PLace

Sufla

Place
Sufla — سُفْلى
District
Jerusalem
Average Elevation
565 m
Subdistrict
Jerusalem
Distance from Jerusalem
18.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1944/45 60 60
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 714 1347 2061
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 311 1347 1658
Built-up 3 3
314 1347 1661 (81%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 400 400
400 400 (19%)
Number of Houses (1931)
10

The village stood on a plateau that stretched out in an east−west direction. A secondary road linked it to a highway that ran between Bayt Jibrin (an important village in the Hebron district) and the Jerusalem−Jaffa highway. A number of paths also connected it with the area's other villages. Sufla contained archaeological evidence of a Crusader presence. In the late nineteenth century, Sufla was situated on a narrow ridge and had a spring to the southeast. The village was classified as a hamlet in the Mandate-era Palestine Index Gazetteer, and was rectangular in shape. Most of its houses were built of stone, and some of them had a cave-like design. When new houses were constructed, the village expanded along a road that led to the nearby village of Jarash. The people of Sufla were Muslims and maintained a shrine for a local shaykh (a Shaykh Mu'annis) on the western side of the village. They obtained water for domestic use from two springs in the southeast and northeast. Their lands were watered by rainfall, and were planted in grain, fruit trees, olive trees, and grapes; olive trees covered 24 dunums. In 1944/45 a total of 400 dunums was allocated to cereals. Parts of the village lands were used as grazing areas.

In the second half of October 1948, Israeli forces launched Operation ha-Har to capture a string of villages on the southern front (see 'Allar, Jerusalem District). Sufla was one of the villages captured in the beginning of the operation by the Sixth Battalion of the Har'el Brigade, which seized the village during either the night of 18−19 October or the following night. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, 'Most of the population [of these villages fled southwards, towards Bethlehem and the Hebron hills.' Morris also cites evidence of expulsions at some villages in the area.

There are no Israeli settlements on village lands.

Stone rubble from houses is scattered throughout the site, which has become an open grazing area. Cave-like structures, formerly used as dwellings, also are present, and cactuses grow among the ruins and rubble. The village cemetery lies to the east of the site, and almond and olive groves cover the areas to the west and north.