Ma'alul

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Ma'alul
Ma'alul.jpg
A restored church in Ma'lul in July 2010
Ma'alul is located in Mandatory Palestine
Ma'alul
Ma'alul
Arabic معلول
Also spelled Ma'lul, Maalul, Maaloul, Mahlul
Subdistrict Nazareth
Coordinates 32°41′44.12″N 35°14′22.18″E / 32.6955889°N 35.2394944°E / 32.6955889; 35.2394944Coordinates: 32°41′44.12″N 35°14′22.18″E / 32.6955889°N 35.2394944°E / 32.6955889; 35.2394944
Population 690 (1945)
Area 4,698 dunams

4.7 km²

Date of depopulation 15 July 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Migdal HaEmek, Kfar HaHoresh, Timrat,[2][3] and an Israeli military base

Ma'alul was a Palestinian village, made up primarily of Palestinian Christians, that was depopulated and destroyed by Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Located six kilometers west of the city of Nazareth,[4] many of its inhabitants became internally displaced refugees, after taking refuge in Nazareth[5] and the neighbouring town of Yafa an-Naseriyye.[6] Despite having never left the territory that came to form part of Israel, the majority of the villagers of Maalul, and other Palestinian villages like Andor and Al-Mujidal, were declared "absentees", allowing for the confiscation of their land under the Absentees Property Law.[7]

Today, much of the former village's lands are owned by the Jewish National Fund.[8] All that remains of its former structures are two churches, a mosque and a Roman era mausoleum, known locally as Qasr al-Dayr ("Castle of the monastery").[4]

History[edit]

Rabbi Schwartz[who?] identified Ma'alul with the Biblical town of Nahalal.[9] Nahalal was a biblical town in the of the land of the Tribe of Zebulun, and also a Levite city (Joshua 21:35). Nahalal did not yield to the conquering Israelites initially, due to its strong fortifications, but they did pay taxes to them. Archaeological findings have identified remains from the Israelite period..[citation needed]

The Jewish town of the Roman period was called "Mahalul". It flourished from the commercially strategic location during the Roman/Byzantine times (Mishna and Talmud). It is mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud (Megilla page 2, 2 1:1), and listed among the walled cities from the period of Joshua.[citation needed]

In 1596, Ma'alul was a part of the Ottoman nahiya ("subdistrict") of Tiberias under the liwa' ("district") of Safad with a population of seventy-seven. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat and barley, as well as goats and beehives.[10]

Ma'alul, and the neighbouring towns and villages of Nazareth, Mejdal, Yafa, Jebatha and Kneffis paid taxes to the monks of Nazareth, who bought the right to collect these taxes from the Ottoman authorities in 1777 for two hundred dollars. Thirty years later, they again purchased this right, though this time for two thousands five hundred dollars, owing to the rise in the price of cereals and ground rents.[11]

By the late nineteenth century, the village was made of adobe bricks, built on a hill, with an estimated population of 280, who cultivated 42 faddans of land. Just outside the village was a magnificent Roman mausoleum, called Qasr al-Dayr.[12]

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the people of Ma'alul were tenants of the Sursuq family of Beirut, absentee landlords who had acquired the village lands earlier. In 1931 the Sursuqs sold all but 2,000 dunams of Ma'alul's land to the Zionist Palestine Land Development Company. The remaining 2,000 dunums were insufficient to support the village's population, so at the request of the Mandate government, the company agreed to lease an additional 3,000 dunams to the villagers until 1927. The villagers had the option to buy this land before the lease expired.[3]

The village was captured by the Israeli army on 15 July 1948 during Operation Dekel. The villagers were forced to leave and the houses destroyed.[3]

In 1949 an Israeli military base was built on village land.[13]

Town in recent times[edit]

Walid Khalidi describes the remains of Ma'alul in 1992:

The village site is now covered with a pine forest planted by the Jewish National Fund and dedicated to the memory of prominent Jews and some non-Jewish Americans and Europeans. A military base is also on the site. The mosque and two churches still stand, and are used intermittently as cow sheds by the residents of Kibbutz Kefar ha-Choresh. Overlooking Wadi al-Halabi, between the village site and the site of al-Mujaydil, is an Israeli plastics factory. Cactus, olive trees, and fig trees grow on the site, which is strewn with piles of stones. A few tombs in the Muslim cemetery across from the mosque can be seen. The main village site also contains the remains of houses.[14][1]

Documentary: Ma'loul Celebrates its Destruction[edit]

Ma'alul was the object of the 1985 documentary film by Michel Khleifi; Ma'loul Celebrates its Destruction.[15][16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #138. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  2. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, settlement #12.
  3. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p.347
  4. ^ a b Ma'lul, Palestine Remembered, retrieved 2008-03-31 
  5. ^ Rabinowitz, 1997, p. 27.
  6. ^ Nihad Bokae'e (February 2003), Palestinian Internally Displaced Persons inside Israel:Challenging the Solid Structures (PDF), Badil 
  7. ^ Hal Draper (Winter 1957), "Israel’s Arab Minority:The Great Land Robbery", New International, XXIII (1): 7–30, retrieved 2008-03-31 
  8. ^ Merrilee Langenbrunner (December 1, 2002), Mourning the departure of Arab Christians, Catholic New Times, retrieved 2008-03-31 
  9. ^ Keil, 1865, p. 194.
  10. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 189. Quoted in Khalidi, p. 346.
  11. ^ De Hass, 2007, p. 361.
  12. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, I:274 - 322-335 Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.347
  13. ^ Pappe, Ilan (2006) The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oneworld. ISBN 1-85168-467-0. p.216
  14. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p.348
  15. ^ Dabashi, Hamid, and Said, Edward (preface) (2006): Dreams Of A Nation: On Palestinian Cinema, Verso Books, London, United Kingdom, ISBN 1-84467-088-0, Chapter 4: Bashir Abu-Manneh: Towards Liberation: Michel Khleifi's Ma'loul and Canticle (p. 58-69)
  16. ^ Gertz, Nurith; Khleifi, George (2008): Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma, and Memory, Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-22007-6 p.80-81

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]