PLace

al-Qubayba

Place
al-Qubayba — القُبَيْبَة
District
Jerusalem
Subdistrict
Hebron
Average Elevation
250 m
Distance from Hebron
24 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 800 800
1944/45 1060 1060
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 11801 111 11912
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 3657 111 3768
Built-up 35 35
3692 111 3803 (32%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 8109 8109
8109 8109 (68%)
Number of Houses (1931)
141

The village stood on a hilltop in the western foothills of the Hebron Mountains Wadi Ghufr ran along the western foot of the hill. It was linked by a secondary road to the Hebron-Bayt Jibrin-al-Majdal highway that passed to the northwest, and by other roads to adjacent villages. AI-Qubayba is identified with Deirelcobebe, a village during the Crusader period. In 1596 al-Qubayba was a village in the nahiya of Gaza (liwa' of Gaza), with a population of 182. It paid taxes on wheat, barley, sesame, fruit trees, goats, and beehives.  In the late nineteenth century, al-Qubayba, a large village built of adobe bricks, was situated on rolling hills near a plain, surrounded by a barren and stony area. Its population consisted of Muslims. AI-Qubayba's houses were constructed of stone and mud and were set along narrow streets radiating from the center. The village had a school, a mosque, and a number of small shops. Two wells located northwest and southwest of it provided drinking water. In 1944/45 a total of 8,109 dunums was allotted to cereals.

Tall al-Duwayr , the site of the ancient town of Lachish, was next to the village, to the southwest. This town was sacked and rebuilt a number of times throughout its long history. Tall al-Duwayr was excavated by the British from 1932 to 1938 and by Israeli archaeologists in 1966 to 1968 and from 1973 to 1985. It is a large site occupied intermittently from the Chalcolithic period (fifth millenium B.C.) to the Persian period (end of the fourth century B.C.). The Canaanite city of Lachish was mentioned in the al-Amarna letters (dating from the fourteenth century B.C.). The area surrounding al-Qubayba was rich in evidence of earlier settlement; in addition to Tall al-Duwayr and the village site itself, there were at least fifteen archaeological sites on the 12,000 dunums of land that belonged to the village.

In the third stage of Operation Yoav , the successes of the previous stages were used to occupy more territory. AI-Qubayba was captured around the same time as the massacre in nearby al-Dawayima, on 28 October 1948, probably by units of the Giv'ati or Har'el Brigades. No details are given about the fate of the villagers, but Israeli historian Benny Morris speaks of a 'panic flight' from al-Qubayba around the time of its occupation. No reason is given for the 'panic,' but it is unlikely that news of the al-Dawayima massacre would have reached al-Qubayba the same day. Morris also attributes the village's depopulation to the military assault on it.

The settlement of Lakhish was established to the southwest of the site on village lands in 1955.

The site is marked only by cactuses and a handful of olive trees. A neglected olive grove with its stone terraces still intact has been surrounded by fences.