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Seritz - Zuallart Jean - 1587.jpg
Saris noted on 1587 print by Jean Zuallart[1]
Saris is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic ساريس
Name meaning Saris, personal name[2]
Subdistrict Jerusalem
Coordinates 31°47′53″N 35°04′26″E / 31.79806°N 35.07389°E / 31.79806; 35.07389Coordinates: 31°47′53″N 35°04′26″E / 31.79806°N 35.07389°E / 31.79806; 35.07389
Palestine grid 157/133
Population 560[3][4] (1945)
Area 10,699[4] dunams
Date of depopulation 16-17 April 1948[5]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Shoresh, Sho'eva

Saris (Arabic: ساريس‎) was a Palestinian Arab village that was depopulated during the major offensive launched by the Haganah on 6 April 1948. Called Operation Nachshon, and launched before the British had left Palestine, its objective was to capture villages between Jerusalem and the coastal plain.[6]


Yaqut al-Hamawi noted about Saris in the 1220s that it was "a village of the district round Jerusalem. It lies half-way between Jerusalem and Ar Ramlah, and 4 hours from either place".[7]

Ottoman era[edit]

During Ottoman rule in Palestine, in 1596, Saris was a village in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Jerusalem under the liwa' (district) of Jerusalem and it had a population of 53 Muslim households, an estimated 292 persons. The villagers paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, olives fruit and carob, as well as on goats, beehives and vineyards; a total of 7,098 Akçe. A quarter of the revenue went to a Waqf.[8]

In 1838, Saris was noted as a Muslim village in the District of Beni Malik, west of Jerusalem.[9]

In 1863, the French explorer Victor Guérin found Saris to have an apparently ancient water well, while the houses looked "dilapidated".[10] An Ottoman village list of about 1870 counted 57 houses and a population of 169, though the population count included men, only.[11][12]

In 1883, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Saris as being located on top of a hill, with olive trees growing below the village.[13]

In 1896 the population of Saris was estimated to be about 360 persons.[14]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Saris had a population 373, all Muslims,[15] increasing in the 1931 census to 470, still all Muslims, in 114 houses.[16]

In the 1945 statistics the population of Saris was 560, all Muslims,[3] and it had 10,699 dunams of land according to an official land and population survey.[4][17] 366 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 3,677 for cereals,[18] while 10 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[19]

Saris, Palestine. 1948

1948 and after[edit]

On 13 April, before the village was attacked, Israel Galili wrote to Yosef Weitz of the JNF asking for a settlement to be established at Saris 'as soon as possible.'[20]

On 17 April 1948 The Scotsman reported 'Jews destroyed a mosque, village school, and 25 houses, killing three women in an attack on the Arab village of Saris early today (16th). There were about 500 attackers.' The New York Times carried the same report and gave the number of Arab dead as seven. A Haganah statement is quoted as saying that the battalion stayed in the village for about five hours, blowing up 25 buildings and burning others.[21][22]

Following the war, the area was incorporated into the State of Israel. The village of Shoresh was established 1 km south west of the remains of Saris in 1948, while Sho'eva was set up 0.5 km north east of the site in 1950, both on land that had belonged to Saris.[17]

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village land in 1992: "The site is covered with stone rubble; iron bars protrude from the collapsed roofs. There are many open wells and several caves with arched roofs. A large number of trees, including cypress, fig, and almond trees, grow on the site. An abandoned grove of almond trees is located on the eastern side. In the middle of the slope are the remains of an artificial pool. The village cemetery, surrounded by trees, is located southwest of the site. It contains several large tombs, one of which is surrounded by a small, roofless enclosure; an almond tree grows in the center." He also noted that two forests had been established in the area by the Jewish National Fund and the Center for European Jewry.[17]


  1. ^ Zuallart, 1587, p. 118
  2. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 326
  3. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 25
  4. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 58
  5. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xx, village #345. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  6. ^ Palestine Remembered - Saris
  7. ^ le Strange, 1890, p. 531
  8. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 112. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 315
  9. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, Appendix 2, p. 123
  10. ^ Guérin, 1868, pp. 62, 281 -283
  11. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 160 also noted it was located in the Beni Malik District
  12. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 118, also noted 57 houses
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 18. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 315
  14. ^ Schick, 1896, p. 125
  15. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Jerusalem, p. 14
  16. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 43
  17. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 316
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 104
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 154
  20. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 316, quoting Benny Morris.
  21. ^ Khalidi, 1992, pp. 315-316. The 1931 survey counted 114 houses in the village
  22. ^ Morris, 2004, pp. 234-235, 240


External links[edit]