Dayr Nakhkhas Before 1948
Situated at 20 km distance from Hebron on a hilltop underlain by hard limestone, the village was placed on the south side of the Hebron-Bayt Jibrin-al-Majdal highway, and linked by secondary roads to several adjacent villages. With a population of 72 in 1596, Dayr Nakhkhas was paying taxes on crops such as wheat, barley, and olives, as well as on other produces like goats and beehives.
In the late nineteenth century, the village expanded along, and toward, the road linking to Hebron. The houses were built of stone, and the children attended the schools of the neighbouring villages. Agriculture and animal husbandry were the main means of livelihood of the exclusively Muslim population, and the lands that weren't used for cultivating crops or used for orchards served as pasture for their goats and sheep. The area was rich in archeological sites.
Occupation, Depopulation and Israeli Settlements
Dayr Nakhkhas was occupied on 29 October 1948, in the third stage of Operation Yo'av, at the same time as Bayt Jibrin. The massacre at nearby al-Dawayima also took place on the same day, generating a massive flight of people from the area surrounding Dayr Nakhkhas [Benny Morris]. Although no Israeli settlements have been established on village lands, the settlement of Nechusha was founded in 1982 at about 3 km west on the land of Khirbat Umm Burj.
The Village Today
Only a few deserted houses, the rubble of others, and a fenced-in cave are what remains now of the village of Dayr Nakhkhas. One of deserted houses, made of concrete, with rectangular windows and a flat roof, is marked with Arabic graffiti and stands in the midst of tall wild grasses and weeds. The surrounding land is 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.