Contributed by Turathuna Bethlehem University on 11.07.2006:
Location from Jerusalem: 14.5 km
Land ownership in 1944/45:
‘Aqqur before 1948:
The village stood on the lower eastern slope of Mt.Shaykh Ahmad Sulayman and faced south, where it overlooked Wadi Isma’il (a tributary of Wadi al-Sarar). The Jerusalem-Jaffa railway line passed along this wadi. Dirt paths linked ‘Aqqur to other villages in the area. In the late nineteenth century, ‘Aqqur was a small village built on a ridge and surrounded by very rugged ground. Under the mandate, it was classified as a hamlet by the Palestinian Index Gazetteer and had a small number of (mostly stone-built) houses that were crowded together in a semi-circular plan. Village agriculture was rainfed and was based on olives and grain. Olive trees surrounded the village on all sides, especially on the southern side, along Wadi Isma’il. In 1944/45, a lot of dunums were planted in cereals and olive trees. The adjacent slopes, covered with wild trees and herbs, were used for grazing and as a source of firewood. The maqam (shrine) and spring of Shaykh Ahmad Sulayman were on the southwestern edge of the village.
Occupation and depopulation:
Israeli historian Benny Morris writes that the village was taken on 13-14 July 1948, during the second phase of Operation Dani. But another Israeli source, the History of the Haganah, states that the village was occupied two months earlier (13May), during the implementation of plan Dalet. This information is probably incorrect, since the village is mentioned in connection with a few others which lie some 35 km to the west, near the city of Isdud. Moreover the New York Times quoted an Egyptian communiqué which stated that ‘Aqqur was entered by Egyptian forces just before the first truce, on 10 June.
The Village Today:
There are no Israeli settlements on village lands. Instead , there are a thick forest of fire and cypress trees has been planted on the site. Within the forest, stone rubble and the ruins of walls with arched openings and terraces are visible. Cactuses and fig, almond, and olive trees are also grow on the site, along with grass and thorns. The forest was established by the Jewish National fund.
Source: Khalidi, Walid. All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948. Washington, D.C: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992.