PLace

Hatta

Place
Hatta — حَتّا
District
Gaza
Average Elevation
100 m
Subdistrict
Gaza
Distance from Gaza
31 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 970 970
1931 646 646
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 5193 112 5305
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 36 112 148
Built-up 45 45
81 112 193 (4%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 5108 5108
Plantation and Irrigable 4 4
5112 5112 (96%)
Number of Houses (1931)
140

The village was situated in a flat area on the southern coastal plain. It was probably named after the Arab tribe of al-Hut, originally from Najd (in central Arabia), which camped near the site at the end of the fifth century A.D. The Arab geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi (d. 1228) referred to it as Hattawa and said it was the home of the Islamic scholar Amru al-Hattawi.

In 1838 the biblical scholar Edward Robinson passed by the village and saw that it was built of adobe brick. Later in the nineteenth century, the village of Hatta was surrounded by gardens, some of which contained a few tamarisk trees. During the Mandate, the British built a military base between Hatta and al-Faluja, 2 km to the south.

The village was laid out in a grid with an overall rectangular plan, and its houses were built of adobe brick. Hatta's population consisted of Muslims, who maintained a village mosque. Hatta had an elementary school, opened in 1923, which 73 students attended by the mid-1940s. The village fell within the jurisdiction of al-Faluja, on which it relied for health, administrative, and commercial services. The primary economic activity of the inhabitants was rainfed agriculture; they grew grain, fruit trees, and vegetables. In 1944/45 a total of 5,108 dunums was allotted to cereals; 4 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. In addition to cultivating crops, some people raised sheep. Hatta was constructed on top of an archaeological site. Two other archaeological sites, a tell and a khirba, were located west and north of the village. They contained, among other things, the foundations of buildings, a polygon-shaped column, the capital of a column, and fragments of pottery.

Hatta was occupied during the Giv'ati Brigade's operations on the southern front, in the ten-day period between the two truces (8–18 July 1948). Israeli historian Benny Morris dates its occupation slightly earlier, on 14–15 July. The second major offensive on this front was launched on 17–18 July, just before the second truce was to take effect; the offensive failed to achieve a breakthrough towards the Negev but succeeded in taking a few important positions from the Egyptian army, including Hatta. The History of the War of Independence account reads as follows: 'Hatta was stormed by a platoon of Battalion 3/Givati after a concentrated and brief burst of fire, and the Egyptians fled from it.' The operational orders called for the expulsion of civilians, ostensibly 'to prevent enemy infiltration.' The combined effect of the operations on the southern front was to extend the area of Israeli control southwards and eastwards and to drive over 20,000 people from at least sixteen villages. Renewed military activity around Hatta took place at the beginning of the second truce of the war. The New York Times correspondent reported on 30 July that there had been a 'rather serious engagement between Hatta and Iraq al Manshiya.' The skirmish reportedly began when an Israeli convoy tried to reach colonies in the Hatta–Karatiyya area. The Egyptians later filed a complaint of a truce violation but the United Nations commission confirmed that the village had been occupied by the Israelis prior to the truce.

In August 1948, a settlement named Rehava was slated to be built on the site of the village, but the plan does not appear to have been implemented, at least not within the following year. The settlement of Zavdi'el was established in 1950 on village lands, and AIumma  was founded in 1965. Qomemiyyut, although not on village land, is close by, to the northwest, as is Rewacha, founded in 1953 to the west of the site, on the lands of Karatiyya.

A small portion of the site is covered by a forest, planted by Israelis. The debris of houses are scattered under the trees. Sycamore trees and cactuses also grow on the site. The surrounding lands are cultivated. The British-built military airport is still in use.