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Operation Dekel (Hebrew: מבצע דקל‎, Mivtza Dekel, lit. Operation Palm Tree), was the largest offensive by Israeli forces in the north of Israel after the first truce of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It was carried out by the 7th Armoured Brigade led by Canadian volunteer Ben Dunkelman (called Benjamin Ben-David in Israel), a battalion from the Carmeli Brigade, and some elements from the Golani Brigade between 8–18 July. Its objective was to capture Nazareth and the Lower Galilee.

On 15 July Israeli aircraft bombed Saffuriya village and caused panic among the population; many of the villagers fled northwards toward Lebanon, others found shelter in Nazareth, leaving about 100 elderly people behind.

On the evening of 16 July, Nazareth surrendered to the Israelis after a light fight which left one Israeli dead and one wounded. The Arab Liberation Army forces in the village under the command of Fawzi al-Qawuqji retreated to the mountains in the north. In sharp contrast to the surrounding towns, the inhabitants of Nazareth were never forced to evacuate as Dunkelman refused to obey orders from Haim Laskov to evacuate them.[1]

Arab localities captured in Operation DekelEdit

Operation Dekel

Operation Dekel. July 1948

Name Population[2] Date Brigade Notes
Kuwaykat1,0509 July7th Armoured Brigade and Carmeli BrigadeVillage depopulated and destroyed
Kafr Yasif1,057 (1931)10 JulyCarmeli Brigade Most of Muslim population as well as refugees from other villages deported. Town exists today.
Khirbat Jiddin1,50010–11 JulyVillage and bedouin camps depopulated and destroyed.
Julisn/a (Druze)8–14 JulyPopulation allowed to remain in their homes. Town exists today.
Al-Makrn/a8–14 July Town exists today.
I'billin1,0578–14 July Muslim population expelled. Town exists today.
Shefa-'Amr3,6408–14 July7th Armoured Brigade and Carmeli Brigade Muslim population fled under bombardmennt. Town exists today.
Kabul457 (1931)15 July7th Armoured BrigadeVillagers remained. Town exists today.
Al-Mujaydil190015 JulyGolani BrigadeVillage completely emptied and raised to the ground.
Ma'lul69015 JulyVillage depopulated and destroyed.
Saffuriya4,00016 JulyCarmeli BrigadeVillagers expelled. Hundreds of returnees expelled November 1948 and January 1949. Nothing remains.
Nazareth18,00016 JulyCarmeli BrigadePopulation allowed to remain. Town exists today.
Nimrin32017 JulyVillage depopulated and destroyed.
Lubya2,37017 JulyVillagers not allowed to return. Village buildings destroyed in 1960s.
Hittin1,19017 JulyGolani BrigadeVillagers fled before the attack and then prevented from returning. Village destroyed.
Amqa1,24015–16 July7th Armoured Brigade and Carmeli BrigadeVillage depopulated and destroyed.
ad-Damun1,31015–16 July7th Armoured BrigadeVillage bombarded, population expelled and buildings destroyed.
Tamra,15–18 July7th Armoured BrigadeVillagers evacuated 20 May. Re-populated with exiles from neighbouring villages.
Mi'ar77015–18 July7th Armoured BrigadeVillagers fled from advancing soldiers. Village destroyed.
Yafa833 (1931)15–18 JulyTown exists today.
Uzeir15015–18 JulyVillage exists today.
Kfar Kanna1,175 (1922)15–18 July7th Armoured BrigadeTown exists today.
Rummana59015–18 JulyVillage exists today.
Bu'eina15–18 JulyTown exists today.
Al-Ruways33018 July7th Armoured BrigadeVillagers fled under bombardment and buildings destroyed. Land now used by kibbutz Yas'ur.
Tur'an1,35018 JulyEmpty houses used for refugees expelled from other villages. Town exists today.
Nahf200 (1881)18 July7th Armoured BrigadePopulation allowed to remain. Town exists today.
Al-Birwa1,46018 JulyUnits of ALA involved in defending the village. After capture villagers were prevented from returning and the village was destroyed.
Sha'b1,74019 JulyVillagers expelled, later replaced by exiles from other villages.

See alsoEdit


  1. Said, E.W. & Hitchens, C. (2001) Blaming the Victims pp. 86-87 ISBN 1-85984-340-9
  2. 'All That Remains',ISBN 0-88728-224-5, quoting 1944/45 census.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 32°46′53.41″N 35°12′6.26″E / 32.7815028°N 35.2017389°E / 32.7815028; 35.2017389

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