PLace

Dimra

Place
Dimra — دِمْرَة
District
Gaza
Average Elevation
50 m
Subdistrict
Gaza
Distance from Gaza
12 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 520 520
1931 324 324
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 8257 235 8492
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 343 235 578
Built-up 18 18
361 235 596 (7%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 7412 7412
Plantation and Irrigable 388 388
Citrus and Bananas 96 96
7896 7896 (93%)
Number of Houses (1931)
100

The village stood on the southern coastal plain, on a site that had distinctive, red-brown soil. It was linked by a short secondary road to the main coastal highway and by other secondary roads to neighboring villages. The coastal railway line passed a short distance to the west of it. Dimra appears to have been occupied in the twelfth century; ruins identified as Crusader in origin have been noted in the village. Al-Qalqashandi, an encyclopedic Arab scholar who died in AD. 1418 wrote that Dimra was the home of the Bani Jabir, an Arab tribe. The American biblical scholar Edward Robinson reported passing by Dimra in 1838; he said it was situated near the bend of a valley. The population of the village was Muslim. The center of the village was located at the perpendicular intersection of two main streets. The village expanded during the Mandate period, and houses were built eastward and southward along the roads that led to other villages. Dimra had an elementary school that was opened in 1946 with an initial enrollment of forty-seven students. Its agricultural land was often threatened by the movement of coastal sand dunes. Wells outside the village of depths of 20 to 25 m were found mainly at the bottoms of gullies that ran into Wadi al-Hasi, the winter of which floods fed the underground aquifers. These wells provided irrigation water for cultivation. In 1944/45 a total of 96 dunums was devoted to citrus and bananas and 7,412 dunums were allocated to cereals; 388 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The village contained the foundations of buildings, a cemetery, columns, and severed column capitals. Two other ruins with a variety of relics lay on its land.

As early as 16 February, the Jaffa-based Palestinian daily Filastin reported that a Jewish convoy drove through Dimra, firing at villagers. The villagers reportedly returned the fire. On 31 May, the inhabitants of a nearby village, Huj, were expelled to Dimra. Israeli historian Benny Morris states that they were repeatedly prevented from returning, indicating that they remained in Dimra.

It is difficult to determine the exact date of occupation for Dimra, but it was probably occupied in the later stages of the Israeli army's Operation Yo'av in October–November 1948. It may have been seized on 28 October, with the withdrawal of Egyptian forces along the coastal road, or on 4–5 November, in the wake of the occupation of al-Majdal.

On 22 October, the New York Times correspondent reported on the situation on the southern front. Arab village after village lay deserted,' he wrote, 'some battered beyond repair and still burning where the Egyptians had held out. From all, however, whether destroyed or not, the Arabs had fled to the coastal strip still in Egyptian hands.'

The settlement of Erez was founded in 1949 on part of the village site.

Most of the village site is fenced in and used as a pasture. A crumbling stone water basin, concrete rubble from houses, and a destroyed well are nearly all that remain. A watering trough for cows has been placed on what appears to be a concrete fragment from a former house. The well is topped with an old, nonoperating water pump. More debris lies in a wooded portion of the site, near a Jewish cemetery. Some cactuses that formerly served as fences, as well as shrubs and thorny plants, grow on the adjacent lands.