PLace

al-Mazar

Place
al-Mazar — المَزار
District
Samaria
Average Elevation
400 m
Subdistrict
Jenin
Distance from Jinin
9 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 270 270
1931 257 257
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 14472 29 14501
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 9013 29 9042
Built-up 9 9
9022 29 9051 (62%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 5221 5221
Plantation and Irrigable 229 229
5450 5450 (38%)
Number of Houses (1931)
62

The village stood on the flat, circular peak of Mount al-Mazar. The mountain sloped steeply on all sides except the southeast, where the land rose to join the peaks of the nearby Jaylun Mountains. AI-Mazar was linked by a dirt path to the village of Nuris below it (see Nuris, Jinin District) and by another path to two adjacent villages. It may have been named al-Mazar (Arabic for 'a shrine,' 'a place one visits') because it was the burial place for many of those who fell in the decisive battle of 'Ayn Jalut (1260), in which the Mamluks of Egypt triumphed over the Mongols. In the late nineteenth century, al-Mazar was a village built of stone on the summit of a mountain. Although the terrain was very rocky, a few olive trees were planted around the houses and a well had been dug to the southeast.

The people of al-Mazar were Muslims. They traced their origins to the al-Sa'diyyun nomads who in turn were descended from Shaykh Sa'd aI-Din al-Shaybani (d. 1224), a prominent Sufi mystic from the village of Jaba in the Golan, Syria. The village was inhabited by members of a Sufi order and was a place of Muslim pilgrimage. It was the home of Shaykh Farhan al-Sa'di, a prominent leader of the 1936 Palestinian revolt. AI-Mazar had a mosque in its eastern section.

The houses of al-Mazar occupied the peak of the mountain, surrounded by agricultural land. Agriculture, the backbone of the village economy, was based on grain, fruits, legumes, and olives. In 1944/45 a total of 5,221 dunums was allocated to cereals; 229 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, of which 68 dunums were for olives.

Israeli forces broke through to al-Mazar and occupied it after they had captured the villages of Nuris and Zir'in on 30 May 1948. The History of the War of Independence states that the unit involved was the Fourth Battalion of the Golani Brigade. Earlier, in April, Palmach headquarters had issued orders to its First Battalion 'to destroy enemy bases' in all three villages, but these orders do not seem to have been acted upon immediately. Shortly after occupying this village, Israeli forces went on to strike at the town of Jinin, which they did not succeed in holding.

There are three Israeli settlements on village lands: Perazon (179216), founded in 1953; Meytav (178216), founded in 1954; and Gan Nir, founded in 1987.

The site is overgrown with thorns and cactuses and strewn with stone rubble. None of the village houses or landmarks remains. Almond trees and cactuses grow on parts of the village lands. The hilly lands are used as grazing areas, and other parts are covered with forest (see photo).