al-Muftakhira Before 1948
The village was located on flat terrain in the central eastern part of the al-Hula Plain. Its closely clustered houses were built initially of adobe brick roofed with cane, but later houses were built of masonry. All of the residents of al-Muftakhira were Muslims. They had a small school and worked primarily in agriculture. They grew a variety of crops, including wheat, corn, onions, and animal fodder, and drew irrigation water for some of these crops from a stream near the site. Some of them also raised livestock and engaged in fishing, while still others were traders. Many went to the weekly Tuesday market in the neighboring village of al-Khalisa to sell their produce. In 1944/45 they planted a total of 924 dunums in cereals; 3,597 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. A nearby khirba contained the remains of building foundations and walls.
Occupation and Depopulation
According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, the villagers were dispersed in two waves: one on 1 May and another on 16 May 1948. He attributes the dispersal to the villagers’ fear of a Jewish attack or an actual mortar or ground assault. Such assaults were common during Operation Yiftach (see Abil aI-Qamh, Safad District).
Israeli Settlements on Village Lands
The settlement of Shamir, established in 1944, is on village lands, east of the village site. Lahavot ha-Bashan, established in 1945, is close to the site to the southeast; it is on lands that belonged to the neighboring village of Khiyam al-Walid.
The Village Today
Only the stone debris of houses and the occasional ruined wall attest to the former presence of the village A few eucalyptus trees grow on the site. The site has been turned into an archaeological center, and the surrounding lands are cultivated by Israeli farmers.
Source: al-Khalidi, Walid (ed.). All that remains: the Palestinian villages occupied and depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington DC: 1992.
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