PLace

al-Ghubayya al-Fawqa

Place
al-Ghubayya al-Fawqa — الغُبَيَّة الفَوْقا
District
Haifa
Subdistrict
Haifa
Average Elevation
200 m
Distance from Haifa
28 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 * 200 200
1944/45 ** 1130 1130
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 * 11607 532 12139
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total) *
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable * 515 532 1047
515 532 1047 (9%)
Cultivable (Total) **
Use Arab Total
Cereal * 10883 10883
Plantation and Irrigable ** 209 209
11092 11092 (91%)
Number of Houses (1931)
38
*

The village was one of a group of three villages known collectively as al-Ghubayyat (the 'little forests'), located on the eastern slopes of the bilad al-rawha' (the 'fragrant country'; see Daliyat al-Rawha', Haifa sub-disctrict); the other two villages were al-Ghubayya al-Tahta and al-Naghnaghiyya. It was located on a hill and extended down the slopes that paralleled the Haifa-Jenin highway, which ran immediately northeast of the village. The second part of its name meant 'upper' in Arabic; this served to distinguish it from its 'lower' counterpart, al-Ghubayya al-Tahta. In 1596, al-Ghubayya al-Fawqa was a village in the nahiya of Shafa (liwa' of Lajjun) with a population of 215. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat and barley, as well as on other types of produce, such as goats, beehives, and water buffalos.

Al-Ghubayya al-Fawqa's population was Muslim. Its houses were made of cement and mud and were dispersed across the slopes. The three villages shared an elementary school that was built about 1888, during Ottoman rule; it was closed under the Mandate, at which time the village was classified as a hamlet by the Palestine Index Gazetteer. AI-Ghubayya al-Fawqa had a mosque and a shrine for a Muslim sage, al-Shaykh Ahmad. Its cemetery was located on a hill in the upper part of the village. The three villages had access to a number of water sources including wadis, springs, and the al-Muqatta' River. The economies of these three villages were based on animal husbandry and agriculture, with grain being the chief crop. In 1944/45 a total of 10,883 dunums of the lands of the three villages was allotted to cereals; 209 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. An unexcavated archaeological site, Tall al-Asmar, lay some 300 m southwest of the village.

One of the first villages to be captured by the Haganah following the battle of Mishrnar ha-Emeq, al-Ghubayya al-Fawqa changed hands several times in the first half of April 1948. Along with its sister village, al-Ghubayya al-Tahta, the village was occupied by Haganah units drawn from the Palmach, as well as the Carmeli and Alexandroni Brigades. They first entered the villages on 8-9 April, during 'fierce fighting'; 'there was house-to-house fighting in the village throughout the night,' according to Arab Liberation Army (ALA) commander Fawzi al-Qawuqji. The following day, Qawuqji relates, the fighting developed into a pitched battle and the Zionist forces were driven out. These dates are confirmed by the Palestinian newspaper Filastin, which reported that the 10 April battle was 'long' and 'violent' and was waged inside the village itself. For the next few days, Haganah control of these villages was precarious, according to the History of the Haganah. While they managed to retain a presence in them during the night, they were forced to withdraw under ALA bombardment during the day. But this did not prevent these units from destroying the village 'piecemeal,' as Israeli historian Benny Morris puts it, over the following few days. Palestinian historian Arif al-Arif states that some time before the battle, the people of al-Ghubayya al-Fawqa had been joined by those of al-Ghubayya al-Tahta, whose village had been destroyed. The influx of people from the neighboring village doubled the population of al-Ghubayya al-Fawqa, bringing the number of its inhabitants to 1,400. It is not clear what became of them when the battle erupted. The Haganah stated that by 13 April, ALA forces had withdrawn from the entire area, but the ALA reported that it recovered the al-Ghubayyat villages briefly on 14 April.

A decision was taken by the Haganah and Ben-Gurion to expel the Arab inhabitants of the area and raze the villages near Mishrnar ha-Emeq to permanently remove the 'threat to the Yishuv.' AI-Ghubayya al-Fawqa was blown up by the Haganah and Palmach, with the help of local Jewish settlers, within the next week.

The settlement of Mishrnar ha-Emeq, established in 1926, is not on village land; however, it now uses some of the village lands as pasture.

The site is overgrown with cactuses and fig, almond, and carob trees. The debris of the houses is visible among the vegetation. One can also see a big heap of stones where the mosque once stood. The cemetery is covered with thorny plants and weeds. The surrounding lands are used by Israeli farmers for various purposes, such as pasturing cattle and growing cotton.