About Suhmata

District of Acre

Suhmata, located in map location 179-268, was a Canaanite village, its name originates from Syriac and means light and sunrise. Its known history starts from the Persian attack of 612-627 AD. This attack destroyed the village and its location was changed from the northern to the southern mound. Islam arrived to the area in 636 AD.

A Byzantine - era Church
The Crusaders conquered it and left behind several ancient sites, including a fortress in the eastern neighborhood and a wall encircling the western village. After Salah al-Din el-Ayoubi liberated the village from the Crusaders, Dahr el-Omar el-Zaydani renovated the fortress.

Suhmata is situated 575 meters above sea level, and about 30 km northeast of Acre. The village lands extend over more than 17,000 dunams, and it was known for its olives, which were planted over an area of 2,100 dunams. It had three olive presses; a modern press and
a mill were built a few years prior to the Nakba. The peasants of the village traded mostly in tobacco, but also in figs, cactus fruit and sumac.

In 1948 the village had 1,200 residents. Sixty-four were Christian, the rest were Muslim; the two communities had good relations.

Village Statistics & Facts

Land ownership before occupation
Ethnic Group Land Ownership (dunams)
Arab 9,572
Jewish 0
Public 7,484
Total 17,056 (5,141 arable)

Population before occupation
Year Population
19th century 400
1922 632
1931 796
1945 1,130
1948 1,200

Number of houses
1931: 175      1948: more than 200

Schools Two schools: the first was a primary school for boys, founded by the Ottomans in 1886. The second was an agricultural school founded during the British Mandate.

Religious institutions
One mosque and one church

Water supplies
Suhmata had two rain-fed pools, providing water and irrigation, and several springs and private wells for drinking.

Archeological sites
The village contained a Crusader fortress known as Samueth, and a Byzantine-era church dating back to 550 AD. Mosaic pictures were found on its grounds in 1932. Around the village there are several ancient, ruined sites like Arhata, Berza, Rakhasoun and Rass Ahbad. Two wadis (small streams) run through the village lands.

Conquest and uprooting
Israeli airplanes bombarded the village on 28 October 1948, after which it was totally demolished, including the mosque and part of the church. Sixteen people were killed in the village and the rest were expelled, mainly to Syria and Lebanon. Seven percent of the population stayed in Israel, and today they and their descendents number some 600
people, living in Fasuta, Kufr Sume', Tarshiha, Buqe'a, Rame, Mazra'a, Acre, Makr, Shefa'amr and Haifa. Two Israeli settlements were built on the village land, Hosen and Tsuriel, as well as a part of the town of Ma'alot and a recreational lake.

Continuing struggle
As part of the 250,000 internally displaced Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel, we are still suffering from the results of the 1948 Nakba, created by the Zionist conquest.

Consecutive Israeli governments have stolen refugee property and homes, destroyed our villages and confiscated our lands by means of ethnically discriminatory legislation and by denying our right to return to our homeland, based on UN Resolution 194 of 1948.

After fifty-seven years Palestinians still live in exile or are displaced in their homeland. In this climate of ethnic discrimination, Abnaa Suhmata Association is an active member in the Association for the Defense of the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Israel. We fight to return back to our home in the spirit of the Return Rally, held in Nazareth in March 2000:
As part of the entire Arab-Palestinian people, we wish to declare:

- The refugee issue is the heart of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

- The Palestinian refugees' right to return to their homeland and homes is a sacred right whose implementation must be based on UN Resolution 194.

- We warn of the consequences of attempts to deny the rights of the Palestinian refugees, either openly or behind closed doors. We state with a loud voice that there will be no just solution without a solution of the issue of the refugees and the internally displaced.

Wajih Seman

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