PLace

al-Damun

Place
al-Damun — الدامُون
District
Galilee
Subdistrict
Acre
Average Elevation
35 m
Distance from Acre
11.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 917
1944/45 1310 1310
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Jewish Public Total
1944/45 19073 687 597 20357
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 2000 485 2485
Built-up 111 111
2111 485 2596 (13%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Jewish Public Total
Cereal 16256 684 112 17052
Plantation and Irrigable 706 3 709
16962 687 112 17761 (87%)
Number of Houses (1931)
183

The village was spread across the flat top and sides of a rocky hill, on the eastern tip of the Acre plain. Secondary roads linked it to the Acre-Safad and Acre-Haifa highways. Its inhabitants traced their origins back to the al-Zaydaniyya tribe, which had emigrated from the Hijaz in the Arabian peninsula. The Muslim traveler Nasir Khusraw mentioned that he visited al-Damun in 1047, saying that he reached it from al-Birwa and visited the shrine of Dhu al-Kifl, a saintly personage mentioned in the Qur'an (sura XXI, aya 85). The Crusaders referred to it as Damar. In the nineteenth century, al-Damun was a village surrounded by olive groves; its population in 1859 was estimated at 800. It contained two small mosques.

At the beginning of this century, al-Damun's houses were clustered along one road. Starting in 1935, the villagers began to build them with reinforced concrete. The population consisted of 1,240 Muslims and 70 Christians. Al-Damun had an elementary school, established by the Ottomans in 1886, and a renowned mosque. The inhabitants drew their drinking water from springs and irrigated some of their crops from the Na'amin River. They also engaged in allied activities, especially the plaiting of mats and baskets from the esparto grass and rushes that grew on the river banks. Grain-wheat, sorghum, and barley-and olives were the chief crops, but the village was also known for its watermelons and cantaloupes. In 1944/45 a total of 16,256 dunums was planted in cereals; 706 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards, of which 484 dunums were planted with olive trees. West of the village lay a tell that contained the foundations of a wall, fortifications, and a well.

After the initial Israeli successes in central Galilee during the first stage of Operation Dekel , units of the Sheva' (Seventh) Brigade moved westwards to take control of a number of western Galilee villages. Al-Damun was among them, falling in the second stage of Operation Dekel on 15-16 July 1948, according to Israeli historian Benny Morris. However, Palestinian historian Aref al-Aref dates its capture much earlier, in late May 1948, following the fall of Acre. Morris reports that the inhabitants were demoralized by the fall of Acre and Nazareth, and that some fled during the bombardment that preceded the attack on the village. The remainder were expelled and the village itself was completely destroyed, according to both al-Aref and Morris.

There are no Israeli settlements on village land. Yas'ur built on lands belonging to the neighboring al-Birwa, uses the lands of al-Damun for agriculture. This settlement, nearly 3 km northwest of al-Damun, was established in January 1949.

The site is overgrown with thorns, cactuses, olive trees, and pines. Stone and concrete rubble is scattered around it. The structure that formerly protected the central water source (a spring) and regulated its flow stands untended and is collapsing in several places. The cemetery is extant, although the markers over a few graves are collapsing. The settlement of Yas'ur uses the land around the site, particularly the lands in the Acre valley, for agricultural purposes.