PLace

Hulayqat

Place
Hulayqat — حُلَيْقات
District
Gaza
Subdistrict
Gaza
Average Elevation
100 m
Distance from Gaza
20.5 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 285 285
1944/45 420 420
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 6902 161 7063
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 133 161 294
Built-up 18 18
151 161 312 (4%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Arab Total
Cereal 6636 6636
Plantation and Irrigable 115 115
6751 6751 (96%)
Number of Houses (1931)
61

The village was situated in an area of rolling hills on the coastal plain. It stood on the east bank of a wadi, immediately to the west of the Gaza–Julis highway, which ran parallel to the main coastal highway. Secondary roads linked it to a number of surrounding villages. In the late nineteenth century, Hulayqat was a small village on a gentle slope, flanked by a high sandy hill and a garden to the west. The village, which expanded toward the end of the Mandate, was rectangular in shape, with the long side of the rectangle extending along the highway. Its adobe houses stood close together and were interspersed with some small shops. The villagers were Muslims, and they obtained their domestic water from two wells inside the village. They worked mainly in rainfed agriculture, growing grain and fruit. Fruit cultivation was concentrated in the northwestern lands. In 1944/45 a total of 6,636 dunums was allotted to cereals; 115 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. In addition to agriculture, people worked with the British-Iraq Petroleum Company after it began exploring the region for oil. Close to Hulayqat lay several khirbas that contained cisterns, a pool, and fragments of marble and pottery.

The History of the Haganah states that when the Palmach's Negev Brigade destroyed the village of Burayr, 'the peasants from the adjacent villages of Huleiqat and Kawkaba began to flee in the direction of the Hebron hills.' This occurred on 13 May 1948, during Operation Barak . The Palmach established a position in the village. But Egyptian writer Muhammad Abd al-Mun'im states that Hulayqat was recaptured by Egyptian forces on 8 July, just before the first truce of the war expired. Egyptian armored vehicles took the village in a surprise attack from the north and held onto it until the second truce. Abd al-Mun'im states that the operation was in response to encroachment by Zionist forces in the area.

Some villagers apparently remained throughout the second truce, when heavy fighting between Egyptian and Israeli forces led to another exodus. Hulayqat was reoccupied on 19–20 October, the History of the War of Independence relates, in a two-pronged attack from Bayt Tima in the northwest and Kawkaba in the north. The battle between the Giv'ati Brigade and Egyptian forces involved combat at close quarters in some places. Israeli historian Benny Morris insists: 'There had been no expulsions; the locals had simply fled in face of the approaching hostilities.' On 20 October, the New York Times correspondent wrote that Hulayqat, 'the most southerly point held by the Egyptians in the desert proper, fell last night after the heaviest battle of the campaign….' The village was defended by 600 Egyptian regulars; around 100 of them were killed and a similar number taken prisoner, according to the Times. Egyptian writer Abd al-Mun'im adds that with the occupation of Hulayqat, 'the enemy was able to open a road to his southern settlements and became a dangerous threat to our forces.'

There are no Israeli settlements on village lands.

The site is partially forested. There are sycamore and Christ's-thorn trees and cactuses growing on the site. One of the old roads has been covered by a modern street.