PLace

al-Jura

Place
al-Jura — الجُورَة
District
Gaza
Subdistrict
Gaza
Average Elevation
25 m
Distance from Gaza
20 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 1754 1754
1944/45 2420 2420
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 10705 1519 12224
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 186 1349 1535
Built-up 45 45
231 1349 1580 (13%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Cereal 2795 170 2965
Plantation and Irrigable 7198 7198
Citrus and Bananas 481 481
10474 170 10644 (87%)
Number of Houses (1931)
396

The village stood on flat ground less than 1 km from the seashore, surrounded by sandy hills. To the south lay an expanse of sand known as rimal Ascalon (the 'sands of Ascalon') that had been formed by the gradual movement of coastal sand dunes. Al-Jura, also known as Jurat Ascalon to distinguish it from other villages with the same first name, was thought to have been established on the ruins of an ancient village known during Roman times as Jagur. The village appears in the Ottoman records of the late sixteenth century as Jawra/Jawrit al-Hajja. It was in the nahiya of Gaza (liwa' of Gaza) and had a population of 253. The Syrian Sufi traveler Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi, who journeyed in the region in the mid-eighteenth century, reported that he visited the village before resuming his trip to Hamama. In the late nineteenth century, the village of al-Jura was situated on flat ground on the outskirts of Ascalon. It was rectangular in shape. Al-Jura's residents, all of them Muslims, built their houses of adobe bricks and stone brought in from the khirbas of AscaIon. They maintained a village mosque with a two-room annex for guests from other localities. They also had a school that was founded in 1919; its enrollment totaled 206 students in the 1940s. The mosque, school, and marketplace were all located at the center of the village.

Al-Jura was 5 km west of the city of al-Majdal. Because it was on the coast it was cooler during the summer than the areas farther inland; thus it served as a summer resort for the residents of al-Majdal. An annual spring mawsim (a season of celebration) was held in it, to which people from the cities and villages of Gaza sub-disctrict flocked for swimming, sports events, and religious festivals. A market was organized specially for the occasion where visitors could shop.

Al-Jura had a diversified economy. Fishing and bird-hunting were the villagers' main occupations, and their fish and game were sold in several neighboring towns and villages. (In fact, the village was one of the main fishing centers in Palestine.) Next to fishing and hunting, agriculture was the most important occupation. A great variety of rainfed and irrigated crops was cultivated on village land. Some areas were planted with trees that bore citrus, grapes, apricots, apples, and almonds, while other areas were used for growing vegetables, onions, and grain. In 1944/45 a total of 481 dunums was devoted to citrus and bananas and 2,795 dunums were allocated to cereals; 7,198 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Finally, some of the villagers worked in handicrafts, including basketmaking and net-weaving.

The village was almost certainly occupied at the same time as al-Majdal on 4–5 November 1948, at the very end of Operation Yoav . Al-Jura was one of the first targets to be bombed during the operation, according to an Egyptian communiqué quoted in the New York Times. On 15 October, United Press International reported from Cairo that Israeli planes had bombed the village, along with Gaza and al-Majdal. Villagers probably fled to the Gaza Strip as a result of the occupation and preliminary attacks from the air on the whole coastal area.

The city of Ashqelon was established in 1948 on village lands.

Only one of the village houses has been spared; thorny plants grow on the parts of the site not built over by Ashqelon.