PLace

Abu al-Fadl

Place
Abu al-Fadl — أبو الفَضْل
Known also as: 'Arab al-Satariyya
District
Lydda
Subdistrict
Ramla
Average Elevation
75 m
Distance from Al Ramla
4 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 1565
1944/45 510 510
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 2717 153 2870
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 153 153
Built-up 42 42
42 153 195 (7%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 1035 1035
Plantation and Irrigable 822 822
Citrus and Bananas 818 818
2675 2675 (93%)

The village was situated in a flat area on the central coastal plain, close to Lydda and Ramla. The Rafah-Haifa railway line ran through its southern part. The settled nomads who lived there originally had come from nearby Khan Yunis, and were known as the 'Arab Abu al-Fadl or al-Sutariyya. The entire population of Abu al-Fadl was Muslim, and the houses were spread out in the middle of the farmland. This land actually belonged to the Islamic waqf (endowment) of al-Fadl ibn al-'Abbas, who may have been a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. In all likelihood the village was named after him.

Abu al-Fadl was classified by the Palestine Index Gazetteer as a hamlet. The residents worked mainly in rainfed and irrigated agriculture, growing citrus, olives, vegetables, and grain. They also engaged in animal husbandry. In 1944/45 they devoted a total of 818 dunums to citrus and bananas and allotted 1,035 dunums to cereals; 822 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards.

Israeli historian Benny Morris indicates that the villagers were dispersed during Operation Barak, influenced by the fall of a neighboring town, perhaps Bir Salim. This occurred on 9 May 1948, at the beginning of Barak, as the Giv'ati Brigade 'cleared' the coastal area west of Ramla and Lydda. However, the village probably was occupied two months later; a Haganah map of Operation Dani implies that Abu al-Fadl was one of the villages overrun in July 1948, during that offensive. Given the circumstantial evidence from the History of the War of Independence, Abu al-Fadl probably was occupied on 12-13 July 1948. If the Israeli forces' conduct at Abu al-Fadl resembled that at nearby Lydda, any remaining villagers would have been expelled eastwards.

In 1949, Abu al-Fadl was erased from the map with the establishment of the settlement of Sitriyya (135144). While its original location is not known, it is now located about 5 km south of the village site. The settlement of Talmey Menashe (136150), founded in May 1953, is on village lands. It has been partly absorbed into the suburbs of Rishon le-Tziyyon (131152) and has lost most of its distinctive identity. Two other settlements, which are not on village land but are close to the site, are Be'er Ya'aqov (134150), established in 1907 about 1 km to the west, and Nir Tzevi (136151), established in 1954 on the lands of Sarafand al-'Amar, about 1 km to the north.

Of the original village houses, no more than five still stand, deserted and nearly collapsing. One of these houses, located at the edge of a citrus grove, is made of cement blocks, with rectangular doors and windows and a tiled, sloping roof. Another house, composed of three units, is located in the middle of a citrus grove. A few cypress trees, castor-oil (ricinus) plants, and cactuses grow on the site, and Israeli buildings have been constructed nearby. The surrounding lands are cultivated by Israelis.