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Julis, Gaza

This article is about the Palestinian Arab village in Gaza. For the village in Israel, see Julis.
The sabil, on the old main road going east-west
Arabic جولس
Name meaning personal name[1]
Subdistrict Gaza

31°40′54.28″N 34°39′12.66″E / 31.6817444°N 34.6535167°E / 31.6817444; 34.6535167Coordinates: 31°40′54.28″N 34°39′12.66″E / 31.6817444°N 34.6535167°E / 31.6817444; 34.6535167{{#coordinates:31|40|54.28|N|34|39|12.66|E|type:city_region:IL |primary |name=

Palestine grid 117/121
Population 1,030[2] (1945)
Area 13,584[2] dunams
13.6 km²
Date of depopulation June 11, 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Hodaya

Julis (Arabic: جولس‎) was a Palestinian Arab village in the Gaza Subdistrict, located Script error: No such module "convert". northeast of Gaza on a slight elevation along the southern coastal plain. In 1945, there were 1,030 inhabitants in the village. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[4]


Julis was built on an archaeological site whose ancient name is unknown.[4] Potsherds from the Mamluk era have been found in the village.[5]

Ottoman era

Julis was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 with the rest of Palestine, and by 1596 it was part of the nahiya of Gaza, in the Liwa of Gaza. It consisted of 204 persons (79 households) and paid taxes on wheat, barely, fruit, beehives, vineyards and goats.[6]

In 1863 Victor Guérin found the village to be located on a hillock and containing five hundred inhabitants. It had a oualy, dedicated to Scheik Mohammed, was internally decorated with two fragments.[7] An Ottoman village list of about 1870 indicated 101 houses and a population of 307, though the population count included only men.[8]

In 1882, the Palestine Exploration Fund's Survey of Western Palestine described Julis as mostly built of adobe brick structures, and it had a well to the south, and a pool surrounded by gardens to the northeast.[9]

British Mandate period

In the 1922 census of Palestine, conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Jules had a population of 481, all Muslims,[10] increasing in the 1931 census to 682, still all Muslims, in 165 houses.[11]

The village was laid out in a square, sandwiched between the two highways and bounded at one end by the traffic circle where they intersected. Its adobe and cement houses were constructed close together. The village had a mosque, and a shrine dedicated to Shaykh Khayr. According to local tradition, Khayr was a Muslim soldier killed fighting against the Crusaders. Village shops were scattered along the highway and in 1937 a school was opened; it had an enrollment of 86 students in the mid-1940s. Underground water was abundant in Julis and was used for domestic methods.[4]

During World War II, the British authorities built a highway that passed through Julis parallel and feeding traffic to the coastal highway. The road also intersected at the village with the highway leading from al-Majdal (Ashkelon) to the Jerusalem–Jaffa highway. This gave the village importance as a transportation center. The British also constructed a military camp in Julis to control the junction.[4]

In 1945 Julis had a population of 1,030 Arabs, with a total of 13,584 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[2] Of this, 1,360 dunams were used for citrus and bananas, 931 for plantations and irrigable land, 10,803 for cereals,[12] while 30 dunams were built-up land.[13]

1948 War and aftermath

On May 27-28, 1948, the Givati Brigade's First Battalion captured a military barracks in Julis during Operation Barak, but failed to gain control of the village itself. Egyptian forces attempted to recapture it almost immediately. According to the History of the Haganah, "The defenders of the place [Givati forces] blocked enemy units which tried... to infiltrate the barracks from the direction of the village of Julis." The Haganah account says that Julis was captured on June 11, as the Givati's Third Battalion mounted a number of operations to occupy a number of villages before the first truce of the war took place. However, in Gamal Abdel Nasser's memoirs, he recalled the maneuvers having taken place soon after the truce came into effect.[4]

At the end of the truce, Julis became one of the many main positions the Egyptians failed to recapture. The Egyptian Army's Sixth Battalion which Nasser was chief of staff of, was ordered to take back the position. In later years, Nasser was very critical of the operation's planning, writing "Once again we were a facing a battle for which we had no preparation. We had no information about the enemy at Julis." In the few hours before his unit was to move towards Julis, Nasser organized a quick reconnaissance of the position. During the course of the battle, his commanding officer ordered him to participate in the actual fighting, leaving his unit without direction or coordination. After getting hold of a few aerial photographs of the village, Nasser convinced his commander that "even if we had succeeded in entering Julis... it would have turned into a cemetery for our forces." He argued that Julis was indefensible without the barracks which overlooked it.[4] On July 10, after many Egyptian casualties, the battle was called off. According to the Haganah, the Givati units repulsed an Egyptian attack in which no Israeli soldier was injured. A close colleague of Nasser, Isma'il Mohieddin was killed during the battle.[14]

In 1949, Israel established the moshav of Hodaya on village lands southwest of the village site. According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi, "Only a few houses remain. Most of them are made of cement, and have simple architectural features: flat roofs and rectangular doors and windows. One has two storeys and another has an 'iliyya. One house, in the southwestern section of the site, is occupied by Jewish residents."[14]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 267
  2. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 46
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix village #287. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Khalidi, 1992, p.115.
  5. ^ Lifshit, 2014, Julis
  6. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 149. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p. 115.
  7. ^ Guérin, 1869, pp. 126-127
  8. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 153
  9. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1882, SWP II, p. 410. Cited in Khalidi, 1992, p.115
  10. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 9
  11. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 4.
  12. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 87
  13. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 137
  14. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p.116.



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