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Lubya ( "bean") was a Palestinian Arab town located ten kilometers west of Tiberiasmarker that was captured and destroyed by Israelmarker during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Nearby villages included Nimrinmarker to the north, Hittinmarker to the northwest, and al-Shajaramarker to the south; Each of those villages were also depopulated.

Lubya had a total land area of 39,629 dunams, of which 83% was Arab-owned and the remainder being public property. Most of its cultivable land was planted with cereals while only 1,500 dunams were planted with olive groves. The village's built-up area was 210 dunams.

History

The village was known as Lubia by the Crusader and was a rest stop for Saladin's Ayyubid army prior to the Battle of Hattinmarker. It's also the birthplace of a prominent 15th century Muslim scholar Abu Bakr al-Lubyani, who taught Islamic religious sciences in Damascusmarker.

Lubya was incorporated into the nahiya ("district") of Tiberiasmarker in 1596, a few decades after the Ottoman Empire won control over the region from the Mamluks. The village was required to pay taxes on its goats, beehives and its olive press. The Ottoman governor of Damascus, Suleiman Pasha died in the village while on his way to confront the rebellious de facto Arab ruler of the Galilee Dhaher al-Omar.

Lubya is near the site of Khan Lubya which is filled with the ruins of a pool, cisterns and large building stones. This site was probably a caravansary during medieval times.

In the early 19th century, a Britishmarker traveler, James Silk Buckingham described Lubya as a very large village on top of a high hill. Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swissmarker traveler to Palestine, referred to the village as "Louby" and noted that wild artichokes covered the village plain. The American scholar Robinson, who passed through the village in 1838, noted that it had suffered greatly from the Galilee earthquake of 1837marker, with 143 villagers reported dead. An elementary school was established in 1895 and remained in use throughout the rule of the British Mandate of Palestine from 1923-1947. During this period, Lubya was the second largest village in the Tiberias District.

Capture by Israel

At the onset of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Lubya was being defended by local militia volunteers. Village forces constantly skirmished with Israelimarker forces; the first Israeli raid on the village occurred on January 20, 1948, coordinated with one on nearby Tur'anmarker, leaving one Lubya resident dead. On February 24, local militiamen and Arab Liberation Army (ALA) members ambushed a Jewish convoy on the village's outskirts, causing several casualties, including one militiaman. The attack signaled that the Israelis were unable to keep the roads open and that foreign volunteers (the ALA) were taking over the offensive in the eastern Galilee.

In early March, Israeli forces attempted to create a route between Tiberias and the village of Shajaramarker, which required attacking Lubya. During the attack militiamen repulsed the Israelis, killing seven and losing six of their own.

After Tiberias was occupied by Israel, Lubya turned to the ALA in nearby Nazarethmarker for military support and guidance. The ALA responded by attacking the Jewish town of Sejera on June 10 at the time when a truce was being brokered between Lubya's militiamen and Israeli forces. After the truce expired on July 16, Israel launched Operation Dekel, capturing Nazareth at the start.

After news of Nazareth's fall, the majority of non-combatant village residents fled north towards Lebanonmarker or to nearby Arab towns. The ALA also withdrew, leaving the local militia to confront incoming forces. When a single Israeli armored unit appeared outside the village, the militia retreated and left the village. The few remaining residents reported that Israeli forces subsequently shelled the Lubya, demolished a few houses and commandeered many others.

Present-day

Khan Luban, 2008
The Israeli town of Lavimarker was built on Lubya's remains. There are also two parks on the village lands: the Lavi Pine Forest and the South African Park. They are used as picnic grounds for local residents, including former residents of Lubya who are internally displaced persons living in various existing Arab towns in Israel.

Demographics

The village's population rose and dropped dramatically throughout its history; In 1596, Lubya had a population of 1,177 dropping to about 400-700 in the beginning of the 19th century. In the British Mandate census in 1922, the population rose to 1,705 Muslims, 4 Christians and 3 Druses. According to the Palestine Government's village statistics, Lubya had a population of 2,350 in 1945. The village's residents predominantly adhere Islam.

It was estimated that there was 16,741 Palestinian refugees descending from Lubya in 1998. The majority of them live in Lebanonmarker, where Palestinian historian Nafez Nazzal interviewed some villagers in the Ain al-Hilweh camp in 1973, while several hundred live in Israelmarker.

See also



References

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