PLace

Qira

Place
Qira — قِيرَة
Known also as: Qira wa Qamun
District
Haifa
Average Elevation
200 m
Subdistrict
Haifa
Distance from Haifa
23 km
Population
Year Arab Jews Total
1944/45 * 410 280 690
1931 86
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 * 711 13265 790 14766
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total) *
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable * 7 1793 783 2583
Built-up ** 342
7 2135 783 2925 (20%)
Cultivable (Total) **
Use Jewish Public Total
Cereal * 10601 7 10608
Plantation and Irrigable ** 528 528
Citrus and Bananas *** 1 1
11130 7 11137 (75%)
Number of Houses (1931)
21

The village was situated on the western, rocky bank of Wadi Qira and overlooked the plain of Marj ibn 'Amir. A closely related community, Tall Qamun (160230), lay only 2 km to the northeast, and because the two were so closely associated, some people in the region spoke of them as 'Qira wa Qamun,' (Qira and Qamun). The al-Muqatta' River, which was 4 km to the north, formed the northern border of Qira's lands. Qamun was number 113 in the list of towns conquered by the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose Ill in 1468 B.C. It was probably the site of the royal Canaanite city of Yokneam, which fell to Joshua (Joshua 12:22), and the Roman city of Cimona. The Crusaders built the castle of Caymont on the tell where Qamun stood.

Qira (wa Qamun), classified as a hamlet by the Mandate-era Palestine Index Gazetteer, had a square layout; its houses were made either of cement or of stone and mud. Bedouin pitched their tents in Qira during the sedentary months of their migratory cycle. Its population was Muslim, and it had several springs in various parts of its lands. Its agricultural economy was based on grain, which was planted on 261 dunums in 1944/45. The villagers also planted vegetables on small plots of land and earned extra income from livestock breeding. From the archaeological evidence on the surface of the site, it appears that Qira wa Qamun was built over an earlier settlement. Surveys of the region have produced evidence of at least nineteen archaeological sites in the area east of the village. The most important of these are Tall Qiri (161227) and Tall Qamun (160230), both of which were excavated by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The people of Qira wa Qamun were targeted for eviction by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in March 1948, on the grounds that they were tenant farmers working on Jewish owned lands. A top official in the JNF's Lands Department, Yosef Weitz, told a Haganah intelligence officer to 'advise' the inhabitants of the village to leave. When they did, Weitz and other officials in the JNF decided to raze their homes and destroy their crops, later offering them compensation for the losses. Israeli historian Benny Morris says that this took place in late March, but says nothing about the destination of the villagers or the fate of the village lands.

The settlement of Yoqne'am (161228) was established in 1935 on what were traditionally village lands, northeast of the village site. By 1945, the settlers owned all the lands of the village. An extension of the settlement, Yoqne'am 'Illit (160229), was established in 1950. Kibbutz ha-Zore'a (161227) was established in 1936 on the border between Qira wa Qamun's lands and those of Abu Zurayq.

Rubble from village homes can be seen among the bushes and pine trees that have been planted on the village site. A spring still flows through a rock-cut channel. The area around it has been turned into an Israeli park. Almond, pomegranate, and fig trees grow on the site, and pine trees cover the hilly lands surrounding it. The other lands are planted in grain.