PLace

al-Samra

Place
al-Samra — السَمْرا
Known also as: Khirbat al-Samra
District
Galilee
Average Elevation
-200 m
Subdistrict
Tiberias
Distance from Tiberias
10 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 290
1931 237
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 * 6912 1708 3943 12563
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total) *
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable * 10 3943 3953
Built-up ** 23
33 3943 3976 (32%)
Cultivable (Total) **
Use Arab Jewish Total
Cereal * 6828 1708 8536
Plantation and Irrigable ** 21 21
Citrus and Bananas *** 30 30
6879 1708 8587 (68%)
Number of Houses (1931)
50

The village stood on flat terrain on the southeastern shore of Lake Tiberias, 3 km west of the Syrian-Palestinian border. It was dominated on the east by the Golan Heights and was linked to the closest village (Samakh) by a secondary road. The village plan was rectangular, extending along the lake in a north-south direction. In the early nineteenth century, the Swiss traveler Burckhardt noted its ancient buildings and mentioned that it was the only inhabited village on the east side of Lake Tiberias. The American biblical scholar Edward Robinson was told that al-Samra lay on the eastern shore of Lake Tiberias. The people of al-Samra were predominantly Muslim and worshipped in a mosque that stood in the village center. Their houses were built of adobe and stone.

Agriculture was the main occupation of the residents. Some 6,825 dunums were allocated to cereals in 1944/45; 21 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The village contained ancient ruins, including the foundations of buildings and Roman burial grounds. Archaeological evidence of the site's antiquity, found on the edge of the village, included a Roman burial ground. Sites in the vicinity included Khirbat al-Tawafiq (209234) and Khirbat Duwayraban (210239). Some 1.5 km east of the village was an Ottoman memorial for two Ottoman pilots who were killed in a plane crash in that area in 1913 while on a trip from Istanbul to Cairo.

As a result of the fall of Tiberias, al-Samra was evacuated on 21 April 1948, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris. However, some of the villagers must have remained; Morris notes that the residents of al-Samra and other villages were subjected to a concerted campaign between 1949 and 1956 to encourage their departure. Located in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the village was protected by the provisions of the armistice agreement. However, by using a combination of 'economic and police pressure,' the Israeli authorities succeeded in forcing all of the villagers in the DMZ to leave by 1956. Most became refugees in Syria, but some eventually made their way to the village of Sha'b near Acre.

As early as 3 May 1948, Jewish settlers from the area had urged the Jewish National Fund to establish a settlement at al-Samra. Morris quotes them as saying that the opportunity created by the depopulation of Arabs in the area was not to be missed.

The settlement of ha-'On (208237) was established north of the village site in 1949.

Nothing remains of the village houses. A tourist resort, which consists of a few cabins and small houses, has been established on part of the village site. Other parts of the site are covered with trees. The surrounding land is cultivated by Israelis.