Ras Abu 'Ammar

Ras Abu 'Ammar — راس أبو عَمّار
Average Elevation
625 m
Distance from Jerusalem
14 km
Year Arab Total
1931 * 488 488
1944/45 620 620
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 8313 29 8342
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Built-up 40 40
Non-Cultivable 4557 29 4586
4597 29 4626 (55%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Plantation and Irrigable 925 925
Cereal 2791 2791
3716 3716 (45%)
Number of Houses (1931)

The village stood on an elongated hill that stretched from southeast to northwest, surrounded on three sides by the deep Wadi al-Sarar that wound its way westward. It was also dominated by mountains on all sides, and was less than 1 km south of the Jerusalem−Jaffa railway line. A secondary road linked Ras Abu 'Ammar to a highway that ran south of it and led to Bethlehem. In the late nineteenth century, Ras Abu 'Ammar was described as a village built of stone on a small ridge, situated above an 'open and rather flat' valley in which the villagers planted olive trees. The village had a rectangular plan and most of its houses were built of stone. A main street, running in a northwest−southeast direction, divided the site into two sections. During the British Mandate, new construction extended along roads connecting it to the villages of al-Qabu and 'Aqqur in the east and north, and along the highway in the south. The village had an elementary school and a few small shops in its center. The villagers, who were Muslim, maintained more than one shrine for local sages, including one for a Shaykh Abu 'Ammar. They relied on springs for their drinking water and irrigation.

The village lands were utilized both for agriculture and pasture. Agriculture was based on rainfed grain, vegetables, and fruit trees, including olive trees (which covered 100 dunums) and grape vines. Irrigation of the latter was made possible by spring water that flowed from the mountain top and accumulated in ponds. In 1944/45 a total of 2,791 dunums was allocated to cereals; 925 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The nearby Khirbat Kafr Sum (158126) was inhabited during the Crusader period and also during the sixteenth century.

The village probably fell to units of the Israeli army's Har'el Brigade in the course of Operation Ha-Har (see 'Allar, Jerusalem sub-disctrict). Israeli historian Benny Morris indicates that the village fell on 21 October 1948, as a result of a direct military assault.

Israel established the settlement of Tzur Hadassa (159125) on village lands in 1960, south of the village site.

The stone rubble of the village houses is strewn across the site (see photos). Wild vegetation grows among the debris, in addition to almond, olive, and carob trees. Cactuses grow on the southeastern and southwestern sides of the site; a two-room stone building that used to be the schoolhouse still stands to the southeast.