Al-Jura was situated on sandy lands 5 km. west of al-Majdal, about 1km from the seashore. Al Jura also known as Jurat Askalon (to distinguish it from other villages with the same first name) is thought to have been built on the ruins of the Roman settlement known as Jagur.
In 1596, Al-Jura was part of the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Gaza under the liwa (district) of Gaza, named Jawra/Jawrit al-Hajja, and it had a population of 253.
In the late nineteenth century, the village of Al-Jura was rectangular in shape, houses built of adobe bricks and stone brought from the ruins of Askalon. The residents were all Muslim. They had a mosque and a school which was founded in 1919.
Al-Jura served as a summer resort for the residents of al-Majdal as it was on the sea shore and cooler than the inland. An annual spring mawsim (season of celebration) was held in it to which people from the neighboring cities and villages flocked for swimming, sports events and religious festivals.
Fishing and bird hunting were the villagers' main occupation( the village was one of the main fishing centers in Palestine) In addition agreat variety of rain-fed and irrigated crops were grown on a total land area of 12,224 dunums of land. Citrus fruit, apples apricots, almonds and bananas. Vegetables and cereals were also grown. Finally some of the villagers worked in handicrafts such as basket making and hand weaving.
In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities, al-Jura had a population of 1,326, all Muslims, increasing in the 1931 census to 1752 Muslims and 2 Christians, in a total of 396 houses. In 1945 El Jura had a population of 2,420 Arabs.
Occupation and Depopulation
The village was almost certainly occupied at the same time as al-Majdal on November 4-5, 1948 Al-Jura wasone of the first targets to be bombed during the operation. On October 15-th United Press International reported from Cairo that Israeli air planes had bombed the village along with Gaza and al-Majdal. Villagers probably fled to Gaza as aresult of the occupation and preliminary attacks from the air.
Israeli Settlements on Village Lands
The city of Ashkelon was established in 1948 on village lands.
The Village Today
Only one of the village houses has been spared. Thorny plants grow on the parts of the site not built over by Ashkelon.
All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Walid Khalidi. Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992.
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