Zab`a Before 1948
The village was located on Wadi Yubla (also called Wadi al-`Ashsha), at the point where the wadi entered the Jordan Valley area. Both the Baysan-Jericho highway and the railway line leading from Haifa to Samakh (and ultimately to the Hijaz railway) passed directly to the east. The village, which was classified as a hamlet by the Palestine Index Gazetteer, had a rectangular plan.
The village location, the richness of its soil, and its abundant water supplies made it an early target for takeover by the Zionists during the British Mandate. Zab`a inhabitants all of whom were Muslim, were successfully farmers and grew vegetables, fruit, and grain before their land acquired by Jewish settlers. In 1944-45 all of the 156 dunums that were left hands of the villagers were allocated to cereals. Two km east of the village was Tall Isma`il on top of which was a Bedouin cemetery. Because the soil of such mounds, which contain the remains of earlier settlements, is soft, they are attractive to Bedouin as cemetery sites.
Israel Settlements on Village Lands
In 1937 Zionists established the settlement of Beyt Yosef some 2 km northeast of the village site, on land that they had purchased but that had once belonged to the village. Doshen, a farm belonging to the “Yitzur ve-Pittu`ach” organisation, was established in 1955 on village land, close to the village site.
The Village Today
The site is covered with grass, lotus trees, and stones. Israelis have established several agricultural projects and fisheries on the village land. Other parts of surrounding land are used for grazing.
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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