PLace

al-Jaladiyya

Place
al-Jaladiyya — الجَلَدِيَّة
District
Gaza
Subdistrict
Gaza
Average Elevation
75 m
Distance from Gaza
34 km
Population
Year Arab Total
1931 228 228
1944/45 360 360
Land Ownership (1944/45) in dunums
Year Arab Public Total
1944/45 1 4328 4329
Land Use (1944/45) in dunums
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable & Built-up (Total)
Use Arab Public Total
Non-Cultivable 1 80 81
Built-up 63 63
1 143 144 (3%)
Cultivable (Total)
Use Public Total
Cereal 4185 4185
4185 4185 (97%)
Number of Houses (1931)
50

The village stood on a slightly elevated spot on the southern coastal plain, bordered on the southeast side by Wadi Suqrir. Secondary roads linked it to al-Faluja, in the south, to the highway leading to the town of al-Majdal, in the southwest, and to a number of the area's villages. The village may have been located on the site where the Crusaders had built the castle of Geladia. The scholars who participated in the late nineteenth century British survey and current Crusader scholars seem convinced that Geladia was built on the site of Khirbat Jaladiyya; they point to the fragments of architecture ('one block of a tower') as evidence of this. In 1596, al-Jaladiyya was a village in the nahiya of Gaza (liwa' of Gaza), with a population of eighty-eight. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, and sesame, as well as on other types of produce and property, such as goats, beehives, and vineyards. It seems that the site may have been abandoned during the seventeenth century, however , and may not have been re-inhabited until the 1870s.

Al-Jaladiyya's inhabitants, all of whom were Muslim, built their houses of adobe and maintained a mosque in the village that was constructed in 1890 on the order of the Ottoman sultan Abd al-Hamid II (1876–1909). The mosque had two sections, one for prayer and another for teaching, and 43 students were enrolled in the mosque school by the mid-1940s. Rainfed agriculture was the basis of the economy. In 1944/45 a total of 4,185 dunums was allotted to cereals.

Between the two truces of the war (8–18 July 1948, a period also known as the 'Ten Days'), the Israeli army launched an offensive on the southern front to extend its area of control southwards towards the Negev. In the process, over sixteen villages were occupied in the area between the coast and the Hebron foothills, driving at least 20,000 people from their homes, according to figures cited by Israeli historian Benny Morris. Al-Jaladiyya was probably occupied in the first stage of the operation, on 9–10 July, by units of the Giv'ati Brigade. Its inhabitants either fled eastwards in the direction of Hebron, like most of the refugees from the area seized during the operation, or southwards to the Gaza Strip. Although Giv'ati sources later recalled that the people fled before the entry of the columns into their villages, the Brigade's operational orders had demanded that civilians be expelled. A New York Times article speculated that the occupation of this and a few other villages on the al-Majdal–al-Latrun road prevented Egyptian forces from attempting to break through to al-Latrun.

There are no Israeli settlements on village lands. Shafir, established in 1949, is to the southeast of the site, and Zerachya, established in 1950, is to the southwest of the site. Both are on the land of al-Sawafir al-Sharqiyya Morris states that these two settlements were considered for placement on the lands of al-Jaladiyya, according to a plan submitted by the Jewish National Fund on 20 August 1948.

Only a few date-palm, carob, and fig trees remain on the site. The surrounding lands are cultivated by Israeli farmers.