edit]

The village expanded during the British mandate period, and houses were built eastward and southward.[8] In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Dumra had a population of 251, all Muslims,[18] increasing in the 1931 census to 324, still all Muslim, in 100 houses.[19]

In the 1945 statistics Dimra had a population of 520, all Muslims,[5] with a total of 8,492 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[6] Of this, 96 dunams were used for citrus and bananas, 388 dunams were for plantations and irrigable land, 7,412 for cereals,[20] while 18 dunams were built-up land.[21] An elementary school opened in Dimra in 1946, with an initial enrollment of 47 students.[8]

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the women and children of Dimra were reportedly evacuated by the village men on 31 October, likely in response to the advance of the Israeli army.[22]

Following the war the area was incorporated into the State of Israel and kibbutz Erez was founded in 1949 on part of the village site.[8] The remaining structures of the village are described by Khalidi in All That Remains (1992):

"Most of the village is fenced in and used as pasture. A crumbling stone water basin, concrete rubble from houses, and a destroyed well are nearly all that remain. A watering trough for cows has been placed on what appears to be a concrete fragment from a former house. The well is topped with an old, nonoperating water pump. More debris lies in a wooded portion of the site, near a Jewish cemetery. Some cactuses that formerly served as fences, as well as shrubs and thorny plants, grow on adjacent lands.[8]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 363
  2. ^ a b Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 118
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sharon, 2004, pp. 138-141
  4. ^ Thomson, 1860, p. 356.
  5. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 31
  6. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 45
  7. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #314. Also gives cause of depopulation
  8. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p. 94.
  9. ^ "Dimra". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  10. ^ Paran, 2007, Erez (East) Final Report
  11. ^ Mayer, 1933, pp. 32–33
  12. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 94. Quoting Ahmad al-Qalqashandi's Al-Nujum, cited in D1/2:272.
  13. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol. 2, p. 371. Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 94.
  14. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 174-175
  15. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 152 Also noted it in the Gaza district
  16. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 130, also noted 71 houses
  17. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 236
  18. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  19. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 3.
  20. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 86
  21. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 136
  22. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 76


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