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Bayt Nabala

Bayt Nabala
Arabic بيت نبالا
Name meaning "The house of archery"[1]
Also spelled Bayt Nabala, Beit-Nabbala
Subdistrict Ramle

31°59′11.17″N 34°57′32.04″E / 31.9864361°N 34.9589000°E / 31.9864361; 34.9589000Coordinates: 31°59′11.17″N 34°57′32.04″E / 31.9864361°N 34.9589000°E / 31.9864361; 34.9589000{{#coordinates:31|59|11.17|N|34|57|32.04|E|type:city_region:IL |primary |name=

Palestine grid 146/154
Population 2,310 (1945)
Area 15,051 dunams
Date of depopulation May 13, 1948[2]
Cause(s) of depopulation Abandonment on Arab orders
Current localities Kfar Truman, and Beit Nehemia

Bayt Nabala or Beit Nabala was a Palestinian Arab village in the Ramle Subdistrict in Mandatory Palestine that was destroyed during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The village was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Its population in 1945, before the war, was 2,310.

It was occupied by Israeli forces on May 13, 1948[2] and was completely destroyed by them on September 13, 1948.[3] Village refugees were scattered around Deir 'Ammar, Ramallah city, Bayt Tillow, Rantis, and Jalazone refugee camps north of Ramallah. Some of the clans that lived in Bayt Nabala include the Nakhleh, Safi, Sharakah, al-Khateeb, and Zaid families. Today the area is part of the Israeli town of Beit Nehemia.


In 1596, Bayt Nabala was part of the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Ramla under the Liwa of Gaza, with a population of 297. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, olives, fruit, as well as on goats, beehives and a press that was used for processing either olives or grapes. It had 54 Muslim families.[4]

In 1870 Victor Guérin visited.[5] In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Bayt Nabala as being of moderate size, situated at the edge of a plain.[6]

British Mandate era

The school was founded in 1921 and had about 230 students in 1946-47.[7]

In a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Bait Nabala had a population of 1,324; 1,321 Muslims and 3 Christians,[8] increasing in the 1931 census to 1758, all Muslims, in a total of 471 houses.[9]

In 1944/45 the village had a population of 2,310. A total of 226 dunums of village land was used for citrus and bananas, 10,197 dunums were used for cereals, and 1,733 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.[10][11]

1948 war and aftermath

On December 14, 1947 a convoy of 7 vehicles from Petah Tikva sought to relieve the Jewish settlement of Ben Shemen, which had come under siege. The convoy carried 26 soldiers from Tel Aviv, 13 auxiliary police, two residents of Ben Shemen and 7 drivers. On the way they came under fire and several men were wounded. A passing British military vehicle picked up the injured men and all 8 vehicles continued. Near Beit Nabala, they came close to an Arab Legion camp and a firefight ensued. According to Jewish sources, the Legion fired first; according to British sources, it was the Jews. The British vehicle and a police vehicle became stuck and received heavy fire. All of the wounded and most of the police were killed. In total, 13 men died. This was one of the first confirmed involvements of the Arab Legion in the fighting in Palestine.[12] Some sources put the death toll at 14.[13][14]

Benny Morris writes that the village residents abandoned it on Arab orders on 13 May 1948. However, according to Walid Khalidi, this cannot be confirmed.[10]

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the village site in 1992: "The site is overgrown with grass, thorny bushes, and cypress and fig trees. It lies on the east side of the settlement of Beyt Nechemya, due east of the road from the Lod (Lydda) airport. On its fringes are the remains of quarries and crumbled houses. Sections of walls from the houses still stand. The surrounding land is cultivated by the Israeli settlements."[10]


According to the Palestinian Heritage Foundation, Beit Nabala dresses (together with those of the village of Dayr Tarif), "were usually done on cotton, velvet or kermezot silk fabric. Taffeta inserts embroidered in Bethlehem style couching-stitch in gold and silk cord were attached to the yoke, chest panel, sleeves and skirt. In the 1930s black velvet material became popular, and dresses were embroidered in couching straight on the fabric with brown or orange couching embroidery which later became famous for this area."[15]

See also


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 226
  2. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #222. Also gives the cause for depopulation.
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 354.
  4. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 153, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 365
  5. ^ Guérin, 1875, pp. 67 ff, 70
  6. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 296, cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.365
  7. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p. 365
  8. ^ Barron, 1923, Table VII, Sub-district of Ramleh, p. 22
  9. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 18.
  10. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 366
  11. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 114
  12. ^ Uri Milstein, History of Israel's War of Independence, Vol II (University Press of America, 1997), pp109-111.
  13. ^ Sam Brewer, 'Arab Legion Force In Palestine Kills 14 Jews in Convoy,' New York Times. December 15, 1947. p.1.
  14. ^ 'Many Dead In Palestine: Jewish Convoy Attacked, Fight With Arabs', The Times, Monday, December 15, 1947; pg. 4; Issue 50944; col C.
  15. ^ Lydda-Ramleh Region, Palestinian Heritage Foundation



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