Operation An-Far was an offensive launched by the Giv'ati Brigade's First Battalion during the Ten Days between the two truces (8–18 July 1948) on the southern front. It was designed to widen the Giv'ati Brigade's area of control southwards and eastwards, to link the Israeli-held coast with the Jewish settlements in the Negev, and to expel civilians from the occupied area. The push south of Ramla toward the Negev was partially blocked by Egyptian forces, but the operation drove out the population of some sixteen villages located near the intersection of the Gaza, Hebron, and Ramla districts. More than 20,000 inhabitants were driven out of the area south of Ramla, between the coast and the Hebron hills.
The orders of the Giv'ati Brigade's First Battalion called for the expulsion of civilians from the area occupied, but Giv'ati sources later claimed that inhabitants of the area fled before the advancing columns reached their villages. The History of the War of Independence mentions that the village of Tall al-Turmus (Gaza District) was occupied during one of "several clearing operations in the rear-guard of the brigade to eliminate the threat and danger posed by the presence of Arab civilian concentrations at the rear of the front." Israeli historian Benny Morris quotes the commander of the Giv'ati Brigade, Shim'on Avidan, as ordering his First Battalion "to expel the refugees encamped in the [Tall al-Safi] area [in Hebron District], in order to prevent enemy infiltration from the east to this important position." Yet Morris insists that there were no expulsions and that villagers fled on their own as Israeli columns advanced. Those in the area of al-Masmiyya al-Kabira (Gaza District) were driven over a strip of Israeli-held territory in the direction of Gaza; the rest went east towards Hebron.
The New York Times. 12 July 1948.
Israeli Ministry of Defense. Toldot Milchemet ha-Qomemiyyut [The History of the War of Independence]. Tel Aviv: Marakhot, 1959, pp. 270-71.
Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem 1947-1949. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978, pp. 212-13.