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al-Shajara ( ) is a former Palestinian Arab village depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was located 14 kilometers west of Tiberiasmarker on the main highway to Nazarethmarker near the villages of Lubyamarker and Hittinmarker. The last census was taken in 1945 by Sami Hadawi who recorded a population of 770.

The village was the fourth largest by area in Tiberias district. Its economy was based on agriculture. In 1944/45 it had 2,102 dununs (505 acres) planted with cereals and 544 dununs (136 acres) either irrigated or fig and olive orchards.

Al-Shajara was the home -village of the cartoonist Naji al-Ali.

History

The Crusader referred to al-Shajara by "Seiera". The Arabic name of the village ash-Shajara translates as "the Tree".

In 1596, al-Shajara was part of the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Tiberiasmarker under the liwa' (district) of Safadmarker with a population of 396. It paid taxes to the Ottoman government on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, olives, fruits and cotton. Taxes was also paid goats, beehives, orchards, and a press that was used either for processing olives or grapes.

A party of French cavalry was apparently stationed in the village during Napoleons campaign of 1799. Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swissmarker traveler to Palestine who passed through the area around 1812, noted that the plain around the village was covered with wild artichoke, while William McClure Thomson said that al-Shajara (Sejera) was one of several villages in the area which was surrounded by gigantic hedges of cactus. He alos noted the great oak woods in the vicinity.

In the late nineteenth century, the village of al-Shajara was a stone-built village and had about 150 residents. The village was surrounded by arable land on which there were fig and olive trees, and there was a spring to the south.

In 1907, the residents of the nearby Jewish settlement of Sejera occupied village farmlands after buying it from the Sursock family, this triggered attacks from al-Shajara residents.

1948, and aftermath

During the 1948 War, the Arab Liberation Army defending al-Shajara battled Israelimarker forces in the village in early March. It was captured by Israel on May 6, 1948 by the 12th Battalion, Golani Brigade — the entire population fled leaving twenty dead.

The Palestinian historian Walid Khalidi described the place in 1992: "The ruins of houses and broken steel bars protrude from beds of wild vegetation. One side of an arched doorway still stands. The western part of the site and the nearby hill are covered with cactus. Cattle barns belonging to the nearby settlement of Ilaniyyamarker stand on the southern and eastern sides of the site. On the northern edge is a wide, deep well with a spiral stairway inside (used for periodic cleaning and maintenance of the well). Fig, doum-palm, and chinaberry trees grow in the area.

People from al-Shajara



See also



References

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