PLace

al-Masmiyya al-Saghira

Place
al-Masmiyya al-Saghira — المَسْمِيَّة الصَّغِيرَة
Known also as: Masmiyyat al-Hurani, al-Huraniyya
District
Gaza
Average Elevation
60 m
Subdistrict
Gaza
Distance from Gaza
42 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 530 530
1931 354 354
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 6340 138 6478
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 42 138 180
Built-up 18 18
60 138 198 (3%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 6126 6126
Plantation and Irrigable 7 7
Citrus and Bananas 147 147
6280 6280 (97%)
Number of Houses (1931)
73

The village, located in the southern coastal plain and bordered on the north by Wadi al-Zurayqa, stretched along the wadi in a northwest-southeast direction. AI-Masmiyya al-Saghira was linked by a short road to a junction of highways that led to al-Majdal (to the southwest), al-Ramla (to the northeast), and the Jerusalem–Jaffa highway. It was referred to with the adjectival al-Saghira ('minor') so that it could be distinguished from its twin village al-Masmiyya al-Kabira ('major'). It was established in the second half of the nineteenth century by the hamula (clan) of al-Hurani, who had lived in al-Masmiyya al-Kabira and who had had to leave it because of feuds with other residents. Thus, the village was also known as Masmiyyat al-Hurani. All of the villagers were Muslim, and they sent their children to school in al-Masmiyya al-Kabira. Seven small shops in the village provided their basic supplies. They drew water for their domestic needs from two sources: private wells that collected rainwater, and an artesian well that was located under an ancient Christ's-thorn tree and belonged to the entire village.

Agriculture was the mainstay of the village economy, grain being the dominant crop. In 1944/45, 147 dunums were devoted to citrus and bananas and 6,126 dunums were allocated to cereals; 7 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The villagers relied on rainfall for watering their crops, except for the citrus orchards, which they irrigated from artesian wells. In addition to cultivating crops, the villagers raised animals and poultry; the number of animals, which included sheep, goats, cows, camels, and mules, was estimated at about 4,000. The villagers also participated in the weekly Thursday market that was held in the village of al-Faluja (see al-Faluja, Gaza District), selling their produce in the towns and cities of al-Majdal, Gaza, and Jaffa.

The circumstances of the village's occupation were probably identical to those of its sister village, al-Masmiyya al-Kabira, which was occupied on 8–9 July 1948. (The villages of al-Jaladiyya [Gaza District] and al-Tina [al-Ramla District] were occupied at the same time, according to the New York Times.) Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that an operation by the Giv'ati Brigade during the Ten Days between the two truces 'precipitated the evacuation of the village.'

Al-Masmiyya al-Saghira does not seem to have been settled by Jews at the same time as its sister village (May), although both were settled during 1949. Morris states that the settlement established on village lands was initially named Masmiyya Bet, and later renamed Masmiyya Shalom. An Israeli gazetteer, however, indicates that the seed-growing farm of Mashmi'at Shalom (129129) was established in the 1950s on the land of the neighboring al-Masmiyya al-Kabira (129129). The settlement of Kefar ha-Rif (130128) was established on village land in 1956.

Virtually no trace of the village remains, and the site is overgrown with weeds, tall grasses, and a scattering of eucalyptus trees.