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For the road junction with the same name, see Malakhi Junctionmarker.
Qastina ( ) was a Palestinian village, located 38 kilometers northeast of Gaza City. It was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Location

Qastina was situated on an elevated spot in a generally flat area on the coastal plain, on the highway between al-Majdal and the Jerusalemmarker-Jaffamarker highway. A British military camp, Beer Tuvia, was 3 km. southwest of the village.

History

In 1596 Qastina was a village in the Ottoman Empire, nahiya (subdistrict) of Gazamarker under the liwa' (district) of Gazamarker, with a population of 385. It paid taxes on a number of crops, including wheat, barley and sesame, and fruits, as well as goats, beehives and vineyards.

The Syrian Sufi traveller Mustafa al-Bakri al-Siddiqi reported travelling through the village in the mid-eighteenth century, on his way to al-Masmiyya al-Kabiramarker.

In the late nineteenth century, Qastina was described as a village laid out in a northwest-southeast direction on flat ground. It had adobe brick structures, a well, and gardens.

The villagers were Muslim had they had a mosque. An elementary school was started in 1936, the school was shared with the neighboring village of Tall al-Turmusmarker. By the mid 1940s the school had 161 students.

The villagers lived mostly of agriculture. In 1944/45 a total of 235 dunums was used for citrus and bananas, while 7,317 dunums used for cereals. 770 dunums were irrigated or used for orchards. In addition, villagers raised animals and poultry, and worked in the British military camp (Beer Tuvia) nearby.

1948 war, and after

Qastina was in the territory allotted to the Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Upon Israel's declaration of independence on 15 May 1948, the armies of neighbouring Arab states invaded, prompting fresh evacuations of civilians fearful of being caught up in the fighting. The women and children of Qastina were sent away to the village of Tell es-Safimarker by the menfolk at this time, but they returned after discovering there was insufficient water in the host village to meet the newcomers needs.

A preparatory order for the conquest of Qastina and other neighbouring villages (Masmiya al Kabira, Masmiya al Saghira, al Tina and Tall al Turmus) was drafted by the Giv'ati Brigade's 51st Battalion and produced on 29 June 1948. According to Benny Morris, the document recommended "the 'liquidation' (hisul) of the two Masmiya villages and 'burning' (bi'ur) the rest."

On 9 July 1948, the village and its over 147 houses were completely destroyed by Israelimarker forces after its inhabitants fled an assault by the Givati Brigade in Operation An-Far.

Qastina was used as a rallying point by the IDF seventh Battalion of the 8th Armored Brigade after the failed attack on Iraq al-Manshiyyamarker in part of the Israeli drive to open a route to the Negev during Operation Yoav.

Today, there are four Israelimarker localities located on the lands of the former village: Kfar Warburgmarker, Arugotmarker, Kfar Ahimmarker, and Kiryat Malakhimarker. Be'er Tuviamarker, which was also known by the name Qastina after its establishment in 1887, lies adjacent.

Walid Khalidi notes of Qastina that:
"All that remains is the debris of houses strewn across the site.
The research team investigating the current status of the depopulated villages visited the site and found it overgrown with bushes and tall grasses that were about 2m high."


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