Palestinian house in Aqir, post 1948
Name meaning Barren[1]
Also spelled Akir, Akkur
Subdistrict Ramle

31°51′39.63″N 34°49′23.11″E / 31.8610083°N 34.8230861°E / 31.8610083; 34.8230861Coordinates: 31°51′39.63″N 34°49′23.11″E / 31.8610083°N 34.8230861°E / 31.8610083; 34.8230861{{#coordinates:31|51|39.63|N|34|49|23.11|E|type:city_region:IL |primary |name=

Palestine grid 133/140
Population 2480[2] (1945)
Area 11,322[2] dunams
Date of depopulation 6 (??) May 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Kiryat Ekron,[4] Mazkeret Batya[4] Ganei Yohanan[4]

Aqir, also spelled Akir and Akkur, was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict, located 9 km southwest of Ramla and 1 km north of Wadi al-Nasufiyya[5] (today called Nahal Ekron).


Until the early 20th century, Aqir was thought to lie at the site of the ancient Philistine city of Ekron, that has now been identified as Tel Mikne, 9 km to the south.[6] The error seems rooted in antiquity; The Romans referred to the village as Accaron.[5] In the 10th century, Al-Muqaddasi writes of Aqir (Ekron) as "A large village with a mosque. Its inhabitants are much given to good works. The bread here is not to be surpassed for quality. The village lies on the high road from Ar-Ramlah to Makka."[7][8] Yakut called it Al Akir, and said it belonged to Ar Ramlah.[9]

The village mosque had a construction text, made in naskhi script, and dating it to 1296-7.[10]

Ottoman era

In 1596, Aqir (Amir) appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Ramla of the Liwa of Gaza. It had a population of 31 Muslim households and paid taxes on wheat, barley, and other produce.[11]

The mihrab in the mosque had an inscription above it dating it to 1701-1702 CE.[12]

The scholar Edward Robinson passed by the village in 1838, and described it as being surrounded by "well-tilled gardens and fields of the richest soil". The village itself was described as being of "considerable size", built of bricks or adobe.[13]

In 1863 Victor Guérin noted Aqir as a large village, with 800 inhabitants.[14] In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described it as "an adobe village on low rising ground, with cactus hedges surrounding its gardens, and a well to the north."[15]

British Mandate era

At the time of the 1922 census of Palestine, Aqir had a population of 1155 Muslims.[16] This had increased to 1689 Muslims and 2 Christians by the 1931 census.[17]

Between 1941 and 1948, the RAF Aqir airfield was located nearby. In 1945, the village had a population of 2,480 with two elementary schools: one for boys, founded in 1921 which had an enrollment of 391 boys in 1945 and a second for girls, which had an enrollment of 46 girls in 1945. There were two mosques in the village.[4]

In 1944/45, the village had 1,300 dunums of land used for citrus and banana cultivation, 8,968 dunums were used for cereals, 914 dunums irrigated or used for orchards,[4][18] while 46 dunams were classified as built-up public areas.[19]

1948 and afterward

The village was depopulated during the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine on 6 May 1948 during Operation Barak by the Givati Brigade. The remaining village houses was taken over by Kiryat Ekron soon after.[20]

According to the Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, the village remaining structures on the village land were in 1992:

A number of small houses remain, several of which are occupied by Jewish families. One is a cement house with a gabled roof and rectangular doors and windows, another is similar in its features, but its roof is flat. Cypresses, cycamores and cactuses grow on the site. The surrounding lands are cultivated by Israelis.[4]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 265
  2. ^ a b Hadawi, 1970, p.66
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #252. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1990, p. 360
  5. ^ a b Khalidi, 1990, p. 359
  6. ^ Seymour Gitin and Trude Dothan (1987). "The Rise and Fall of Ekron of the Philistines: Recent Excavations at an Urban Border Site". The Biblical Archaeologist 50 (4): 197–222. JSTOR 3210048. doi:10.2307/3210048. 
  7. ^ Al-Mukaddasi, translated by Le Strange, 1884, p.60
  8. ^ Al-Mukaddasi, translated by le Strange, 1890, p.389
  9. ^ Yakut, iii. 697, translated by le Strange, 1890, p.390
  10. ^ Sharon, 1997, pp. 107-109
  11. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 153
  12. ^ The inscription was noted in 1950 by Mayer, but has since "disappeared" according to Sharon, 1997, p. 109
  13. ^ Robinson, 1841, p21- p.25. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 360.
  14. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 36-44
  15. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p.408. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 521
  16. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, p. 21
  17. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 19
  18. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 114
  19. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 164
  20. ^ אודות קרית עקרון [About Kiryat Ekron] (in Hebrew). Kiryat Ekron local council. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 



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