al-Nuqayb before 1948
The village of al-Nuqayb was located on the eastern shore of the lake Tiberias, in a relatively flat area with view of the city Tiberias over the lake to the west. The city of Tiberias was 10km from al-Nuqayb.
al-Nuqayb was located approximately 1.5km from the Syrian-Palestinian border. Its houses were dispersed along the coast of the lake Tiberias. The city was named after its original inhabitants, who were bedouins. Some of these still lived in tents, but majority had built houses out of stone and mud, stone and cement or out of concrete. In 1944-45, the village consisted of 740 inhabitants, 320 of which were Arabs and 420 of which were Jews. In the village were two hot springs, and to the east of the village, the fortress Qal’at al-Hisn was located. This fortress was probably built in ancient times on the ancient city of Hippos, which is Greek for “livestock”. The fortress contained ruins of the ancient city, such as walls, roads, a church, cisterns and burial grounds. Hippos was one of ten Syrian-Greek cities in the Roman and Byzantine period.
In the late nineteenth century, all 13,000 dunums of land were purchased by Baha’ Allah, the leader of the Babi religious sect. The villagers continued to farm the lands as tenants. In the 1920s the majority of the land was sold to the JNF.
Occupation and depopulation
On the 15th of May, foreign press reported that Syrian forces had entered the village in attempt of gaining control of it. The New York Times reported that the Syrians had encircled the village and shelled and aerially bombed it. Because of this aggressive mood, it indicated that the Haganah forces already were in control of the village, however it is unclear what exactly happened to the village during the remainder of the war.
In the period between 1949 -1956, the villagers were induced to leave by the Israeli authorities despite the village being in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along the Israeli-Syrian border. The Israeli government used the excuse of economic, military and agricultural reasons to pressure the villagers out alongside petty persecution. Most of the villagers moved to Syria.
Israeli Settlements on village lands
The Kibbutz ‘En Gev was established on the village lands, about 1.5km south of the village site, by Zionists immigrants from the Baltic region, and central- and eastern Europe in 1937.
The village today
Today, the site is fenced in and dominated by Christ’s-thorn trees and thorny grass. Remains of the village in the form of pikes of stone and remains of wall still stand. Parts of the land are still cultivated by the nearby settlement with the remainder used as grazing areas by the Israelis.
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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