For the road junction with the same name, see Malakhi Junction.

Qastina 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...

 village, located 38 kilometers northeast of Gaza City. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...



Qastina was situated on an elevated spot in a generally flat area on the coastal plain, on the highway between al-Majdal and the Jerusalem-Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 highway. A British military camp, Beer Tuvia, was 3 km. southwest of the village.


In 1596 Qastina was a village in 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...

, nahiya (subdistrict) 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,...

 under the liwa'
Liwa (arabic)
Liwa or Liwa is an Arabic term meaning district, banner, or flag, a type of administrative division. It was interchangeable with the Turkish term "Sanjak" in the time of the Ottoman Empire. After the fall of the empire, the term was used in the Arab countries formerly under Ottoman rule...

(district) 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,...

, with a population of 385. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 and sesame, and fruits, as well as goats, beehives and vineyards.

The Syrian Sufi traveller Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi reported travelling through the village in the mid-eighteenth century, on his way to al-Masmiyya al-Kabira
Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira
Al-Masmiyya al-Kabira was a Palestinian village in the District of Gaza, located northeast of Gaza. With a land area of 20,687 dunams, the village site was situated on an elevation of along the coastal plain. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...


In the late nineteenth century, Qastina was described as a village laid out in a northwest-southeast direction on flat ground. It had adobe
Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material , which the builders shape into bricks using frames and dry in the sun. Adobe buildings are similar to cob and mudbrick buildings. Adobe structures are extremely durable, and account for...

 brick structures, a well, and gardens.

The villagers were 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...

 and they 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...

. An elementary school was started in 1936, the school was shared with the neighboring village of Tall al-Turmus
Tall al-Turmus
Tall al-Turmus was a Palestinian Arab village in the District of Gaza located on a low hill on the coastal plain of Palestine, northeast of Gaza. In 1945, it had a population of 760 and a land area of 11,508 dunams. The village was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.-History:According...

. By the mid 1940s the school had 161 students.

The villagers lived mostly of agriculture. In 1944/45 a total of 235 dunums was used for citrus
Citrus is a common term and genus of flowering plants in the rue family, Rutaceae. Citrus is believed to have originated in the part of Southeast Asia bordered by Northeastern India, Myanmar and the Yunnan province of China...

 and banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

s, while 7,317 dunums used for cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s. 770 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. In addition, villagers raised animals and poultry, and worked in the British military camp (Beer Tuvia) nearby.

1948 war, and after

Qastina was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Upon Israel's declaration of independence on 15 May 1948, the armies of neighbouring 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...

 states invaded, prompting fresh evacuations of civilians fearful of being caught up in the fighting. The women and children of Qastina were sent away to the village of Tell es-Safi
Tell es-Safi
Gath, Gat, or Geth , often referred to as Gath of the Philistines, was one of the five Philistine city-states, established in northwestern Philistia. According to the Bible, the king of the city was Achish, in the times of Saul, David, and Solomon. It is not certain whether this refers to two or...

 by the menfolk at this time, but they returned after discovering there was insufficient water in the host village to meet the newcomers' needs.

A preparatory order for the conquest of Qastina and other neighbouring villages (Masmiya al Kabira, Masmiya al Saghira, al Tina and Tall al Turmus) was drafted by the Giv'ati Brigade's 51st Battalion and produced on 29 June 1948. According to Benny Morris
Benny Morris
Benny Morris is professor of History in the Middle East Studies department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in the city of Be'er Sheva, Israel...

, the document recommended "the 'liquidation' (hisul) of the two Masmiya villages and 'burning' (bi'ur) the rest."

On 9 July 1948, the village and its over 147 houses were completely destroyed by Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i forces after its inhabitants fled an assault by the Givati Brigade
Givati Brigade
The Givati Brigade is an infantry brigade of the Israel Defense Forces, and serves as its amphibious force. Givati soldiers are designated by purple berets...

 in Operation An-Far
Operation An-Far
Operation An-Far was a military operation launched by Israel's Givati Brigade on the night of July 8–9 during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Its objectives were to gain control of approaches in southern Judea and block the advance of the Egyptian army...


Qastina was used as a rallying point by the IDF seventh Battalion of the 8th Armored Brigade after the failed attack on Iraq al-Manshiyya
Iraq al-Manshiyya
Iraq al-Manshiyya is a former Palestinian town located 32 km northeast of Gaza City. Its total land area consisted of 13,838 dunams. According to the British Mandate, the town had a population of 2,010 Arabs and 210 Jews in 1945...

 in part of the Israeli drive to open a route to the Negev 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...


Today, there are four Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i localities located on the lands of the former village: Kfar Warburg
Kfar Warburg
Kfar Warburg is a large moshav in central Israel. Located near Kiryat Malakhi with 98 farms covering an area of 6,000 dunams, it falls under the jurisdiction of Be'er Tuvia Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 873....

, Arugot
Arugot is a moshav in central Israel. Located near Kiryat Malakhi, it falls under the jurisdiction of Be'er Tuvia Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 765....

, Kfar Ahim
Kfar Ahim
Kfar Ahim is a moshav in south-central Israel. Located near Kiryat Malakhi, it falls under the jurisdiction of Be'er Tuvia Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 453....

, and Kiryat Malakhi. Be'er Tuvia
Be'er Tuvia
Be'er Tuvia is a moshav in the Southern District of Israel near the city of Kiryat Malakhi. It is affiliated with the Be'er Tuvia Regional Council....

, which was also known by the name Qastina after its establishment in 1887, lies adjacent.

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...

 notes of Qastina that:
"All that remains is the debris of houses strewn across the site. The research team investigating the current status of the depopulated villages visited the site and found it overgrown with bushes and tall grasses that were about 2m high."

See also

  • List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
  • RAF Qastina

External links

  • Welcome To Qastina
  • Qastina from the 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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