al-Masmiyya al-Saghira


District: Gaza

Population 1948: 620

Occupation date: 09/07/1948

Jewish settlements on village/town land before 1948: None

Jewish settlements on village/town land after 1948: Kefar Harif, Yinon


The village before 1948                                                                                                                   The village located in the southern coastal plain, bordered on the north by Wadi al-Zurayqa stretched along the wadi in a northwest- southeast direction. The adjectival al-Saghira (minor) distinguished it from its twin village al-Masmiyya al-Kabira (major).It was founded in the second half of the 19-th century by the hamula (clan) of al Hurani who had to leave al-Masmiyya al-Kabira because of a feud with other residents. Thus it was also known as al-Masmiyya al-Hurani.

In 1931 the village was inhabited by 354 people living in 73 houses. By 1944/45 that number had increased to 530. Children went to school in the neighboring village al-Masmiyya al-Kabira. Seven small shops provided the basic needs of the residents.

The main source of income was agriculture, the bulk of which was devoted to rain fed cereal fields (6126 dunums). 147 dunums were allocated to citrus and banana orchards, 7of which were irrigated. In addition the villagers raised animals and poultry amounting to an estimated 4000.  They participated in the weekly market held in al-Faluja. Products were als0 sold in al-Majdal, Gaza and Jaffa.

Occupation and depopulation
The village was probably occupied together with its twin village al-Masmiyya al-Kabira on July 8-9-th 1948. Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that an operation of the Giva'ti brigade during the ten days between truces "precipitated the evacuation of the village.

Israeli settlements on village lands
Israeli villages by the same name (Masmia) were established on the lands of both Palestinian villages in 1949. This one was called Masmia Bet (B) and later renamed Mashmiat Ha'Shalom. Other sources locate Mashmiat ha’Shalom on the lands of al-Masmiyya al-Kabira. In 1956 the settlement Kefar ha-Rif was built on village land.

The village today
Virtually no trace of the village remains. The site is overgrown with weeds and tall grass.
Source: Walid Khalidi: All that remains p126

Source: al-Khalidi, Walid (ed.). All that remains: the Palestinian villages occupied and depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington DC: 1992.