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Title: Al-Khalisa  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Al-Buwayziyya, Safad Subdistrict, Mandatory Palestine, List of Arab towns and villages depopulated during the 1948 Palestinian exodus, Operation Yiftach, Al-Jalama, Haifa
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia



The mosque of al-Khalisa, currently a museum for the history of Kiryat Shemona
al-Khalisa is located in Mandatory Palestine
Arabic الخالصة
Name meaning Pure, sincere[1]
Also spelled al-Khalsa
Subdistrict Safad
Population 1,840 (1945)
Area 11,280 dunams

11.3 km²

Date of depopulation May 11, 1948[2][3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Influence of nearby town's fall
Secondary cause Whispering campaign
Current localities Kiryat Shemona

Al-Khalisa was a Palestinian Arab village situated on a low hill on the northwestern edge of the Hula Valley of over 1,800 located 28 kilometers (17 mi) north of Safad.


Al-Khalisa was founded by the Bedouin from the 'Arab al-Ghawarina clan, who constituted the bulk the village's population. Under the Ottoman Empire, in 1596, it had a population of 160 and was under the administration of the nahiya ("subdistrict") of Jira, part of Sanjak Safad. It paid taxes on wheat, barley, orchards, beehives, water buffalo, and a water-powered mill.[4] In the late nineteenth century, Europeans described al-Khalisa as a village built of stone, surrounded by streams, with a population of 50.[5]

The houses of the village were built of bricks and basalt stones cut from the hillside. In 1945, its population was 1,840, of which 20 were Christians. Al-Khalisa had a boys' elementary school which also admitted students from neighboring villages. The residents drew their drinking water from several springs.[2] It was one of five villages in the Galilee to be governed by a village council that administered in local affairs.[6]

The leader of 'Arab al-Ghawarina clan was Sheikh Kamal Hussein, resident of Al-Khalisa, and, according to Emir Faour.[7]

Al-Khalisa, 1946

1948, and after

During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, on May 11, 1948, al-Khalisa attempted an "agreement" with the Haganah to save the village from attack, but the Haganah rejected it.[8] Israeli historian Benny Morris reports after this, the villagers felt threatened and fled, while eyewitness accounts state the cause was Safad's fall to Israel on that same day. After its abandonment, Israeli forces moved into al-Khalisa as part of their general offensive in the eastern Galilee. The village's residents stated that after they fled, only the local militia remained, but withdrew after shelling from the Jewish town of Manara and after seeing an armored unit approaching al-Khalisa.[9] Former villagers, interviewed in Tel al-Zaatar camp in Lebanon in 1973, recounted that when they returned to the village;
"we found that the Jews had burned and destroyed the houses belonging to Ali Zakayan, Abu Ali Muhammad Hamadih, Mustafa al-Haj Yusif, Issa Muhammad, Ali Salih Ahmad, Muhammad Arab al-Haj Mahmud, Salih Ismail, Sari al-Khadir, Dawud Hussein, Abdul-Raziq Hamid, Qassim Muhammead al-Salih and Ali Hussein Mahmud....The village was in ruins."[10]
The mosque of Al-Khalisa, 2008, now serving as museum for Kiryat Shemona.

According to Walid Khalidi, 1992, "stone rubble from the houses markes the site. The school and the Mandate government´s office guildings stand abandoned, as does the village mosque and minaret. The level land surrounding the site is cultivated by settlement of Qirat Shemona, while the mountainous areas are either used as pastures or are wooded."[2]

According to Meron Benvenisti, 2000, "the mosque of al-Khalsa, one of the few structures that remain of that Galilee Arab village, is situated in a municipal park in the older section of the Jewish town of Kiryat Shemona. It serves as the local museum dedicated to the memory of townspeople who have fallen in Israel's various wars."[11]

See also


  1. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 23
  2. ^ a b c Khalidi, 1992, p.463.
  3. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xvi, village #10. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  4. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah p.178, quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.463
  5. ^ Survey of Western Palestine, 1881, p. 88 Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.463.
  6. ^ Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 1945-1946, p.132.
  7. ^ Benvenist 2000, p. 127
  8. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 251
  9. ^ Morris, pp.120-124 and Nazzal, pp.46-48, quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p.463.
  10. ^ Nazzal, p.47-48.
  11. ^ Benvenisti, 2000, p.291


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