Saris before 1948
The village stood on a 675m high plateau surrounded by beautiful forest. It stretched from north to south with a steep descent on its northern edge overlooking the main road from Jerusalem to Haifa. Jerusalem was 15 km to the East, al Ramla and Lydda on the west side could be seen with the naked eye.
In 1596 its population was 292 people who paid taxes on a number of crops: wheat, barley, olives, fruit and carob as well as goats, beehives and vineyards. In 1931the count amounted to 470 and increased to 560 in 1944/45 all Muslims. The arc-shaped village had a mosque and several shops in its center. The houses were built of stone and the villagers relied on local springs and wells for domestic use and irrigation. Village lands extended over 10,699 dunams 132 of which had been acquired by Jews.
Occupation and depopulation
The village was occupied and demolished towards the end of operation Nahshon on April 13-th according to the Hagannah or on the 16-th according to other sources. Palestinian historian 'Arif al- 'Arif states that 35 houses were demolished, while the New York Times puts the number at 25 in addition to the mosque and a school. The New York Times also reports the killing of 7 villagers by the Hagannah task force of 500 soldiers which attacked with mortars and small fire-arms. The Hagannah maintains that the villagers had been evacuated before the attack but admits blowing up 25 buildings and burning several others. They also admit that some women may have been among the casualties. The Hagannah also made the implausible assertion that Syrian soldiers were stationed in the village. Benny Morris quotes an official British dispatch according to which villagers fled under the influence of the massacre perpetrated at Dayr Yassin a few days earlier.
Morris also writes that shortly before the attack on the village Hagannah chief Israel Galili wrote to senior JNF official Josef Weitz that a settlement needs to be established at Saris as soon as possible, Moshav Shoresh was built on the site later that year.
Israeli settlements on village lands
The settlement of Shoresh was established 1km southwest of the site in 1948. In 1950 the settlement of Sho'eva was added o.5 km to the northeast. Both settlements are on village land.
The village today
The site is covered with stone rubble with occasional iron bars protruding from the collapsed roofs. There are many open wells and caves with arched roofs. Cypress, fig and almond trees grow on the site. In the middle of the slope are the remnants of an artificial pool. Several large tombs remain in the village cemetery which is located to the west of the site and is surrounded by trees.
Main Source: Walid Khalidi, All that Remains, 1990, 315-316
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