PLace

al-Nuqayb

Place
al-Nuqayb — النُقَيْب
Known also as: al-Naqib
District
Galilee
Average Elevation
-200 m
Subdistrict
Tiberias
Distance from Tiberias
10 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 287
1931 320 740
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 967 9851 2192 13010
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Total
6105 (47%)
Number of Houses (1931)
60

The village was located on the eastern shore of Lake Tiberias in a relatively flat area, dominated by the Golan Heights; the city of Tiberias could be seen across the lake, in the west. Wadi al-Muzaffar flowed into the lake 1 km to the north of the site, and 3 km to the north was the deep Wadi Samakh. There were also two hot springs north of the village. To the east of the village was the fortress of Qal'at al-Hisn (212242), which was probably built on the site of the ancient city of Hippos. The Greek name for this city meant 'livestock' (which was also the meaning of the city's alternative, Aramaic name, Susitha). Hippos was one of the cities of the Decapolis, or league of ten Syrian-Greek cities, in the Roman and Byzantine periods. The fortress contained ruins of the ancient city, such as walls, roads, a church, other buildings, cisterns, and burial grounds. During the 1880s all 13,000 dunums of the lands of al-Nuqayb were purchased by Baha' Allah, the leader of the Babi religious sect (which later became the Baha'i religion; see al-Manshiyya, Acre District). The people of al-Nuqayb continued to farm their lands as tenants, however, until at least the 1920s, when the Baha'is sold all but 200 dunums of the land; most of it was sold to the JNF.

Modern al-Nuqayb was 1.5 km from the Syrian-Palestinian border. It had a rectangular outline, with its houses dispersed along the coast of the lake. It was named after its inhabitants, the 'Arab al-Nuqayb, who were of Bedouin stock. Some of the villagers still lived in tents but others had built houses of stone and mud, stone and cement, or concrete. They were predominantly Muslim, although in 1931 six people belonging to the Baha'i sect lived in the village. Their main economic activities were livestock breeding and cultivating grain and vegetables. In 1944/45 a total of 797 dunums was allotted to cereals; 131 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Archaeological sites around al-Nuqayb included four khirbas.

Foreign press accounts of the entry of Syrian forces into Palestine on 15 May 1948 state that al-Nuqayb was one of the villages they attempted to control. The New York Times wrote that Syrian troops 'encircled, shelled and aerially bombed' al-Nuqayb. This indicates that Haganah forces were already in control of the village, but it is not clear what happened to the village during the rest of the war.

Having remained in the village until the end of the war, the people of al-Nuqayb were 'induced to leave' by the Israeli authorities between 1949 and 1956. According to the terms of the armistice agreement, the village fell within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along the Israeli-Syrian border. As such, the villagers were formally protected by the provisions of the agreement, but 'for military, economic and agricultural reasons' the Israeli government wanted them (as well as the inhabitants of six other villages in the DMZ) to leave. It is not entirely clear how this aim was achieved, but Israeli historian Benny Morris mentions 'economic and police pressure and 'petty persecution.'' Most residents of these villages were moved to Syria, although some were 'transferred' to the Palestinian village of Sha'b, near Acre.

Zionist immigrants from the Baltic region and central and eastern Europe established the Kibbutz of 'En Gev (210243) on village lands, about 1.5 km south of the village site, in 1937.

The site is fenced in and covered with thorny grass and various kinds of trees, such as Christ's-thorn trees. Piles of stones and the remains of walls can be seen. Part of the surrounding land is cultivated by the nearby settlement, and the remainder is used as a grazing area by Israelis.