'Ajjur Before 1948
The village was spread over a hilly area 24 km northwest from Hebron, in the foothills of the Hebron Mountains. Judging by its old architecture, it's believed that modern 'Ajjur dates from the early years of the Fatimids (909-1171). A village in the subdistrict of Gaza with a population of 193 in 1596, 'Ajjur paid taxes on crops such as wheat, barley and fruit, in addition to other types of produce and property.
Towards the late 19th Century, this small village had a predominantly Muslim population usually concentrated in clusters of houses, but also scattered along the western and southern sides. Additionally to the Abu Hasan private school running since Ottoman times, a second school was opened in 1934. Both schools welcomed children from neighbour villages. With two mosques, four shrines inside the village, and four in the vicinity, 'Ajjur also held a Friday market which functioned as a social and economic hub. The area the village was located in was rich in archeological sites.
Rainfed agriculture (mainly wheat and olives) and animal husbandry were the main economic drivers. Nevertheless, carpentry, tanning and shoemaking also proved attractive occupations.
Occupation and Depopulation
'Ajjur was one of the villages occupied by the Fourth Battalion of the Israeli army's Giv'ati Brigade on 23 October 1948 which was mostly operating in the northern area of Palestine, but also occupied some villages in the Hebron district. This was done in coordination with Operation Yo'av which was launched the same month to occupy the southern coastal strip. According to Ben Morris, there was also a first military assault on the village on 23-23 July 1948 which was the main cause of the depopulation. After most of the population of this village and the neighbouring ones fled prior to the occupation, the ones that remained were expelled.
Israeli settlements on Village Lands
There are five Israeli settlements established on the village's land: 'Agur built close to the village site in 1950, Tzafririm established in 1958, and Li-'On established in 1960, are southeast of the site; while Giv'at Yesh'ayahu, built in 1958, is close to the border between 'Ajjur's lands and the lands of Zakariyya, and the settlement of Tirosh, established in 1955, is in the northwest area.
The Village Today
There are only three houses standing today, out of which two deserted and one turned into a warehouse. 'One of the deserted houses is a two-storey stone structure that has a large, triple-arched front porch. Cactuses and eucalyptus, almond, and carob trees - interspersed with truncated stone walls and rubble - grow on the site. The actual site is now fenced and used for grazing, while the surrounding land has been occupied by the settlement of 'Agur.
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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