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כפר ג'ורה.jpg
part of the former village site, in 2015.
al-Jura is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic الجورة
Name meaning the Hollow[1]
Subdistrict Gaza
Coordinates 31°39′54″N 34°33′15″E / 31.66500°N 34.55417°E / 31.66500; 34.55417Coordinates: 31°39′54″N 34°33′15″E / 31.66500°N 34.55417°E / 31.66500; 34.55417
Palestine grid 107/119
Population 2,420[2][3] (1945)
Area 12,224[3] dunams
Date of depopulation November 4–5, 1948[4]
Cause(s) of depopulation Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Ashkelon[5]

Al-Jura (Arabic: الجورة‎) was a Palestinian village that was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, located approximately two kilometers west of Majdal (both within the boundaries of present-day Ashkelon, Israel). In 1945, the village had a population of approximately 2,420 mostly Muslim inhabitants. Though defended by the Egyptian Army, al-Jura was nevertheless captured by Israel's Givati Brigade in a November 4, 1948, offensive as part of Operation Yoav.

A 1998 estimate of the population of refugees today who are descendants of those who fled al-Jura, placed the figure at 17,000. The founder and spiritual leader of the Hamas organization Ahmed Yassin was born in al-Jura.


Byzantine ceramics have been found here, together with coins dating to the seventh century CE.[6]

Ottoman era[edit]

In the 1596 Ottoman tax records, Al-Jura was located in the nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza, part of Sanjak of Gaza, named Jawrit al-Hajja. It had 46 Muslim households, an estimated population of 253; who paid a total of 3,400 akçe in taxes.[7]

The Syrian Sufi teacher and traveller Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi (1688-1748/9) visited Al-Jura in the first half of the eighteenth century, before leaving for Hamama.[8]

In 1838, Edward Robinson noted el-Jurah as a Muslim village, located in the Gaza district.[9]

In 1863 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village, which he called Djoura, and found it to have three hundred inhabitants,[10] while an Ottoman village list from about 1870 found that the village had a population of 340, in a total of 109 houses, though the population count included men, only.[11][12]

In the late nineteenth century, the village of Al-Jura was situated on flat ground at the outskirts of Ascalon.[13] It was rectangular in shape and the residents were Muslim. They had a mosque and a school which was founded in 1919.[8]

British Mandate era[edit]

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, Jura had a population of 1,326 inhabitants, all Muslims,[14] increasing in the 1931 census to 1,754, consisting of 1752 Muslims and 2 Christians, in a total of 396 houses.[15]

In the 1945 statistics El Jura had a population of 2,420 Muslims,[2] with a total of 12,224 dunams of land, according to an official land and population survey.[3] Of this, 481 dunams were used for citrus and bananas, 7,192 for plantations and irrigable land, 2,965 for cereals,[16] while 45 dunams were built-up land.[17]

By the 1940s the school had 206 students.[8]

1948 War[edit]

At the end of November 1948, Coastal Plain District troops carried out sweeps of the villages around and to the south of Majdal. Al-Jura was one of the villages named in the orders to the IDF battalions and engineers platoon, that the villagers were to be expelled to Gaza, and the IDF troops were "to prevent their return by destroying their villages." The path leading to the village was to be mined. The IDF troops were ordered to carry out the operation "with determination, accuracy and energy".[18] The operation took place on 30 November. The troops found "not a living soul" in Al-Jura. However, the destruction of the villages was not completed immediately due to the dampness of the houses and the insufficient amount of explosives.[19]

In 1992, the village site was described: "Only one of the village houses has been spared; thorny plants grow on the parts of the site not built over by Ashqelon."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 360
  2. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 31
  3. ^ a b c Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 46
  4. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xix, village #307, Also gives the cause for depopulation
  5. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 117
  6. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 872
  7. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 150. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 116
  8. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p. 116.
  9. ^ Robinson and Smith, vol 3, 2nd appendix, p. 118
  10. ^ Guérin, 1869, p. 134
  11. ^ Socin, 1879, p. 153 Also noted it in the Gaza district, northeast of Askalon
  12. ^ Hartmann, 1883, p. 130, also noted 109 houses
  13. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1883, SWP III, p. 236. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 116
  14. ^ Barron, 1923, Table V, Sub-district of Gaza, p. 8
  15. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 4
  16. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 87
  17. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 137
  18. ^ Coastal Plain District HQ to battalions 151 and ´1 Volunteers`, etc., 19:55 hours, 25 Nov. 1948, IDFA (=Israeli Defence Forces and Defence Ministry Archive) 6308\49\\141. Cited in Morris, 2004, p. 517
  19. ^ Coastal Plain HQ to Southern Front\Operations, 30 Nov. 1948, IDFA 1978\50\\1; and Southern Front\Operations to General Staff Divisions, 2. Dec. 1948, IDFA 922\75\\1025. Cited in Morris, 2004, p. 518


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