PLace

Jusayr

Place
Jusayr — جُسَيْر
District
Gaza
Average Elevation
100 m
Subdistrict
Gaza
Distance from Gaza
35 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 1180 1180
1931 839 839
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 12015 346 12361
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 109 335 444
Built-up 54 54
163 335 498 (4%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Cereal 11852 11 11863
11852 11 11863 (96%)
Number of Houses (1931)
246

The village stood on flat land on the southern coastal plain, between two bridges that crossed Wadi al-Jira. In 1596, Jusayr was a village in the nahiya of Gaza (liwa' of Gaza) with a population of 330. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, and fruits, as well as on other types of produce and property, such as goats, beehives, and vineyards. In the late nineteenth century, the village of Jusayr was situated on flat ground and laid out along a northwest-southeast axis. The elders reported that their village served as a stop for pilgrims going to Mecca. The residents were Muslims, and the village had its own mosque and an elementary school that was founded in 1937. Enrollment reached seventy-four students in the mid-1940s. For the most part, however, the community relied on the services in al-Faluja, 4 km to the southeast. A 32-m-deep well supplied Jusayr with water for domestic consumption. While some villagers wove rugs and carpets, the majority worked in agriculture. Their most important crop was grain, but they also cultivated fruit. Orchards bordered Jusayr on its northeast and southeast sides. In 1944/45 a total of 11,852 dunums was allotted to cereals.

According to Israeli sources, the village was occupied in the latter stages of an operation launched by the Israeli army's Giv'ati Brigade during the second week of July 1948. As the first truce of the war ended, Giv'ati commander Shim'on Avidan issued orders to break through Egyptian lines (in order to establish a link with the Negev) and to expel civilians from the area occupied. His forces did not manage to link the Negev with the Israeli-held coast, but they did succeed in seizing an arc of territory south of al-Ramla and parallel to the coast, driving over 20,000 people from their villages. Jusayr was one of the southernmost villages to be occupied in the operation; it probably was not completely occupied until 17 –18 July. The Israeli army later claimed that with the start of the operation and the occupation of Tall al-Safi, morale was undermined in the whole area and the villagers fled with the approach of the Giv'ati units.

However, two Egyptian sources claim that the village was taken by Israeli forces one month earlier, during the first truce of the war. One of these, the late Egyptian president Gamal 'Abd al-Nasir, recalled in his memoirs that under cover of the truce the enemy 'hoped to seize dominating sites so that when the truce ended he could commence his operations from positions that were most advantageous….' Regarding this and the attack on a handful of other villages ('lbdis, 'Asluj, Julis) attacked in violation of the truce, 'Abd al-Nasir wrote that 'there was no indication that our High Command was aware of what was really going on.'

Two settlements have been established on village lands: Menucha (128118) in 1953 and Wardon (129119) in 1968. These settlements also occupy lands that once belonged to the neighboring village of Summil.

One concrete, flat-roofed house still stands in the middle of a peach orchard. Its front facade has two rectangular windows and a rectangular entrance in the middle. The debris of houses among tall grasses and weeds is visible. A garbage dump is now located on the site, as well as buildings that belong to an Israeli settlement. The surrounding lands are cultivated.