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Al-Qabu
   
submitted by Turathuna Bethlehem University
08.01.2007

AL-Qabu before 1948:

The village stood on the top a high mountain that sloped steeply on the northern,Eastern and western sides of the village. A secondary road linked it to the highway between Bayt Jibrin (an important village in the Hebron district) and Jerusalem; this highway ran about 1.5 Km southof al-qabu. The village's name was a modification of Qobi, the site's name during the Roman period. In the late nineteenth century, al-Qabu was described as a moderately sized built of stone that was situated on a high hill. A ruined Crusader church stood southwest of the village on a hillside.

The village had a rectangular plan that extended in a north-south direction along the aforementioned road. Its houses were built primarily of stone. There were a few small shops in the village's main square; the shrine of one Shykh Amad al-'Umari stood southeast of the village site. The residents, who were Muslims, obtain their water from several springs around the site, including 'Ayn Tuz and 'Ayn al-Bayada. Agriculture was both rain fed and irrigation water was taken from springs. The villagers planted their lands in grain and fruits trees, especially olive trees, and grape vines. In 1944/45a total of 1,233 dunums was allocated to cereals; 436 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. Historical relics around it included the ruins of the Crusader church and old canal. Two khirbas to the east of the village also contained ruins and fragments of stone arches.

Occupation and Depopulation:

The history of the War of independence reports that the sixth Battalion of the Israeli army's Har'el Brigade entered the village on 21 October 1948, shortly after the start of Operation ha-Har. (Israeli historian Benny Morris that the village was captured on 22-23 October) The offensive, launched at the end of the second truce, was aimed at capturing a string of the villages in the southern part of the Jerusalem corridor. Morris in states that the occupying forces did not intend to leave any civilian communities in place and that the inhabitants of al-Qabu either were expelled or fled in the direction of Bethlehem or Hebron hills.

Al-Qabu apparently changed hands again before the end of the war, however, because it was one of the villages ceded into Israeli hands as a result of the armistice agreement with Jordan. The History of the war of independence states that the Israeli army entered this village" without fighting" in the weeks flowing 3 April 1949, the day agreement was singed in Rhodes. The village was among four ceded in the Jerusalem area, giving Israeli the length of the railway line between Jerusalem and the coast.

Israeli Settlements on Village Lands:
The settlement of Mevo Betar (160125) was established on village lands in 1950.


The Village Today:

The site abounds in the ruins and remains of the houses, and contains olive, almond and pine trees. The village cemetery is visible on the southeastern edge of the site. Seven graves can be seen; bones are visible in some of the open ones. The village mosque still stands, abandoned and neglected; in the courtyard of the mosque, there is an artificial pool equipped with steps, and behind the masque there are three wells. The shrine of Shaykh al-'Umari stands next to an old network of irrigation canals. A set stone stairs leads down to the arched entrance of the ancient spring of 'Ayn al-Qabu. Much of the surrounding land has been covered by a forest planted by Israeli.

Source: Khalidi, Walid. All That Remains. Washington, D.C: Institute of Palestinian Studies, 1992.

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