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Village mosque, in 2007
Tarbikha is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic تربيخا
Name meaning possibly from Teir Bikha, the Fortress of Bikha[1]
Subdistrict Acre
Coordinates 33°04′57.45″N 35°17′03.45″E / 33.0826250°N 35.2842917°E / 33.0826250; 35.2842917Coordinates: 33°04′57.45″N 35°17′03.45″E / 33.0826250°N 35.2842917°E / 33.0826250; 35.2842917
Palestine grid 177/276
Population 1,000[2] (1945)
Area 18,563[2] dunams
Date of depopulation Early November 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Expulsion by Yishuv forces
Current localities Shomera,[4] Even Menachem, Shtula, Zar'it

Tarbikha (Arabic: تربيخا‎) was a Palestinian Arab village. It was located 27 kilometres (17 miles) northeast of Acre in the British Mandate District of Acre that was captured and depopulated by the Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.


Three sarcophagi were found on the south side of the village. A semi-circular pool, cisterns and tombs were also found.[5]

Tarbikha was located on the site of the Crusaders Tayerebika, from which it derived its name.[6] In 1183 it was noted that Godfrey de Tor sold the land of the village to Joscelin III.[7] In 1220 Jocelyn III´s daughter Beatrix de Courtenay and her husband Otto von Botenlauben, Count of Henneberg, sold their land, including Tayerbica, to the Teutonic Knights.[8]

Ottoman era[edit]

Tarbikha was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with the rest of Palestine, and by 1596 it was part of the nahiya (subdistrict) of Tibnin under the Liwa of Safad, with a population of 88. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, olives and barley, as well as on goats, beehives and a press that was used for processing either olives or grapes.[9][10]

In the late nineteenth century, the village of Tarbikha was described as being built of stone and situated on a ridge. The population was estimated at being around 100, and they lived by cultivating olives.[11] During this period Tarbikha was a part of the Beirut province. Only after World War I, when the borders between Lebanon and Palestine were delineated by the British and French, did Tarbikha come under Palestinian administration.[6]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1931 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Tarbikha had a population of 674; 1 Christian and the rest Muslims, in a total of 149 houses.[12]

The village had two mosques, and an elementary school, founded after 1938, which had an enrollment of 120 students in the mid-1940s. It also had a customs office and a police station for monitoring the Lebanese border.[6]

In 1944/45 the village population was counted together with that of Suruh and Al-Nabi Rubin, together they had 1000 inhabitants and a total of 18,563 dunams of land.[2] Of this, a total of 3,200 dunums allocated to cereals, while 619 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards,[13][14] while 112 dunams were built-up (urban) area.[15]

1948 war and aftermath[edit]

The town was assaulted during Operation Hiram by the Oded Brigade on 30 October 1948.[16] The population was ordered to leave for Lebanon in early November.[17] The military did not let the Arabs gather the crops they planted; rather the military allowed the Jews of the kibbutz Tarbikha to gather the crops and left the villages unguarded, which allowed any passerby access to the items in the unguarded village.[18] The village lands of Tarbikha were settled by Jewish immigrants from Hungary and Romania as part of the policy of Judaisation of Northern Israel.[19]

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, described the village remaining structures in 1992: "About twenty houses from the village are now occupied by the residents of Moshav Shomera. Some of the roofs have been remodeled and given a gabled form. Stones from the original houses embellish the roof of the central shelter of the moshav."[20]

In 1994, the refugees from the seven villages, who had been classified as Palestinian refugees since 1948, were granted Lebanese citizenship.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 56
  2. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 41
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvii village #66 Also gives cause of depopulation. Also see p. 474
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxii settlement #154
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 193
  6. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p.33
  7. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 15-16, No. 16; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 125, No. 624; cited in Frankel, 1988, p. 264
  8. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 43- 44, No. 53; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 248, No. 934; cited in Frankel, 1988, p. 264
  9. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 183. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 33
  10. ^ Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 writes that the register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
  11. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.150. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 33
  12. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 103
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 81
  14. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 33-34
  15. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 131
  16. ^ Morris, 2006, p. 474
  17. ^ Morris, 2006, pp. 506-507
  18. ^ Totah, 1955, p. 192
  19. ^ Morris, 2006, pp. 381-382: By mid-June 1949, [Yehoshua] Eshel wrote, the whole northern border area had been Judaised through the ‘absorption settlements’-moshavim and development towns - such as at Tarshiha, Suhmata, Deir al Qasi, Tarbikha, Meirun, Sammu’i, Safsaf, Ras al Ahmar’.
  20. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 34
  21. ^ Peteet, 2005, p. 177


External links[edit]