Neby Samit, picture taken between 1900 and 1920
|Name meaning||from Zoreah|
|Date of depopulation||July 18, 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
The Canaanites referred to Sar'a by the name of Sur'a or Zorah, mentioned in the Amarna letters, subsequently it was a Danite place, while the Romans called it Sarea. Sar'a had two shrines, one of which is still standing. The first belongs to al-Nabi Samat, and the other for an unknown individual. The village also has several khirbas including Khirbat al-Tahuna, where the ruins of a building constructed of ashlars (squared stone masonry) and the foundations of other buildings.
Incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with the rest of Palestine, Saris appears in the 1596 tax records as a village in the nahiya (subdistrict) of al-Ramla under the liwa' (district) of Gaza with a population of 94. The villagers paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, olives, goats and beehives.
In 1863 Victor Guérin found it to be a village with some three hundred inhabitants. An Ottoman village list of about 1870 indicated 21 houses and a population of 59, though the population count included only men.
In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described it as a moderate sized village, standing on a low hill. A domed maqam, Neby Samat, stood to the south. SWP further noted "Caves exist here, and ruined tombs; one was a square chamber without loculi; another, a large tomb with a rock pillar, but now much broken, and the plan of the original form destroyed. This tomb is close to the Mukam of Neby Samit—a domed chamber, with an outer chamber to the west, and a door to the north, on which side is a courtyard, with a palm tree. The chamber has a mihrab, and by it are green rags, said to be the Prophet's clothes. In the court are two Arab graves. To the west are several kokim tombs full of bones and skulls. Other caves, cisterns, and a wine-press, north of the Mukam, were observed." Sheikh Samit, or Samat, was said to have been the brother of Shemshun el Jabar, whose Neby was at Ishwa.
J. Geikie described the shrine in the 1880s: "A mukam, or shrine, of a Mussulman saint stands on the south side of the village; a low square building of stone, with a humble dome and a small court, within an old stone wall, at the side. You enter the yard through a small door in this wall, up two or three steps, but beyond the bare walls, and a solitary palm-tree, twice the height of the wall, there is nothing to see. Sheikh Samat, whoever he was, lies solitary enough and well forgotten in his airy sepulchre, but the whitewash covering his resting-place marks a custom which is universal with Mussulman tombs of this kind."
British Mandate era
In 1945 the population of Saris was 340, all Muslims, who owned 4,967 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey. Of the land, 194 dunams were plantations and irrigable land and 2,979 were for cereals, while 16 dunams were built-up (urban) land.
1948 and afterward
Sar'a was captured by Israel's Harel Brigade on July 13–14, 1948, during the offensive Operation Dani in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Many of the inhabitants had already fled, as the village had been on the front lines since April. Those who had remained fled when the mortar barrages from the approaching Harel columns began; the few that stayed throughout the assault were later expelled. The village's inhabitants fled the village towards various West Bank refugee camps, including Qalandiya.
According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the village remaining structures on the village land were in 1992:
Stone rubble and iron girders are strewn among the trees on the site. A flat stone, surrounded by debris and inscribed with Arabic verses from the Qur'an, bears the date A.H. 1355 (1936). On the western edge of the site stands a shrine containing the tombs of two local religious teachers. A valley to the northeast is covered with fig, almond, and cypress trees.
- Palmer, 1881, p. 329
- Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 25
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 58
- Morris, 2004, xx, village#332. Also gives cause of depopulation].
- Khalidi, 1992, p. 314
- Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 154. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 314
- Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 153
- Guérin, 1869, pt 2, pp. 15-17
- Guérin, 1869, pt 3, p. 323
- Socin, 1879, p. 160
- Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 26. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.314
- Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 158
- Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 164
- Geikie, 1888, p. 67
- Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 15
- Mills, 1932, p. 43
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 104
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 154
- Morris, 2004, p. 436
- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922. Government of Palestine.
- Betzer, Pablo (2010-05-23). "Tel Zor‘a (North)" (122). Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel.
- Benveniśtî, Mêrôn (2000). Sacred landscape: the buried history of the Holy Land since 1948. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-23422-2. (p. 334)
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, H. H. (1883). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology. 3. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Dauphin, Claudine (1998). La Palestine byzantine, Peuplement et Populations. BAR International Series 726 (in French). III : Catalogue. Oxford: Archeopress. ISBN 0-860549-05-4. (p. 904)
- Department of Statistics (1945). Village Statistics, April, 1945. Government of Palestine.
- Guérin, Victor (1869). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 1: Judee, pt. 2. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Guérin, Victor (1869). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 1: Judee, pt. 3. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Geikie, John Cunningham (1888). The Holy Land and the Bible. 1. New York: John B. Alden.
- Hadawi, Sami (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.
- Khalidi, Walid (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.
- McCown, C. C. (1921). "Muslim Shrines in Palestine". The Annual of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem. 2/3: 47–214.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-00967-6.
- Nagorsky, Alla (2012-04-16). "Tel Zor‘a, Forest Survey" (124). Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel.
- 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.
- Quarterly statement - Palestine Exploration Fund Volume: 7-8 (1875): ( p. 211 )
- Robinson, Edward; Smith, Eli (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 2. Boston: Crocker & Brewster. (pp. 339, 343, 365 )
- Robinson, Edward; Smith, Eli (1841). Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea: A Journal of Travels in the year 1838. 3. Boston: Crocker & Brewster. (p. 18 )
- Robinson, Edward; Smith, Eli (1856). Later Biblical Researches in Palestine and adjacent regions: A Journal of Travels in the year 1852. London: John Murray.
- Socin, A. (1879). "Alphabetisches Verzeichniss von Ortschaften des Paschalik Jerusalem". Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 2: 135–163.
- Warren, Charles; Conder, Claude Reignier (1884). The Survey of Western Palestine: Jerusalem. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. (p. 444 )
- Welcome to Sar'a
- Sar'a, Zochrot
- Lost shrines, Maqam Neby or Sheikh Samat
- Survey of Western Palestine, Map 17: IAA, Wikimedia commons
- Sar'a from the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center