Jewish settlers at Suhmata, 1949
|Name meaning||possibly from "black"|
|Also spelled||Soukhmata Sahmatah, Samueth, Samahete|
|Date of depopulation||30 October 1948|
|Cause(s) of depopulation||Military assault by Yishuv forces|
|Current localities||Tzuriel, Hosen|
Separated from the neighbouring village of Tarshiha by a deep gorge, the ruins of a Byzantine era church lay within Suhmata's village lands. Underground water reservoir and a burial cave that apparently dates to the Roman period have been found at the village site. Suhmata had a Christian population at least until the Persian invasion of Palestine (A.D. 614-627) and presumably many people remained Christian for some time after that. What was earlier termed a Crusader-era castle constructed in the village was (rebuilt by Zahir al-Umar in the latter half of the 18th century), turned out to be the Byzantine church. Excavations in 1932 revealed an inscription in the church's mosaic floor that dates to 555 CE.
The Crusaders referred to the village as Samueth or Samahete. In 1179, Baldwin IV confirmed the sale from Viscountess Petronella of Acre of houses, vineyards and gardens in Samueth, the village of Suphie, and some houses in Castellum Regis to Count Jocelyn III, uncle of Baldwin IV, for 4,500 bezants. However, Ronnie Ellenblum writes that it is unlikely that there was actual Frankish settlement in Suhmata at this time.
In the late Ottoman era, in 1875, Victor Guérin visited Suhmata, and noted that "the village [is] divided into two distinct quarters, occupies two hills near each other, between which is a great birket, partly cut in the rock and partly built. One of these hills is crowned by the remains of a fortress flanked by towers and built with simple rubble; it contained several subterranean magazines, a mosque, and various chambers. The foundation is attributed to Dhaher el Amer. It is now three parts demolished, and on the place where it stood grow vines and tobacco."
In 1881, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described it as "a village, built of stone, containing about 400 Moslems, situated on [a] ridge and [the] slope of [a] hill, surrounded by figs, olives and arable land; there are several cisterns and a spring near.
An elementary school for boys was founded in the village in 1886.
British Mandate era
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Submata had a population of 632; 589 Muslims and 43 Christians, increasing in the 1931 census to 796; 752 Muslims and 44 Christians, in a total of 175 houses.
Over 70 percent of the village land was rocky and uncultivated, covered with oak and wild pears. The agricultural land was planted with wheat, barley, maize, tobacco, and vegetables. Suhmata's tobacco had a reputation for quality. In 1944/45 Suhmata had a population of 1,130, with a total of 17,056 dunams of land. Of this, a total of 3,290 dunums was allocated to cereals; 1,901 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, while 135 dunams were built-up (urban) area.
1948 war and aftermath
A naming committee established by the Jewish National Fund, which operated from 1948 to 1951 until its incorporation into a Governmental Naming Committee set up by Israel, renamed Suhmata, "Hosen", meaning "Strength." Meron Benvenisti writes that the committee chose this symbolic new name after determining that there was no known Jewish historical connection to the village of Suhmata.
Suhmata's former inhabitants founded a village committee in 1993 which organizes volunteer efforts. The village committee also conducted a survey of the displaced population from Suhmata and their distribution inside Israel. The village was also the focus of the 1996 play Sahmatah by Hanna Eady and Ed Mast.
- List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Palestinian exodus
- List of villages depopulated during the Arab–Israeli conflict
- Palmer, 1881, p. 54
- Guérin, 1880, p.74
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 41
- Morris, 2004, xvii, village #64. Also provides cause of depopulation.
- Robinson, 1856, p. 76.
- Pringle, 1997, p. 118
- Lerer, 2008, Zuri’el
- Lerer, 2009, Suhmata
- Makhul, Naji 1977, (Acre and its villages since Ancient Times. In Arabic.) p.134, quoted in Khalidi, p.29
- Khalidi, 1992, p.29
- Avi-Yonah, 1933: "The Byzantine Church at Suhmata." The Quarterly of the Department of Antiquities in Palestine 3 (2) pp. 92-105, quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 29
- Strehlke, 1869, pp. 11-12, No. 11; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 156, No. 587; cited in Ellenblum, 2003, p. 45, note #10.
- Ellenblum, 2003, p. 45, note #10.
- Guérin, 1880, pp. 74-75, as translated in Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 192
- Conder & Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.149
- Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Acre, p. 36
- Mills, 1932, p. 108
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
- Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131
- "Welcome to Suhmata". Palestine Remembered. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- Mansour, 2004, p. 220.
- Benvenisti, 2000, pp. 34-35
- Masalha and Said, 2005, p. 98.
- Americans for Middle East Understanding February - March 1999
- Barron, J. B., ed. (1923). Palestine: Report and General Abstracts of the Census of 1922 (PDF). Government of Palestine.
- Benveniśtî, Mêrôn (2000). Sacred landscape: the buried history of the Holy Land since 1948 (Illustrated ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21154-5.
- Conder, Claude Reignier; Kitchener, H. H. (1881). The Survey of Western Palestine: Memoirs of the Topography, Orography, Hydrography, and Archaeology 1. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
- Ellenblum, Ronnie (2003). Frankish Rural Settlement in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521521871.
- Guérin, Victor (1880). Description Géographique Historique et Archéologique de la Palestine (in French). 3: Galilee, pt. 2. Paris: L'Imprimerie Nationale.
- Hadawi, Sami (1970). Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine. Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center.
- 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.
- Lerer, Yoav (2008-12-18). "Zuri’el" (120). Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel.
- Lerer, Yoav (2009-06-21). "Suhmata, Survey Final Report" (121). Hadashot Arkheologiyot – Excavations and Surveys in Israel.
- Mansour, Atallah (2004). Narrow Gate Churches: The Christian Presence in the Holy Land Under Muslim and Jewish Rule. Hope Publishing House. ISBN 9781932717020.
- Masalha, Nur; Said, Edward W. (2005). Catastrophe Remembered: Palestine, Israel and the Internal Refugees : Essays in Memory of Edward W. Said (1935-2003). Zed Books. ISBN 9781842776230.
- Mills, E., ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas (PDF). Jerusalem: Government of Palestine.
- Morris, Benny (2004). The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-00967-7.
- 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.
- Pringle, Denys (1997). Secular buildings in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem: an archaeological Gazetter. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521 46010 7.
- Robinson, Edward; Smith, Eli (1856). Later Biblical Researches in Palestine and adjacent regions: A Journal of Travels in the year 1852. London: John Murray.
- Röhricht, Reinhold (1893). (RRH) Regesta regni Hierosolymitani (MXCVII-MCCXCI) (in Latin). Berlin: Libraria Academica Wageriana.
- Strehlke, Ernst, ed. (1869). Tabulae Ordinis Theutonici ex tabularii regii Berolinensis codice potissimum. Berlin: Weidmanns.
- Abnaa' Suhmata, "Sons of Suhmata", the website of the village committee established in 1993.
- Welcome to Suhmata at Palestineremembered
- Survey of Western Palestine, Map 3: IAA, Wikimedia commons
- Suhmata is here, 29/10/2005, Zochrot.
- Hazneh Sama’an (Umm Afif), Suhmata, testimony, 2005, Zochrot.
- Suhmata at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
- Suhmata photos, Dr. Moslih Kanaaneh
- http://www.yairgil.com/051029-zochrot/index.htm (29/10/2005)
- http://jacobk9.tripod.com/id37.html (29/10/2005)