Huj

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Huj
Huj is located in Mandatory Palestine
Huj
Arabicهوج
Also Spelledal-Hug
Sub-districtGaza
Coordinates31°30′35″N 34°37′21″E / 31.50972°N 34.62250°E / 31.50972; 34.62250Coordinates: 31°30′35″N 34°37′21″E / 31.50972°N 34.62250°E / 31.50972; 34.62250
Population1,040 (1945)
Area21,988 dunams

22.9 km²

Date of depopulationMay 31, 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulationExpulsion by Yishuv forces
Current localitiesDorot
 
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Huj
Huj is located in Mandatory Palestine
Huj
Arabicهوج
Also Spelledal-Hug
Sub-districtGaza
Coordinates31°30′35″N 34°37′21″E / 31.50972°N 34.62250°E / 31.50972; 34.62250Coordinates: 31°30′35″N 34°37′21″E / 31.50972°N 34.62250°E / 31.50972; 34.62250
Population1,040 (1945)
Area21,988 dunams

22.9 km²

Date of depopulationMay 31, 1948[1]
Cause(s) of depopulationExpulsion by Yishuv forces
Current localitiesDorot

Huj (Arabic: هوج‎) was a Palestinian Arab village located 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) northeast of Gaza City. Identified as the site of the ancient Philistine town of Oga,[2] the modern village was founded by the Ottomans in the early 19th century.

Situated in a hilly area on the northern edge of the Negev Desert, its total land area amounted to approximately 22,000 dunams of which about 3/4 was in Arab ownership while the remaining 1/4 belonged to Jewish owners and the general public. According to a 1945 census, Huj and the nearby town of Dorot had a population of 1,040 inhabitants, of which most were Arab and 240 were Jewish.[3]

History[edit]

Identified with the Philistine town of Oga, it is notable for being depicted on the 6th century Map of Madaba.[2]

The modern village of Huj, was established sometime between 1818 and 1820 by Mustafa Bey, the Ottoman Governor of Gaza and Jaffa. He built a police station to keep the village secure, and offered free land to encourage migration to the site from Gaza from amongst the surrounding Bedouin tribes. Huj and its greater vicinity were dominated by the tribes of Jebarat and Wahaideh, the latter of which participated in the 1834 rebellion against Egyptian rule. The rebellion was suppressed and most the Wahaideh were killed, imprisoned, or forced to work the lands, while the rest fled the area. In 1838, Edward Robinson noted that its houses were built of mud and that the population ranged from 200 to 300, most of whom made a living through grain cultivation and bread making.[4] In the late 19th century, "The Survey of Western Palestine" described it as a "small mud village on flat ground. It has a well some 200 feet deep. It is named from Nebi Huj".[5]

Huj witnessed battles between Ottoman and British forces known as the Charge at Huj in 1917, . Following Great Britain's victory and the establishment of the British Mandate in Palestine, Huj expanded eastward and to the west. Water was provided by a 200-foot-deep (61 m) well, and by other wells in surrounding riverbeds. The inhabitants cultivated grains, apricots, figs, grapes, and almonds.[6]

Ottoman heliograph crew at Huj during World War I, 1917.

At the time of the 1931 census, Huj had 118 occupied houses and a population of 618 Muslims.[7]

1948 war and aftermath[edit]

Huj had traditionally been friendly towards the Yishuv; in 1946 its inhabitants had hidden Haganah men from the British. In mid-December 1947, while on a visit to Gaza, the mukhtar and his brother were shot dead by a mob that accused them of collaboration.[8] But by the end of May 1948, given the proximity of advancing Egyptian forces, the Negev Brigade decided to expel the inhabitants. On 31 May, the brigade expelled the villagers of Huj to the Gaza Strip, then preceded to loot and blow up their houses.[9]

In September 1948 former villagers of Huj, noting that the area around Huj was quiet, appealed to Israel to allow them back. Members of the "Department of Minority Affairs" (Shitrit and Shimoni) wrote that the inhabitants deserved special treatment as they had been "loyal", and had not fled but were expelled. However, the Israeli defence authorities decided not to allow the villagers back.[10]

In 1998, refugees from Huj in Gaza numbered an estimated 6,000 people.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morris, 2004, p. XX, village #366. Also gives cause of depopulation.
  2. ^ a b Oga - (Huj) Studium Biblicum Franciscanum - Jerusalem. 2000-12-19.
  3. ^ Gaza District Stats from Village Statistics of 1945: A Classification of Land and Area ownership in Palestine (1970) Hadawi, Sami. The Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center
  4. ^ Robinson, 1841, p.385.
  5. ^ Conder and Kitchener, SWP III, 1881, p.260.
  6. ^ Khalidi, 1992, p.103.
  7. ^ E. Mills, ed. (1932). Census of Palestine 1931. Population of Villages, Towns and Administrative Areas. Jerusalem: Government of Palestine. p. 3. 
  8. ^ 6th Airborne Division Logbook, entry for 15 Dec. 1947, PRO WO 275-52. Cited in Morris, 2004, p.258
  9. ^ Palmah HQ, "Daily Report", 31 May 1948, IDFA 922\75\\1214; ´Oded´ to Palmah HQ, 1 Jun. 1948, KWA-PA 105-122; and Farda, Gavri and Frisch to Ben-Gurion, 4 Aug. 1948, ISA FM 2564\9. The three kibbutz headmen complained about the treatment meted out to Huj. Ben-Gurion responded (Ben-Gurion to headmen of Dorot, Nir-Am and Ruhama, 29 Aug. 1948, DBG Archive, Correspondance) that: "I hope that the HQ will pay attention to what you say, and will avoid such unjust and unjustified actions in the future, and will set right these things in so far as possible with respect to the past." But Ben-Gurion avoided a specific condemnation of the expulsion and did not instruct the IDF to let the villagers return or to safeguard their property. Cited in Morris, p. 258, Notes: p. 306, 307
  10. ^ Morris, 2004, p, 332, 333
  11. ^ Welcome to Huj PalestineRemembered

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]