Barrat Qisarya Before 1948
Located at a distance of 32 km from Haifa, the village stood on sandy, flat terrain about 3 km east of the Mediterranean shore, close to the site of the Roman-Byzantine town of Qisarya. Its name meant 'outside of Qisarya. An archeological survey if the village site located traces of walls, glass, marble fragments, and pottery fragments in the sand dunes.
Occupation, Depopulation, and Israeli Settlements
According to Ilan Pappe, the village was wiped out in February in an attack so sudden and fierce that both Israeli and Palestinian historians refer to its disappearance as quite enigmatic.
Today a Jewish development town, ‘Or Akiva, stretches out over every square metre of this destroyed village. Some old houses were still standing in the town in the 1970s, but they were quickly demolished when Palestinian research teams tried to document them as part of an overall attempt to reconstruct the Palestinian heritage in this part of the country.
The settlement of 'Or Aqiva was built on village land in 1951. It is now a small town with over 7,000 inhabitants and has also spread onto the lands of the destroyed village of Qisarya. Qesarya, formally registered as a settlement in 1977, is nearby.
The Village Today
Piles of rubble and stone from the last remaining group of houses lie in one of the squares of the town of Or' Aqiva. The trunk of an eucalyptus tree that was planted in the village is still present on the site. While most of the village families now reside in the West Bank, a few families (including the family of the former mukhtar) remained, building new houses about 0.5 km north of the original site. The lands around the site are taken up by the town, the new houses of the former villagers, and citrus groves.
al-Khalidi, Walid (ed.). All that remains: the Palestinian villages occupied and depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington DC: 1992.
Pappe, Ilan. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: 2006.
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