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Place Descriptions

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> Ebal and Gerizim
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Dayr Tarif
   
submitted by Turathuna Bethlehem University
19.01.2007

Dayr Tarif Before 1948
The village was situated on uneven ground on the edge of the coastal plain, about 3 km east of Lydda airport. A network of roads afforded Dayr Tarif easy access to urban centers and the surrounding villages. It was next to a highway that led north to Tulkann and lay east of a triangle of highways connecting Lydda, al-'Abbasiyya, and Jaffa. The village's access to urban areas was further enhanced by a link to the main, northeast-southwest railway line. The village site is identified with the Roman-era Bethariph. In 1596, Dayr Tarif was a village in the nahiya of Ramla (liwa' of Gaza) with a population of 270. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, sesame, and fruit, as well as on other types of produce and property, such as goats, beehives, and vineyards.

In the late nineteenth century, Dayr Tarif was a smah hamlet situated at the edge of a plain. It had a trapezoidal shape, and was split into eastern and western halves that were separated by vacant land. Most of the houses were made of adobe brick. House building accelerated toward the end of the Mandate, especially in the eastern half of the village. Dayr Tarif's population was predominantly Muslim. The village had a number of shops, a mosque, and an elementary school that was founded in 1920 and that had 171 students enrolled'-in 1947. Agriculture was both rainfed and irrigated, with irrigation water drawn from a large number of artesian wells that were drilled on the southern and northwestern sides of the village. In 1944/46 a total of 1,410 dunums was devoted to citrus and bananas and 5,981 dunums were allocated to cereals; 486 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. The village was built on a mound that covered a Roman site; both the remains of earlier buildings and fragments of ancient artifacts have been found there.

Occupation and Depopulation
The first recorded attack on the village was reported by the Palestinian newspaper Filastin, which stated that Jewish forces used an airplane to bomb Dayr Tarif on 14 April 1948. The air raid wounded five villagers, including a two-year-old child.

The village was occupied twice in the course of Operation Dani. The first time, units of the Armored Brigade and an infantry battalion of the Kiryati Brigade captured the village on 9 July 1948, at the beginning of the operation. But soon after the Israeli units entered the village they were forced to withdraw, as a result of a "powerful counter-attack" by the Transjordanian Arab Legion, according to the History of the War of Independence. The same source reports that two days later, on 11 July, the Ninth Commando Battalion of the Armored Brigade managed to occupy positions surrounding Dayr Tarif, pushing its Arab Legion defenders back in the direction of Badras. Thus, Dayr Tarif was temporarily bypassed, but it was probably reoccupied soon afterwards, in preparation for the assault on Lydda and al-Ramla. Israeli historian Benny Morris indicates that the villagers were evacuated due to an Israeli attack on 10 July. This agrees with a New York Times story that stated that the village was occupied late in the afternoon of 10 July, as Israeli troops fended off an Arab effort to recapture Wilhelma, a former agricultural colony founded by German Templars before World War 1. Dayr Tarif was finally conquered by Israel by 13 Jury, after a stiff fight that raged around it and neighbor¬ing Bayt Nabala.

Israeli Settlements on Village Lands
Israel established the settlement of Beyt 'Arif (144155) on the ruins of the village in 1949. The settlement of Kefar Truman (143154) is southwest of the site; it is not on village lands.

The Village Today
The site, covered with the debris of destroyed houses, is overgrown with thorns and other wild plants. A number of old olive and cypress trees are scattered across the site. The school building serves as a stable. Cotton and citrus are culti¬vated by Israelis on the surrounding lands.

Source: Khalidi, Walid. All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington, D.C: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992.

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