PLace

'Arab Suqrir

Place
'Arab Suqrir — عَرَب صُقْرِير
Known also as: 'Arab Abu Suwayrih
District
Gaza
Average Elevation
25 m
Subdistrict
Gaza
Distance from Gaza
38 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 390 390
1931 530 530
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 12270 27954 40224
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 966 22654 23620
966 22654 23620 (59%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Cereal 10232 5300 15532
Plantation and Irrigable 489 489
Citrus and Bananas 583 583
11304 5300 16604 (41%)

The village was situated in a flat area on the coastal plain northeast of Isdud. Its name may have been a corruption of the Canaanite name Shakrun. In 1596, Arab Suqrir was a village in the nahiya of Gaza (liwa' of Gaza), with a population of fifty-five. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, and sesame, as well as on other types of produce, such as goats and beehives. The original inhabitants of Arab Suqrir were Muslim nomads who gradually settled on the site, built stone houses, and became farmers. In 1944/45 a total of 583 dunums of their land was devoted to citrus and bananas and 10,232 dunums were allotted to cereals; 489 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.

Arab Suqrir was the subject of the first Haganah operational proposal to level a village, made on 11 January 1948. An intelligence report of that date recommends: 'The village should be destroyed completely and some males from the same village should be murdered.' Israeli historian Benny Morris states that the report was issued as a result of the 'murder on 9 January of 11 Haganah scouts.' But press accounts of the time tell a different story. The New York Times quoted police sources as saying that a party of Jews from nearby Yavne attacked 'Wadi Sukrayr' with gunfire on 9 January, adding that the police arrived on the scene and counterattacked. Eight Arabs and twelve Jews were reported killed, the 'most costly engagement' of the day. The Jaffa-based newspaper Filastin also reported an attack on the village on 9 January. Morris does not mention whether the 'retaliatory' raid was ever carried out, but an Associated Press dispatch on 25 January stated that members of the Haganah had bombed fifteen or twenty houses in an Arab village near Yibna. The report gave no casualty figures, but quoted informants as saying that the dawn bombing was designed to avenge attacks on Jewish convoys.

The coastal strip where the village is located probably came under Haganah control at the same time as neighboring Bashshit, around 10 May 1948. This whole area was occupied by the Haganah's Giv'ati Brigade as it extended its control southwards and westwards during Operation Barak . But Morris writes that the village was not physically destroyed until 24–28 August, during Operation Nikayon ('Cleansing'), also conducted by the Giv'ati Brigade. The Brigade made use of the second truce of the war 'to expel all unarmed [persons] from [the area],' according to the operational orders. A Giv'ati intelligence officer claimed that most inhabitants had left by the time the orders were implemented, so the units blew up stone houses and burned huts, and 'ten Arabs who tried to escape were killed.'

Two settlements are located on village lands: Nir Gallim, established in 1949, and Ashdod, established in 1955. Bene Darom, established in 1949, is close by to the east, on lands that belonged to the city of Isdud.

The site is overgrown with weeds, a few cactuses, and trees. Two houses remain standing. One of them is in a citrus grove and has a concrete frame and cinder block walls. On the top of its flat roof there is an 'illiyya (a single master bedroom or guest room on the top floor, usually found in the houses of wealthier villagers as a symbol of wealth and prestige ). A ladder leans against the dilapidated side wall.