Dayr al-Qassi

Coordinates: 33°02′07″N 35°19′30″E / 33.03528°N 35.32500°E / 33.03528; 35.32500
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Dayr al-Qassi
دير القاسي
Deir al-Qasi[1] Deir el-Kasy[2]
House belonging to Abdullah Abedalmajeed Alsadek in Dayr al-Qassi
House belonging to Abdullah Abedalmajeed Alsadek in Dayr al-Qassi
Etymology: The convent of Wady el Kasy[3]
1870s map
1940s map
modern map
1940s with modern overlay map
A series of historical maps of the area around Dayr al-Qassi (click the buttons)
Dayr al-Qassi is located in Mandatory Palestine
Dayr al-Qassi
Dayr al-Qassi
Location within Mandatory Palestine
Coordinates: 33°02′07″N 35°19′30″E / 33.03528°N 35.32500°E / 33.03528; 35.32500
Palestine grid181/271
Geopolitical entityMandatory Palestine
Date of depopulation30 October 1948[1]
 • Total34,011 dunams (34.0 km2 or 13.1 sq mi)
 • Total1,250[4]
Cause(s) of depopulationMilitary assault by Yishuv forces
Current LocalitiesMattat,[5] Elkosh,[5][6] Abirim,[5] Netu'a[5]

Dayr al-Qassi or Deir el-Qasi (Arabic: دير القاسي), was a Palestinian Arab village located 26 km northeast of the city of Acre, which was depopulated during 1948 Arab-Israeli war.


The village was located 26 km northeast of the city of Acre, on a rocky hill about 5 km south of the Lebanese border. It was linked by a paved road to Fassuta in the north and Tarshiha in the southwest. The road divided the town into an eastern and one western quarter, or haras, the eastern quarter being higher up.[7]


The first part of the village name, Dayr ("monastery") suggest that the village might have had a monastery and a Christian population. However, in modern times the population was Muslim. According to the residents of the village, ancient artifacts from the Canaanite, Israelite and Roman period were unearthed in the Ottoman and British Mandate period.[7]

Ceramics from the late Roman and the Byzantine eras have been found here.[8]

In the Crusader era it was known as Cassie, and in 1183 it was noted that Godfrey de Tor sold the land of the village to Joscelin III.[9] In 1220 Jocelyn III's daughter Beatrix de Courtenay and her husband Otto von Botenlauben, Count of Henneberg, sold their land, including Cassie and the nearby Roeis (Khirbet Tell ‘er-Ruwesah/Tel Rosh), to the Teutonic Knights.[10]

Remains from the Mamluk era have been found in the area.[11]

Ottoman era

Dayr al-Qassi was incorporated into the Ottoman Empire in 1517 and it belonged to the nahiya (subdistrict) of Jira, part of the Safad Sanjak (District of Safed). In the 1596 tax records Dayr al-Qassi had a population of 24 Muslim household; an estimated 132 persons. The villagers paid a fixed tax-rated of 25% on a number of crops, including wheat and barley, as well as on goats and beehives; a total of 345 akçe.[12][13]

In the early 18th century, Dayr al-Qassi was a fortified village controlled by a local sheikh (chief) named Abd al-Khaliq Salih. In 1740, Sheikh Zahir al-Umar, an Arab mutasallim (tax collector) from the al-Zayadina clan whose strength was growing throughout the Galilee, struggled to gain control of Dayr al-Qassi. Later that year, he made the village part of his domain by marrying Sheikh Salih's daughter, thereby sealing an alliance with the latter's clan.[14] In late 1767, Zahir's son Ali of Safad requested control of Dayr al-Qassi from his father after his request for Dayr Hanna was rejected. Zahir refused and the two entered into an armed conflict, which Zahir won. Nonetheless, Zahir pardoned Ali and ultimately ceded the village to him.[15]

In 1838, Deir el-Kasy was noted as a Muslim village in the El Jebel district, located west of Safad.[16]

Victor Guérin visited Dayr al-Qassi in 1875, and he estimated that the village had 350 Muslim inhabitants.[2] In 1881, Dayr al-Qassi was described in the PEF's Survey of Western Palestine (SWP) as being situated on a ridge, encircled by fig trees, olive trees and arable land. It then had a population of about 200.[17]

A population list from about 1887 showed Deir el Kasy to have about 945 inhabitants, all Muslims.[18]

British Mandate period

Two women from Dayr al-Qassi, 1937

At the time of the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate, Dair Wal Qasi had a population of 663, all Muslims,[19] increasing in the 1931 census, when Deir el Qasi had a population of 865, still all Muslims, living in a total of 169 houses.[20]

Later, Dayr al-Qassi was mostly Muslim but had a large Palestinian Christian minority. According to the 1945 census it had 1,250 inhabitants; 370 Christians and 880 Muslims.[4][21] Together with the two villages of Fassuta (existent) and al-Mansura, the population was 2,300 and their total land area was 34,011 dunums.[22] 1,607 dunams were plantations and irrigable land, 6,475 used for cereals,[23] while 247 dunams were built-up (urban) land.[24]


During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Dayr al-Qassi was defended by the Arab Liberation Army but the village was occupied by the Israeli Army during its offensive Operation Hiram on October 30, 1948.[5] At the same time, Dayr al-Qassi was bombed by the Israelis, apparently "by mistake", and 7 residents were killed.[25] In December, 1948, there was a suggestion of sending new Jewish immgrants to settle Al-Bassa, Dayr al-Qassi and Tarshiha, but Cisling objected to sending military untrained new immigrants there.[26]

However, in January, 1949, the Cabinet voted to "encourage introducing ‘olim into all the abandoned villages in the Galilee".[27] The village's residents were (again) expelled on 27 May 1949 and most migrated north into Lebanon.[5] By June, 1949, it was reported that the whole northern area had been "Judaised", including Tarshiha, Suhmata, Dayr al-Qassi, Tarbikha, Meiron, Al-Sammu'i, Safsaf and Al-Ras al-Ahmar.[28]

Elkosh was established in 1949, and occupies part of the village site. Netu'a, founded in 1966, Mattat, founded in 1979 and Abirim, founded in 1980, are also on village land. Netu'a is near the neighboring village of al-Mansura.[5]

The Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, described the remaining structures on the village land in 1992: "A few stone houses still are used as residences or warehouses by the inhabitants of Elqosh. The debris of destroyed houses is strewn over the site. The school building stands deserted. Fig and olive trees and cactuses grow on the site."[5] In 2004, some of the remains of the village were removed by mechanical equipment during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority.[29]

In 2000, a book about the village history was published by Ibrahim Khalil Uthman.[30]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #63. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  2. ^ a b Guérin, 1880, p. 71
  3. ^ Palmer, 1881, p. 71
  4. ^ a b Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 4
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Khalidi, 1992, p. 13
  6. ^ Morris, 2004, p. xxii, settlement #182
  7. ^ a b Khalidi, 1992, p. 12
  8. ^ Dauphin, 1998, p. 648
  9. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 15-16, No. 16; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 125, No. 624; cited in Frankel, 1988, pp. 257, 264
  10. ^ Strehlke, 1869, pp. 43- 44, No. 53; cited in Röhricht, 1893, RRH, p. 248, No. 934; cited in Frankel, 1988, pp. 257, 264.
  11. ^ Lerer, 2011, Elqosh
  12. ^ Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 177. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 12
  13. ^ Note that Rhode, 1979, p. 6 Archived 2019-04-20 at the Wayback Machine writes that the register that Hütteroth and Abdulfattah studied was not from 1595/6, but from 1548/9
  14. ^ Joudah, 1987, p. 24.
  15. ^ Joudah, 1987, p. 53.
  16. ^ Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol. 3, 2nd appendix, p. 133
  17. ^ Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p.197. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 12
  18. ^ Schumacher, 1888, p. 190
  19. ^ Barron, 1923, Table XI, Sub-district of Safad, p. 41
  20. ^ Mills, 1932, p. 106.
  21. ^ Village Statistics April 1945, The Palestine Government Archived June 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, p. 2
  22. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 40
  23. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 80
  24. ^ Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 130
  25. ^ Peled, Kobi (2014). "Oral testimonies, archival sources, and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War: A close look at the occupation of a Galilean village". Journal of Israeli History. 33: 41–61. doi:10.1080/13531042.2014.886833. S2CID 159504045.
  26. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 394; note #332
  27. ^ Morris, 2004, p. 394; note #333
  28. ^ Morris, 2004, pp. 381-382; note #226
  29. ^ Braun, 2004, Elqosh Archive Report- Final Report Archived 2013-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Davis, 2011, p. 285
  31. ^ "Palestinian General Delegation in Canada". Archived from the original on 2021-05-15. Retrieved 15 May 2021.


External links