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Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira

This article is about the depopulated village in historic Palestine. For the ancient village in southern Syria, see al-Masmiyah.
al-Masmiyya al-Saghira
Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira plan
Arabic المسمية الصغيرة
Also spelled Masmiyyat al-Hurani
Subdistrict Gaza

31°45′09.75″N 34°47′55.70″E / 31.7527083°N 34.7988056°E / 31.7527083; 34.7988056Coordinates: 31°45′09.75″N 34°47′55.70″E / 31.7527083°N 34.7988056°E / 31.7527083; 34.7988056{{#coordinates:31|45|09.75|N|34|47|55.70|E|type:city_region:IL |primary |name=

Palestine grid 131/128
Population 530 (1945)
Area 6,478 dunams
6.5 km²
Date of depopulation July 8–9, 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Masmiya Bet,[2] Kfar HaRif

Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira (Arabic: المسمية الصغيرة‎), also known as Mamsiyyat al-Hurani, was a Palestinian Arab village in the Gaza Subdistrict, located Script error: No such module "convert". northeast of Gaza. Established in the 19th century,[3] it was situated at an elevation of Script error: No such module "convert". in the southern coastal plain of Ottoman Syria. Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, but prior to that, in 1945, it had a population of 530 inhabitants.[3]


Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira was established in the second half of the 19th century by al-Hurani clan who had lived in the adjacent al-Masmiyya al-Kabira, but left because of feuds with other residents. Thus, the village was also known as "Masmiyyat al-Hurani". The adjectival Saghira means "minor" in Arabic and was used to differentiate it from al-Mamsiyya al-Kabira, the latter word meaning "major".[3]

British Mandate era

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Mesmiyet Saghira had a population of 261 Muslims,[4] increasing in the 1931 census when Masmiya El Saghira had an all-Muslim population of 354 in 73 houses.[5]

In 1945 the population of El Masmiya es Sagira was 530 Arabs, while the total land area was 6,478 dunams, according to an official land and population survey.[6] Of this, a total of 147 dunams were used for citrus and bananas, 7 for plantations and irrigable land, 6,126 for cereals,[7] while 18 dunams were built-up areas.[8]

Seven small shops provided the village with its basic needs and children attended school in al-Masmiyya al-Kabira. Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy, grain being the dominant crop. In addition to cultivation, the inhabitants raised livestock which numbered approximately 4,000 animals, including sheep, goats, cattle, camels, mules. Farmers participated in the weekly market of al-Faluja, and also sold their products in the cities of Gaza, al-Majdal (Ashkelon), and Jaffa.[3]

1948, aftermath

The circumstances of al-Masmiyya al-Saghira's capture by Israel was identical to those of its sister village, al-Masmiyya al-Saghira which was occupied by the Givati Brigade on July 8–9, 1948. Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that the military operation was undertaken occurred in the ten days between the first two truces of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and that it "precipitated the evacuation of the village". The Jewish moshav of Kfar HaRif was established on al-Masmiyya al-Saghira's lands in 1956. According to Walid Khalidi: "Virtually no trace of the village remains, and the site is overgrown with weeds, tall grasses, and a scattering of eucalyptus trees".[3]

See also


  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #274. Also gives the cause for depopulation.
  2. ^ also known as Masmiya Shalom. Morris, 2004, p. xxi, settlement #72, established in 1949
  3. ^ a b c d e Khalidi, 1992, p.126.
  4. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  5. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 5
  6. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 46
  7. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 87
  8. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 137



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