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Al-Mazar, Jenin

This article is about the depopulated Palestinian village in the District of Jenin. For the depopulated Palestinian village in the District of Haifa, see Al-Mazar, Haifa.
Arabic المزار
Name meaning "shrine", "a place one visits"[1]
Subdistrict Jenin

32°31′28″N 35°21′33″E / 32.52444°N 35.35917°E / 32.52444; 35.35917Coordinates: 32°31′28″N 35°21′33″E / 32.52444°N 35.35917°E / 32.52444; 35.35917{{#coordinates:32|31|28|N|35|21|33|E|type:city_region:IL |primary |name=

Palestine grid 184/214
Population 270[2] (1945)
Area 14,501[2] dunams
Date of depopulation 30 May, 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Perazon, Meytav, and Gan Nir

Al-Mazar (Arabic: المزار‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the District of Jenin. Situated on Mount Gilboa, its history stretched back to the period of Mamluk rule over Palestine (13th century). An agricultural village, it was depopulated during the 1948 Palestine war, and incorporated into the newly established state of Israel.[4] The Israeli localities of Perazon, Meytav, and Gan Nir were established on the village's former lands.


The village was located on the flat, circular peak of the mountain known in biblical scripture as Mount Gilboa, and locally as Mount al-Mazar or Djebel Foukou'ah ("Mount of Mushrooms"), with steep slopes on all sides excepting the southeast.[4][5] It was joined to the neighbouring village of Nuris by a dirt path.[4]


The village may have been named al-Mazar (Arabic for "shrine", "a place one visits"[1]) because it was a burial place of many of those who fell in the Battle of Ain Jalut between the Mamluks and the Mongols in 1260.[4] The villagers traced their origins to the al-Sadiyyun nomads, who in turn were descended from Shaykh Sad al-Din al-Shaybani (died 1224), a prominent Sufi mystic from the Jaba village on the Golan.[4]

Ottoman era

During the period of Ottoman rule over Palestine, al-Mazar was captured and burned by Napoleon's troops in April 1799 during the Syrian leg of his military campaign in Egypt.[6] Pierre Jacotin named the village Nazer on his map from that campaign.[7]

In 1870, V. Guérin visited al-Mazar, describing it as a village with about 500 inhabitants, situated at the peak of Djebel Foukou'ah, and surrounded by a belt of gigantic cactus plants. Numerous wells carved in the rock were said to point to the antiquity of the village. From the village, he could see the whole of Djebel Foukou'ah, which he identifies as the Mount Gilboa of biblical scripture, as well as the Jezreel Valley, the Little Hermon (actually Djebel Dhahy), Mount Tabor, and further north, the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon. Also seen from the village to the west and northwest were the Plain of Esdraelon and the Carmel Mountains; to the south, the mountains around Jenin; and to the east, before the Jordan River, what he calls the ancient country of Galaad. He notes that the name of Mount Gilboa is preserved in the name of the village of Djelboun, also situated on the mountain. Descending the mountain towards the west-southwest, at the base of the village of al-Mazar, he notes the presence of a spring of the same name, Ain el-Mezar, and on the slopes of this side of the mountain, which are less steep, there were olive trees and wheat being cultivated.[5]

In the 1882 the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) described the place as: "a village on the summit of the mountain. It is principally built of stone, and has a well to the south-east. A few olives surround the houses. The site is very rocky. It is inhabited by Derwishes, and is a place of Muslim pilgrimage."[8]

British Mandate era

During the British rule, at the time of the 1931 census, there were 62 inhabited houses in al-Mazar for a population of 257 Muslims.[9] The village was home to Sheik Farhan al Sadi, a prominent leader in the 1936 Arab revolt in Palestine.[4] In 1937, at the age of 75, he was executed by the British authorities for his participation in the revolt.[10]

Agriculture was the backbone of the village economy, which was based on grain, fruit, legume, and olive cultivation. Toward the end of the mandate period, in 1944-45, the villagers allocated 5,221 dunums of land to cereals, 229 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, of which 68 dunums were for olives.[4][11]

Farhan al-Sa'di (1856–1937) was born in al-Mazar. He is thought to be the first to use a weapon during the 1936 revolt.[12]

1948 and aftermath

On 19 April, 1948, Palmah HQ (headquarters) ordered the OC (operational command) of the First Battalion to, "destroy enemy bases in Mazar, Nuris and Zir'in [..] Comment: with the capture of Zir'in, most of the village houses must be destroyed while [some] should be left intact for accommodation and defence." According to Benny Morris, the Israeli historian, the policy of destroying the Palestinian villages was characteristic of Haganah attacks in April-May 1948, just before the outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.[13] However, the specific orders for al-Mazar were either not acted upon, or did not succeed at once, as the village was not occupied until 30 May, 1948.[3][4] By that time, it had been captured after an attack by Israeli soldiers from the Golani Brigade, along with the village of Nuris, which lay at the foot of the mountain.[6]

Three Israeli settlements have been established on the land of al-Mazar: Perazon in 1953, Meytav in 1954, and Gan Nir in 1987.[4] The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described what remained of al-Mazar in 1992:
The site is overgrown with thorns and cactuses and strewn with stone rubble. None of the village houses or landmarks remains. Almond trees and cactuses grow on parts of the village lands. The hilly lands are used as grazing areas, and other parts are covered with forest.[14]


  1. ^ a b Palmer, 1881, p. 165
  2. ^ a b Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 54
  3. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #122. Also gives cause of depopulation
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Khalidi, 1992, p. 337
  5. ^ a b Guérin, 1874, p.325
  6. ^ a b Cline, 2002, pp. 161-2, 169.
  7. ^ Karmon, 1960, p. 169
  8. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 85
  9. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 69
  10. ^ Palestine: Acre Justice, Dec. 06, 1937, Time magazine
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 99
  12. ^ "Documents, Correspondence & Photos - Image 133/316". Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 346
  14. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 338



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