For the wooly mammoth calf discovered in 2007, see Lyuba.

Map of the area from the 1870s
Arabic لوبيا
Name meaning "Bean"[1]
Also spelled Lubiya, Lubia
Subdistrict Tiberias
Coordinates 32°46′33.20″N 35°25′45.66″E / 32.7758889°N 35.4293500°E / 32.7758889; 35.4293500Coordinates: 32°46′33.20″N 35°25′45.66″E / 32.7758889°N 35.4293500°E / 32.7758889; 35.4293500
Palestine grid 190/242
Population 2,350[2] (1945)
Area 39,629 dunams
39.6 km²
Date of depopulation July 16–17, 1948[3]
Cause(s) of depopulation Fear of being caught up in the fighting
Secondary cause Military assault by Yishuv forces
Current localities Lavi, Lavi Pine Forest, South African Park
Al-Nabi Shwamin grave in Lubya

Lubya (Arabic: لوبيا "bean"), sometimes transliterated Lubia, was a Palestinian Arab town located ten kilometers west of Tiberias that was captured and destroyed by Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Nearby villages included Nimrin to the north, Hittin to the northwest, and al-Shajara to the south; Each of those villages were also depopulated.[4]

Lubya had a total land area of 39,629 dunams (3,963ha), of which 83% was Arab-owned and the remainder public property. Most of its cultivable land was planted with cereals while only 1,500 dunams (150 ha) were planted with olive groves. The village's built-up area was 210 dunams (21 ha).[5][6][7]


The village was known as Lubia by the Crusaders and was a rest stop for Saladin's Ayyubid army prior to the Battle of Hattin.[8][9] It's also the birthplace of a prominent 15th century Muslim scholar Abu Bakr al-Lubyani, who taught Islamic religious sciences in Damascus.[10]

Ottoman era

Lubya belonged to the nahiya ("district") of Tiberias 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. Its population was recorded as 182 Muslim families and 32 Muslim bachelors.[11] The Ottoman governor of Damascus, Sulayman Pasha al-Azm died in the village while on his way to confront the rebellious de facto Arab ruler of the Galilee. Zahir al-Umar.[10] A map by Pierre Jacotin, from 1799 showed the place named Loubia.[12]

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.[10][13]

In the early 19th century, a British traveler, James Silk Buckingham described Lubya as a very large village on top of a high hill.[14] Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss traveler to Palestine, referred to the village as "Louby" and noted that wild artichokes covered the village plain.[15][16] The American scholar Robinson, who passed through the village in 1838, noted that it had suffered greatly from the Galilee earthquake of 1837, with 143 villagers reported dead.[17]

Mark Twain mentioned it in his 1869 travel book, "The Innocents Abroad": "We jogged along peacefully over the great caravan route from Damascus to Jerusalem and Egypt, past Lubia and other Syrian hamlets, perched, in the unvarying style, upon the summit of steep mounds and hills, and fenced round about with giant cactuses".[18]

In 1875 the French explorer Victor Guérin visited the village, called Loubieh, and estimated it had 700 inhabitants.[19] He further noted that: "A house built of cut stones of medium size in the direction of east and west appears to occupy the site, and to be built out of old materials formerly used for a Christian Church"[20]

Later that century, the village was described as being built of stone, on top of a limestone hill. Its population, estimated to be between 400 and 700, cultivated olive and fig trees.[21]

An elementary school was established in 1895 and remained in use throughout the rule of the British Mandate of Palestine from 1923-1947.

British Mandate era

In the 1922 census of Palestine conducted by the British Mandate authorities the population was 1,712; 1,705 Muslims, four Christians and three Druze,[22] increasing in the 1931 census to 1,850; 1,849 Muslims and one Christian, in a total of 405 houses.[23] During this period, Lubya was the second largest village in the Tiberias District.[24]

According to the Palestine Government's village statistics, Lubya had a population of 2,350 in 1945, all Muslim.[2][5] All the inhabitants were Muslim.[25] The total land area was 39,629 dunams.[5] Of this, a total of 1,655 dunams were for plantations and irrigable land, 32,310 for cereals,[6] while a total of 210 dunams were built-up land.[7]

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 the Jewish militias which would soon become the Israeli Army; the first Israeli raid on the village occurred on January 20, 1948, coordinated with one on nearby Tur'an, 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.[16] 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.[26]

In early March, Israeli forces attempted to create a route between Tiberias and the village of Shajara, which required attacking Lubya. During the attack militiamen repulsed the Israelis, killing seven and losing six of their own.[10][16]

After Tiberias was occupied by Israel, Lubya turned to the ALA in nearby Nazareth for military support and guidance.[10][16]

In early June, the 14th. battalion from the Golani Brigade was ordered to take Lubya and "to expel its inhabitants." However, the attack failed, due to heavy resistance from the villagers.[27]

The ALA attacked 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.[10][16]

After news of Nazareth's fall, the majority of non-combatant village residents fled north towards Lebanon 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 Lubya, demolished a few houses and commandeered many others.[10][16] The village was finally demolished in the 1960s.[28]


The Israeli town of Lavi was built on Lubya's land, northeast of the village site.[24] 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 localities in Israel.[16]


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.

The village's residents predominantly adhered to Islam.[16] It was estimated that there was 16,741 Palestinian refugees descending from Lubya in 1998.[4] After 1948, the majority of refugees lived at the Wavel refugee camp in Lebanon and other places in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.[29] A few hundred remained in Israel as present absentees, living first in Kafr Kana.[30] After the departure of the PLO from Lebanon in 1983 and the Sabra and Shatila massacres, many Lubya refugees emigrated from Lebanon to Europe. By 2003 about 2,000 lived in Denmark, Sweden and Germany.[29]

See also


  1. Palmer, 1881, p. 130
  2. 1 2 Department of Statistics, 1945, p. 12
  3. Morris, 2004, p. xvii, village #96. Also gives the causes for depopulation
  4. 1 2 Welcome to Lubya: Towns Statistics and Facts Palestine Remembered.
  5. 1 2 3 Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 72
  6. 1 2 Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 122
  7. 1 2 Government of Palestine, Department of Statistics. Village Statistics, April, 1945. Quoted in Hadawi, 1970, p. 172
  8. Reston, James Jr. (2001). Warriors of God. First Anchor Books: p.51. ISBN 0-385-49562-5
  9. Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 368
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lubya Nashashibi, Rami. Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society. Birzeit University. June 1996.
  11. Hütteroth and Abdulfattah, 1977, p. 187
  12. Karmon, 1960, p. 166
  13. Guérin, 1880, p. 185
  14. Buckingham, 1821, p. 491
  15. Burckhardt, 1822, p. 333
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Davis, Uri. (2003) Apartheid Israel: Possibilities for the Struggle Within Zed Books: pp.55-58. ISBN 1-84277-339-9
  17. Robinson and Smith, 1841, vol 3, p. 238
  18. Twain, 1869, p. 519
  19. Guérin, 1880, p. 184
  20. Guérin, 1880, p. 184, as translated by Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 412
  21. Conder and Kitchener, 1881, SWP I, p. 361. Quoted in Khalidi, 1992, p. 527
  22. Barron, 1923, Table IX, Sub-district of Tiberias, p. 39
  23. Mills, 1932, p. 83
  24. 1 2 Khalidi, 1992, p. 527
  25. Village Statistics April 1945, The Palestine Government, p. 7
  26. Tal, David (2004) War in Palestine, 1948 Routledge: p.69 ISBN 0-7146-5275-X
  27. Morris, 2004, p. 262, note 810 p. 308 based on report IDFArchive 665\51\\2
  28. Aron Shai, The Fate of Abandoned Arab Villages in Israel, 1965–1969, History & Memory, Vol. 18, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2006, pp. 86-106.
  29. 1 2 Mahmoud Issa, Resisting oblivion: Historiography of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya, Refuge, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2003, pp. 14–22
  30. Rassem Khamaisi, Land ownership as a determinant in the formation of residential areas in Arab localities, Geoforum, Vol. 26, No.2 1995, pp211–224.


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