PLace

Bashshit

Place
Bashshit — بَشِّيت
District
Lydda
Average Elevation
50 m
Subdistrict
Ramla
Distance from Al Ramla
16.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 1620 1620
1931 1125 1125
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 18538 15 18553
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 205 15 220
Built-up 58 58
263 15 278 (1%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 17558 17588
Plantation and Irrigable 651 651
Citrus and Bananas 66 66
18275 18275 (99%)
Number of Houses (1931)
333

The village was located on the central coastal plain. Wadi Bashshit, a tributary of Wadi al-Sarar, ran 0.5 km east of it. During the Crusader period the village was known as Basit. Bashshit was mentioned by at least two early Arab geographers, Yaqut al-Hamawi (d. 1228) and Ibn al-'Imad al-Hanbali (d. 1678). Al-Hamawi reported in his Mu'jam that the village was close to al-Ramla. Al-Hanbali, in his Shadharat, said that the grammarian and chronicler Jamal al-Bashshiti (d. 1417) came from the village. In the late nineteenth century, Bashshit was a village built of adobe bricks with cultivated gardens nearby. Above the village stood a three-domed shrine.

The modern village had a rectangular shape, extending in an east-west direction. Its population was predominantly Muslim. It had an elementary school, established in 1921, with an enrollment of 148 pupils by the mid-1940s. A mosque stood at the village center. It had a number of artesian wells. The principal economic activities of the residents were agriculture and animal husbandry. Grain was their chief crop but they also tended fruit trees in the orchards that bordered the village on the west and northeast. In 1944/45 they allotted 66 dunums of land to citrus and bananas and 17,558 dunums to cereals; 651 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, including 67 dunums of olives. The village contained archaeological debris and the remains of an altar. Nearby was an archaeological site, al-Nabi 'Arafat, that contained pillars, cisterns, and pottery.

In an attempt to extend its area of control, the Giv'ati Brigade occupied Bashshit on 12 or 13 May 1948, just before the end of the British Mandate. The Associated Press reported that the Haganah claimed to have captured three villages in this area on 12 May; Bashshit, one of the captured villages, was described in the Haganah statement as a 'strong Arab center.' Israeli historian Benny Morris dates its occupation one day later and claims that it was evacuated by its residents before the attack. The History of the Haganah confirms the general picture without giving a definite date, but it states, probably incorrectly, that the Alexandroni Brigade was responsible for the offensive.

There are seven Israeli settlements on village land: Newe Mivtach (125134), Meshar (126136), Kefar Mordekhay (127137), and Misgav Dov (125136), all founded in 1950; Kannot (126134), founded in 1952; and Shedema (125137) and 'Aseret (126137), founded in 1954.

Three houses and a pool remain. Two of the houses are deserted and one is occupied by an Israeli family. One of the deserted houses is box-shaped and has a flat roof and a rectangular door with a stone frame. The occupied house, a two-storey, concrete structure, has a flat roof and a rectangular entrance and windows. Cactuses and sycamore and eucalyptus trees grow on the site. The surrounding lands are cultivated by Israelis.