The Palestinian village of Constantine was occupied by Israeli forces from the Givati ​​Brigade on July 9, 1948 (social media sites)

A Palestinian village displaced since 1948, located to the northeast of Gaza City. It is one of the villages in the southern coastal plain of Palestine. The Israeli occupation forces seized its lands and expelled its Palestinian Arab residents from it. Several Israeli settlements were established on its lands, including Avigdor, Kfar Ahim, and Kiryat Malachi.

The name of the village and the settlement built on its ruins, “Kiryat Malachi,” was mentioned when the Palestinian citizen Fadi Jamjoum - who is from the Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp in the Jerusalem area - opened fire on a group of Israelis at a bus station in Kiryat Malachi on Friday, February 16, 2024, and killed a number of people. The dead and wounded.

the site

The village of Al-Qastina (also called Qastina) is located 38 kilometers northeast of Gaza City and 3 kilometers from the village of Al-Masmiya Al-Kabira, which is the largest of its neighbors among the displaced Palestinian villages.

The village is located on a patch of high land in the coastal plain, mostly level, and about 50 meters above sea level. It is located on the main road between the city of Majdal and the main road between Jerusalem and Jaffa, and it is considered the most prominent road leading to Jerusalem.

It is surrounded by several Palestinian villages, including: Tal Al-Turmus, Biyar Tabiya, Yasour, Al-Batani Al-Sharqi, Al-Masmiya Al-Saghira, Al-Masmiya Al-Kabira, Al-Sawafir Al-Sharqiya, and Al-Sawafir Al-Shamaliya.


The village's population was estimated at 406 people in 1922, and its number increased to 593 in 1931, including about 350 females and 250 males, and they lived in 147 houses.

In 1945, its population was estimated at about 890 people, all of them Arab Muslims, so this number rose in the latest statistics before the 1948 Nakba to 1,030 people, and those who were displaced on July 9, 1948.

The village had a mosque and a primary school that was established in 1936, and its students were all from Qastiniyah until the year 1946 when the village of Tal Termos - which neighbors it from the southeastern side - shared the primary school with it, which since that year became the property of the two villages.

Until the mid-1940s, the number of students in the school was 161 registered students. Its students were divided into 6 grades, and were taught by 4 teachers, 3 of whom were paid by the village. By 1948, a total of 50 men in the village had mastered reading and writing.

In 1998, Palestinian institutions concerned with the numbers and whereabouts of Palestinian refugees estimated that the number of refugees from the village of Qastina reached about 6,340 people.

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It is believed that the name Constantine is Roman in origin, and is derived from the name of the city of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantines, whose name became Istanbul.

The book “Ithaf Al-Azza fi Tarikh Gaza” by Sheikh Othman Mustafa Al-Tabbaa refers to the role of the Roman King Constantine in liberating Gaza and building its port. He called it and its surroundings “Constantine,” then appointed a bishop for it, so this village near Gaza was named after him, with a distortion in The name, as King Constantine honored it with a visit, so it was called Constantia.


The village's economy was mainly dependent on agriculture. It paid taxes to the workers of the Ottoman Empire on a number of crops, including wheat, barley, sesame, and fruit. This indicates the strength of the village and its diverse livelihood.

This is in addition to other products - including raising cows, sheep and goats - beehives and vineyards. The village was also famous for growing citrus fruits - especially oranges - as well as grains.

In addition to agriculture, its residents worked in raising animals and poultry, and participated in establishing the British camp that was built on the outskirts of the village, which later turned into Israeli settlements.

The area of ​​Constantine's lands was about 12 square kilometers, and oranges alone were planted on an area of ​​0.335 square kilometers of land, all of which belonged to Palestinian Arabs, and the depth of its wells was about 40 meters, while the area of ​​the inhabited village was 37 dunums.

The village of Qastina is 38 kilometers northeast of Gaza City and 3 kilometers from the village of Al-Masmiya Al-Kabira (social media sites)

The occupation of Constantine and the displacement of its population

The village of Qastina was mentioned in the plan "Dalet" (the letter D in Hebrew), which aimed to occupy several villages, including this village.

Israeli forces from the Givati ​​Brigade occupied the village of Qastina on July 9, 1948, that is, only one day after the end of the first truce between the Arab armies and the Israeli occupation forces, as the brigade advanced south towards the lands that were under the control of the Egyptian authorities.

During the ten days between the two truces (from July 8 to 18, 1948), the brigade succeeded in displacing and occupying 16 villages, including the village of Constantine.

It is likely that the residents of Constantine were displaced south towards Gaza, as the operational orders issued by Major General Shimon Avidan included the expulsion of civilians to the south, to areas under Egyptian control.

Qastina village after displacement

All that remains of the village are traces of houses and their debris scattered throughout its site, in addition to the paved road that passed through the center of the village before it was occupied.

The road is covered with eucalyptus trees, which the occupation has been planting in displaced villages, in accordance with the policy of afforestation of occupied sites in order to erase their traces and change their image.

The book “Lest We Forget,” by Walid Al-Khalidi, mentions that a group of researchers visited the village immediately after its occupation, and described its remaining land as being full of the “hibiscus” plant that the Palestinians used to cook. Later, a photographer returned to the village to find the hibiscus plant completely burned.

Settlements on the lands of the village of Qastina

In 1939, Israeli settlers coming from Germany, Central Europe, and Eastern Europe, with the support and encouragement of the British Mandate authorities, established the “Kfar Warburg” colony on the village lands, 3 kilometers southwest of its central location, as well as Kiryat Shmuel, which became part of the “Kiryat Malachi” colony. .

In 1949, after its occupation by the Israeli occupation forces, settlers established the “Arogot” and “Kfar Ahim” colonies.

In the years 1950 and 1951, the colonies of “Avigdor” and “Kiryat Malachi” were established, the latter of which was named after the author of one of the books of the Old Testament, the Book of Malachi, and in honor of the Jewish community in Los Angeles, United States of America, for its continuous support in establishing settlements on the occupied lands.

Source: websites