Najd, Gaza

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Village ruins, 2010
Village ruins, 2010
Etymology: Highland[1]
Najd is located in Mandatory Palestine
Coordinates: 31°33′02″N 34°35′55″E / 31.55056°N 34.59861°E / 31.55056; 34.59861Coordinates: 31°33′02″N 34°35′55″E / 31.55056°N 34.59861°E / 31.55056; 34.59861
Palestine grid111/106
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulation12 May 1948[4]
 • Total13,576 dunams (13.576 km2 or 5.242 sq mi)
 • Total620[2][3]
Cause(s) of depopulationExpulsion by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesSderot,[5] Or HaNer[6]

Najd (Arabic: نجد‎) was a Palestinian Arab village, located 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) northeast of Gaza City. During the British Mandate in Palestine, children from Najd attended school in the nearby village of Simsim. On 13 May 1948, Najd was occupied by the Negev Brigade as part of Operation Barak, and the villagers were expelled[7] and fled to Gaza.


Palmer wrote that the name came of the village came from the word for "Highland",[1] while Socin writes that the name comes from "Beautiful".[8]


Ceramics from the Byzantine period have been found here.[9]

Ottoman era[edit]

Najd was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with the rest of Palestine, and in the 1596 tax registers, the village, called Najd al-Garbi, was located in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the liwa' (district) of Gaza. It had a population of 39 Muslim household; an estimated 215 persons. The villagers paid a fixed tax-rate of 33,3% on a number of crops, including wheat, barley and fruit, as well as on goats, beehives and vineyards; a total of 4,000 akçe.[10]

Edward Robinson, who travelled through Palestine in 1838, noted that Najd lay south of a wadi, and described how the villagers were winnowing barley by throwing it into the air against the wind with wooden forks.[11] He also noted it as a Muslim village, located in the Gaza district.[12]

In 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village, describing it as being on a small height, and with three hundred inhabitants.[13] An Ottoman village list of about 1870 showed that Najd had 24 houses and a population of 56, though the population count included only men.[8][14]

In 1883 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Najd as a small village with a well and a pond.[15]

British mandate era[edit]

The Mukhtar of Najd, 1939

As the population grew during the Mandate period, the village expanded northwestward. The village population was Muslim, and the children attended school in Simsim, 2 kilometers (1.2 mi) to the northeast. The villagers worked primarily in agriculture and animal husbandry. Fields of grain and fruit trees surrounded Najd on all sides. The fruit trees were concentrated to the north and northeastern sides, where irrigation water was available from wells.[16]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Nejd had a population of 305 inhabitants, all Muslims,[17] while in the 1931 census, Najd had 82 occupied houses and a population of 422 Muslims.[18]

By the 1945 statistics the population was estimated to be 620, all Muslims[2] with a total of 13,576 dunams of land.[3] Cultivated lands in the village in 1944-45 included a total of 10 dunums allocated for citrus and bananas and 11,916 dunums for cereals. An additional 511 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards,[19] while 26 dunams were built-up, urban, land.[20]

School building used by Yiftach Brigade as dining room, Najd, 1949

1948 War and aftermath[edit]

According to Benny Morris, the villagers of Najd were expelled by soldiers from the Negev Brigade on 12–13 May, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.[7]

Following the war the area was incorporated into the State of Israel and the city of Sderot was founded in 1951 on village land, a few miles to the south of the village site,[16] while Or HaNer was founded in 1957 also on village land, to the northeast.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 377
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 32
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 46
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. XIX, village #315. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  5. ^ Founded in 1951 on village land, to the south of the village. In Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  6. ^ Founded in 1957 on village land, to the northeast. In Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  7. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. 258
  8. ^ a b Socin, 1879, p. 158
  9. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 882
  10. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 144. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  11. ^ Robinson, 1841, vol. 2, p. 371. Also cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  12. ^ Robinson and Smith, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 118
  13. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 292
  14. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 133, noted 23 houses
  15. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 260. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  16. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 128
  17. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  18. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 6
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 88
  20. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 138


External links[edit]