Hirbiya was a Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 village in the District of Gaza
District of Gaza
The District of Gaza was an administrative district, situated in the southern Mediterranean coastline of the British Mandate of Palestine. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the district disintegrated, with Israel controlling the northern and eastern portions while Egypt held control of the southern...

, located 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) northeast of Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 along the southern coastal plain of Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. In 1945, it had a population of 2,300 inhabitants, of which 2,240 were Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s and 60 were Jews.


Settlement at the site of Hirbiya dates back to the Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

ite period.

It was known as "Forbie" to the Crusader
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

s. In 1226, the Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi
Yaqut al-Hamawi
Yāqūt ibn-'Abdullah al-Rūmī al-Hamawī) was an Islamic biographer and geographer renowned for his encyclopedic writings on the Muslim world. "al-Rumi" refers to his Greek descent; "al-Hamawi" means that he is from Hama, Syria, and ibn-Abdullah is a reference to his father's name, Abdullah...

 called "Firbiya" and noted that it was within the administrative jurisdiction of Ascalon
Ashkelon is a coastal city in the South District of Israel on the Mediterranean coast, south of Tel Aviv, and north of the border with the Gaza Strip. The ancient seaport of Ashkelon dates back to the Neolithic Age...

. The village was the site of a crucial battle
Battle of La Forbie
The Battle of La Forbie, also known as the Battle of Harbiyah, was fought October 17, 1244 – October 18, 1244 between the allied armies and the Egyptian army of the Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub, reinforced with Khwarezmian mercenaries.-Prelude:The capture of...

 between the Crusaders and the Ayyubids, which ended in a decisive Ayyubid victory. Historians consider it second in strategic significance to the Battle of Hattin
Battle of Hattin
The Battle of Hattin took place on Saturday, July 4, 1187, between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the forces of the Ayyubid dynasty....

 in 1187.

Under the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1596, Hirbiya was a village within the nahiya of Gaza, a part of the Liwa of Gaza
Liwa of Gaza
The Sanjak of Gaza was a sanjak of the Damascus Eyalet, Ottoman Empire. It administrative center was within the Gaza City....

. With a population of 963, it paid taxes on wheat, barley, grapes, fruit, and cotton. In the late 19th century, Hirbiya had a rectangular layout, although some of its adobe brick houses were scattered in surrounding orchards. The village was surrounded by a pond, a well, and several gardens. To the south were remains of the Crusader fortress. The population at the time was entirely Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

. Hirbiya had a mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

 and elementary school, both located in the village center. The school opened in 1922 and had an enrollment of 124 students in the 1940s.

1948 War and aftermath

It is difficult to determine exactly when Hirbiya was captured by Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, although it was definitely targeted in October 1948 during Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav
Operation Yoav was an Israeli military operation carried out from 15–22 October 1948 in the Negev Desert, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its goal was to drive a wedge between the Egyptian forces along the coast and the Beersheba–Hebron–Jerusalem road and ultimately to conquer the whole Negev...

. The village came under aerial bombardment on October 15-16, along with a number of other towns and villages in the area. Later, during the same operation, an attack on the village was planned, but the attack was called off when it learned that a large Egyptian Army
Egyptian Army
The Egyptian Army is the largest service branch within the Egyptian Armed Forces and holds power in the current Egyptian government. It is estimated to number around 379,000, in addition to 479,000 reservists for a total of 858,000 strong. The modern army was created in the 1820s, and during the...

 force was quartered in the village. It probably fell to Israeli forces in early November, shortly after the occupation of Ascalon at the end of Operation Yoav.

The Jewish localities of Zikim
Zikim is a kibbutz in the southern Israel. Located in the northern Negev desert, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. In 2006, it had a population of 385....

 and Karmiya were established on village lands in 1949 and 1950 respectively. The town of Yad Mordechai
Yad Mordechai
Yad Mordechai is a kibbutz in southern Israel. Located 10 km south of Ashkelon, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 710.-History:...

, established in 1943 has expanded onto Hirbiya's lands. According to Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi
Walid Khalidi
Walid Khalidi is an Oxford University-educated Palestinian historian who has written extensively on the Palestinian exodus. He is General Secretary and co-founder of the Institute for Palestine Studies, established in Beirut in December 1963 as an independent research and publishing center...

, "The mosque (which has been converted into a warehouse) and the house of Muhammad 'Atiyya are the only buildings that survive."

External links

  • Welcome To Hiribya
  • Hiribya from Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
    Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center
    Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center is an organization established in 1996. It is located at 4 Raja Street, Ramallah in the West Bank. The traditional manor that houses the centre was the former family home of Khalil Salem Salah, the mayor of Ramallah between 1947/1951, is now owned by the Palestinian...

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