Haifa, some History
Old Haifa 37-640

Haifa in the Middle Ages 640-1291
1100 Haifa conquered by the Crusaders
The eras of the Mamelukes and the Ottomans  1291-1918
1799 Taken by Napoleon
1839 Captured by Egypt 1839;
1840 Conquered by Turkey 1840;
1918 Taken by the British 1918  
Modern Haifa 1761-1918
From desert sands to golden oranges the history of
the German Templar
Haifa during the British Mandate period 1918-1948
1922 Palestine mandate
Temples, mosques, churches in Haifa

I.N.A. videos
Haifa since the  Foundation of Israel
History of the port of Haifa
History of Haifa port
History of the City of Haifa Museum  Beit HaAm
Homo Sapiens Haifa
M. Michaud Correspondance d'Orient

L Janet Jerusalem et la Terre Sainte

Leonie de Bazelaire Chevauchee en Palestine
Doubdan  Akko,  Naaman and Kishon rivers , Carmel  mount and Haifa
Shikmona potteries  and mosaics
The Atlit bronze ram
National Maritime Museum
Theodore Herzl
Palmer, plan for the project of Haifa port
Acco St Jean d'Acre,  port and walls circa 1500
The Bay, Acco et Haifa 1760
Nazareth and Tiberias
Baybars Kuran (British Library)
Atlit Bay Castel Pellerin
Spilsbury, Acre market
Alexander the Great,  Tel Dor
At the Meggido battle, the Turcs are
defeated by the troops of General Allenby.
End of the Ottoman period
WWI next to Haifa,  ANZAC
Illegal immigrants camp , Atlit
From The History of the Jewish People

1100 July 25, HAIFA (Eretz Israel)
Jewish residents joined with the Fatimids of Egypt in defending the city. Tancred, who unsuccessfully attacked Haifa, was
reprimanded for his lack of success and told that he made "a mockery of the God of the Christians." Once the city fell, the
remaining Jews were massacred by the crusading forces.

1109 TIBERIAS (Eretz Israel)
Fell to the Crusaders. As a rule, once the military conquest ended the Jewish inhabitants were left alone. The notable
exceptions were Haifa and Jerusalem (see 1099).

This marked the greatest extent of Napoleon's conquest of Eretz Israel. The next day the French reached Acre. It was
successfully defended by both British warships and local towns people, including the Jewish inhabitants. By June, Napoleon
gave up and returned to Egypt.

1824 - 1904 KALONYMUS ZE'EV WISSOTZKY (Russia)
Merchant and philanthropist. Wissotzky was one of the earliest supporters of the Zionist movement. He established a
successful tea house which still bears his name. Upon his death, he left his share of the business (one million Rubles) to
charity, part of which went to found the Technion in Haifa.

Ten years after the first Zionist Congress there were approximately 80,000 Jewish inhabitants in Eretz Israel: 45,000 in
Jerusalem, 8000 in Jaffa, 8000 in Safed, 2000 in Haifa, 2000 in Tiberias, and 1000 in Hebron. In addition, there were 14,000
people living in over 30 villages and underdeveloped land.

Was established. Later known as the Israel Land Development Authority (ILDC), the authority was in charge of purchasing
and cultivating land for the Jewish National Fund and for private individuals. Its first Chairman was Otto Warburg and its
first director Arthur Ruppin. The company was instrumental in establishing settlements such as Nahalal, Tel Yosef, Ein
Harod, and the first kibbutz, Degania. Many of its purchases were in the Sharon Plain, and the Hula valley. They also played
a major role in developing Tel Aviv and the Hadar Carmel section of Haifa.

1912 April 11, HAIFA (Eretz Israel)
The Technikum, later to be known as the Technion, was founded. In 1913 the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden (Ezra), which
established the Haifa Technion, was struck by both teachers and students when they tried to institute German as the school's
language instead of Hebrew. The American co-trustees agreed with the strikers and the Society left Eretz Israel after the First
World War. Due to both the strike and the approaching war the school did not actually begin classes until 1924.

1915 April, ERETZ ISRAEL - NILI (Hebrew initials for Netzah Israel Lo Yeshaker)
Was organized by Avshalom Feinberg and Aaron Aaronsohn to spy against the Turks for the British. Based in Zichron Yaakov
and locally run by Aaronsohn's sister Sarah, they passed messages regarding Turkish troop maneuvers around the Haifa area.
In 1917 the Turks broke the spy ring. Sarah was arrested October 1, and after being tortured for three days, managed to
commit suicide. Most of the other members were captured and killed.

France and Britain (with the agreement of Russia) divided up the Ottoman Empire. France was assured of Lebanon, Syria
and Northern Iraq, and Britain was given control of Northern Arabia, Central Mesopotamia (Iraq), and much of the Western
Persian Gulf. Russia also received some Armenian and Kurdish territory. Eretz Israel was divided, with France controlling the
Galilee, Britain the Haifa area, and the rest of the country under international control.

1918 September 23, Haifa was captured by the Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers, British and Commonwealth troops.
soldiers are buried in Haifa cimetries

1920 January 4, METULLA (Eretz Israel)
Bedouin attacks on the north forced the French at a fort near Metulla to retreat. The 120 members of the settlement were
forced to flee to Sidon, where they boarded a ship to Haifa.

1925 February 10, THE TECHNION (The Israel Institute of Technology) (Eretz Israel)
Was opened in Haifa, making it the first institute of higher education to be opened in Eretz Israel. Its first head was Shlomo
Kaplansky whose goal was to train engineers to the highest of European standards. By 1952 the Technion was offering
Masters and Doctorates. Today the Technion remains Israel's main training center for its high tech industries.

1940 November 25, SINKING OF THE PATRIA (Haifa, Eretz Israel)
In Haifa harbor. The French refugee ship, the Patria carried 1,771 "illegal" immigrants. The British decided to add
otherillegals and deport them all to Mauritius, a British colony east of Madagascar. To prevent this move, members of the
Haganah decided to disable the ship. Unfortunately, the explosive charge was too large or the hull was too weak, and the ship
sunk, drowning 257 people. The survivors were allowed to remain in Eretz Israel and were interned for a while at the Athlit
detention camp near Haifa.

A month later, the Italian air forces began bombing Haifa and Tel Aviv. Almost 200 people were killed with hundreds

Twelve people were killed in a Tel Aviv old age home.

1944 February 1, IRGUN ZVAI LEUMI (Eretz-Israel)
Began its revolt against British rule. The two limitations it set for itself was not to attack military targets until the end of the
war and not to attack individuals. On February 12, they attacked the British immigration offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and

1945 November 1, NIGHT OF THE RAILWAYS (Eretz Israel)
In the first cooperative effort between the Haganah, Etzel, and Lehi, railroad tracks all over the country were blown up. This
unification was known as Tnuat HaMeri HaIvri (The Hebrew (Jewish) Resistance Movement. The Haganah sabotaged
railway tracks in 153 places throughout the country, as well as targets in Jaffa and Haifa ports. The Irgun-Lehi unit,
commanded by Eitan Livni, attacked the main railway station at Lydda (Lod). The movement included two representatives of
the Haganah (Yisrael Galili and Moshe Sneh), an Irgun delegate (Menahem Begin) and a Lehi delegate (Nathan Yellin-Mor).
All operations were authorized by the Haganah command, which had the right of veto based on strategic, or political

1947 March 31, HAIFA OIL REFINERY (Eretz Israel)
Was severely damaged by Lehi fighters.

1947 July 18, EXODUS 1947 (Eretz Israel)
Was towed to Haifa. The refugees were forced off the boat into three other boats. The Exodus (originally the President
Warfield) carried 4,500 survivors and was stopped at sea by the British Navy. During the struggle, a number of Jews were
killed. The Exodus was destined to become the symbol for all Jews prevented from being able to leave the slaughterhouse of
Europe and immigrate to Israel.

1947 December 29, HAIFA (Eretz Israel)
Arabs attacked Jewish workers at the oil refinery in Haifa, 39 were killed. Two days later, the Haganah attacked the village of
Balad a Sheich in a retaliatory raid.

1948 April 23, HAIFA CAPTURED (Eretz Israel)
By the Haganah. Although loudspeakers called on the Arabs to stay, they fled in mass, urged to do so by leaders of the Arab
High Command. Many of these leaders believed that the upcoming war would be helped by masses of Arab refugees whose
presence would encourage them to join in the attack. The refugees were promised that they would only be away for a short
time and would be able to return when the attacking armies "drive the Jews into the sea". They were also promised
compensation for their property.

1948 April 28, IRGUN ATTACKED HAIFA (Eretz Israel)
After its initial success at capturing the Menasiya quarter, the British prevented the Irgun from continuing. At the same time
the Haganah began Operation Chometz (unleavened bread) to take the areas around the city.
1103 Acre conquered by the Crusaders
Marco Polo was in Acco on his way
from Venice to Kublai Khan,
Zebulon, Marc Chagall,
Rejoice, O Zebulon, on your journeys,
And Issachar, in your tents.
They invite their kin to the mountain,
Where they offer their sacrifice of success.
For they draw from the riches of the sea
And the hidden riches of the sand
Mose's blessing, Deuteronomy 33
Biblical times
The Mystery of Techelet
Murex  trunculus,
Qumram textile
Glass Hecht museum
Glass President's home
The discovery of glass, related by Pline, Natural History, Chapter XXXVI

Phoenician sailors coming from Egypt landed on the shore, next to the Belus
(Naaman) river. They prepared some food on the shore using lumps of natron  to
heat their pots. To their astonishment they saw that the natron had combined with
the salt to form a new clear and transparent material, glass.
          in the past         today
your journeys                           the port              the port
the riches of the sea              purple dye          natural gas  
hidden riches of the sand     glass                  silicon wafers          

Tancrede, prince of  Tiberias (?-1112)  
by Merry Joseph Blondel
Versailles (crusades Hall)
Electric plant, 1925, architect Erich Mendelssohn
Leopolf Krakauer, Hotel Teltash, Merkaz Carmel
Inauguration of the  Hedjaz railway
Tintin in Haifa
Model of crusaders boat
National Maritime Museum
Tel Shikmona,  byzanttine 6th century
In 1492,  Sultan Bayezid II  sent the Ottoman navy under the command of Kemal
Reis to save the Arabs and Jews who were expelled from Spain and welcomed
them mainly in Saloniki and Constantinople.
The Mamelukes were defeated by Selim I at Ridaniya and Syria, Palestine and
Egypt became parts of the Ottoman Empire
Suleiman the Magnificient protected his Jewish subjects   On the suggestion of
his physician  Moses Hamon, the Sultan issued a firman formally denouncing
blood libels against the Jews. He also rented Tiberias to
Dona Gracia Nasi and
later Tiberias and Safed to his nephew Joseph Nasi, duke of Naxos. Dona Gracia
hoped to create there a country for persecuted Jews
Beyazet II
Selim I
Suleiman the Magnificient
Kemal Reis boat
La Senora et Joseph Nasi
On His Majesty's Service:
the Story of Haifa during the British
Mandate Period 1918-1947

at the Haifa City Museum
Technicum (1912)
War of languages
Guy Galazka  
À la Redécouverte de la Palestine :
Le Regard sur l’Autre dans les récits de voyage
français en Terre sainte au dix-neuvième siècle
These Universite Paris Sorbonne 2010
Léonie de Bazelaire,  Haifa and the Carmel, 1899 (BNF)
Port in a storm
by Shay Fogelman
from Haaretz 3/6/11
The mass flight of Haifa's Arabs remains one of the
most contested events of the 1948 war. Yet despite
strong evidence to support Arab claims, Israeli
historians remain economical with the truth. Here's
the story they don't want you to know.
By Shay Fogelman
Two months ago, the Knesset passed the Budget
Principles Law (Amendment 39 ), more popularly
known as the "Nakba Law." The ostensibly
procedural clause is intended to prevent institutions
that receive state funding from marking the "day of
the catastrophe" - which is how the Palestinians
refer to May 15, 1948, the day the British Mandate in
Palestine came to an end.

Paradoxically, it is the determined attempt to erase
the day from the Israeli-Jewish consciousness that
has increased awareness of the Nakba among Jews.
Recent months saw a surge in Internet searches for
the word "Nakba," according to Google Trends
(which shows word-search patterns on the Web ).
The index shows the usual yearly leap in English and
Arabic ahead of May, but indicates an
unprecedentedly huge increase in Hebrew this year.
Clearly, the unusually large scope of events on
Nakba Day last month contributed to the growing
public interest and heightened the emotional content
of the term - sometimes absurdly so. Two weeks ago,
for example, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union )
objected to the decision to hang a painting titled "The
Citrus Grower" in the Knesset building. According to
Eldad, the work is a "Nakba painting." The painting,
by Eliyahu Arik Bokobza, is based on a pastoral
photograph taken in 1939, showing a rural Arab
family dressed in traditional garb, with orange trees
in the background. In his complaint to the Knesset
speaker, Eldad wrote, "Why do you want to add an
artistic expression by an Israeli artist with a twisted
mind and afflicted by self-hate, who is calling the
Arab lie the truth and thereby rejecting our truth?"

This year, the primal fear of the Nakba spurred an
"appropriate Zionist response." Since Independence
Day, members of Im Tirtzu - an ultra-nationalist
group - have been distributing a pamphlet called
"Nakba Nonsense - The Pamphlet that Fights for the
Truth." In the course of 70 pages, the authors -
journalist Erel Segal and Im Tirtzu co-founder Erez
Tadmor - try to persuade readers that the Arabs, who
view themselves as victims of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, are actually the aggressors. It therefore
follows that Israel, which is generally perceived as
the aggressor, is actually the victim. In their words,
the pamphlet "tries to fight the lies, and it prosecutes
a war against the terrible falsehoods in whose name
our enemies seek to undermine the just path of
Zionism and prepare the ground for the destruction
of the Jewish state." The authors refer to the
succession of lies they say they are refuting as "the
myth of the Nakba."

In the pamphlet's second chapter, titled "The
Abandonment - Haifa as a Case in Point," the
authors discuss what they call the lie of the
"deliberate expulsion." Drawing on the book
"Fabricating Israeli History" by Prof. Efraim Karsh,
they proceed to take issue with the so-called "new
historians" - academics who question the
conventionally-held Arab-Israeli narrative. According
to the pamphlet, these academics are out "to spread
the libel that the Jewish fighting forces perpetrated a
series of brutal massacres in the service of a
deliberate policy of expulsion and ethnic cleansing."
The authors conclude the chapter by describing the
conquest of Haifa in the War of Independence as
evidence that the Israeli side did not pursue any such
policy and that "the Arab leadership bears
responsibility for the results of the war and the
refugee problem."

It is not by chance that the authors chose the
example of Haifa's capture in April 1948 by the
Haganah (the pre-independence army of Palestine's
Jews ), to rest their case. The events in Haifa are
considered perhaps the most treacherous minefield in
the history of the Nakba. Nearly every historian who
has researched the period, or the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, has tried to navigate his way through this
field. Few have succeeded in reaching a firm
conclusion without stumbling on one of the mines of
mistaken interpretation. Many scholars have claimed
that their predecessors failed to make it through.
Despite a plethora of testimonies, documents and
studies, the historical controversy has yet to be
decided, and in the public debate each side often
resorts to the case of Haifa to strengthen its case.

The facts and testimonies that Segal and Tadmor cite
in their pamphlet are not new, nor do they contradict
facts and data that have appeared in earlier works on
the subject. But in the best tradition of political
pamphleteering, they are presented selectively and
one-sidedly, in order to support a predetermined
narrative. Neither the pamphlet nor, still less, the
chapter on Haifa, offer a true discussion or a
balanced presentation of facts.

Segal and Tadmor traverse the Haifa Nakba
minefield by means of leaps and bounds, refraining
from dealing with facts or testimonies that might
undermine the thesis they are propounding. In an era
dominated by "narratives," in which "truth" is
considered relative, the method used by the authors
to choose their sources might even be considered
legitimate; in the Israel of 2011, it is certainly also

"Even though the pamphlet is not an academic
study, I consulted with many academics while
working on it," Tadmor says, in a telephone
interview. "I chose to present the findings of Prof.
Karsh and of other historians, such as Benny Morris,
because they seemed to me to be reliable." Segal too
maintains that the pamphlet "does not purport to be
an academic study. Each side is able to choose the
studies it finds suitable. In the same way that
Palestinian propaganda chooses to relate certain
things it finds convenient, we chose to tell our truth.
I accept Prof. Karsh's study as scientific and

The flight from Haifa

History cannot be treated as propaganda in the
old-timer's club in Haifa's Wadi Nisnas
neighborhood. For the dozens of local Arab residents
who visit the club every day, the Nakba is a chapter
in their personal biography. One of them remembers
how Jewish troops expelled his neighbors at
gunpoint; another describes how Haganah snipers
shot at his father as he returned home from work; a
third recalls the small bundle he carried while
fleeing. All of them remember the fear they felt as
helpless civilians, caught in the storm of war.

The stories they tell are on a minor scale. They
describe small moments: Looks they encountered,
experiences of defeat, humiliation and, occasionally,
arbitrary abuse by Haganah fighters. Some of them
spice their personal tragedy with humor, though the
sadness in their eyes remains constant. The years
have blunted the memory of all of them. In some
cases the stories get mixed up and details from later
periods are added.

By most estimates, 62,500 Arabs called Haifa their
home before the War of Independence. Under the
United Nations partition plan, they were to live in a
mixed city as citizens of the Jewish state after the
expiry of the British Mandate. However, rising
tensions between the sides and a series of mutual acts
of hostility prompted many Arabs to leave the city in
the weeks before the British departed. Most of the
leavers were affluent and many of them were
Christians who were given aid and shelter by
churches in the Galilee. By mid-April 1948, fewer
than 20,000 Arabs remained in the city.

Like the Jewish residents, they too waited to see how
things would develop. In the meantime they tried to
maintain as normal a life as possible amid the
violence. "Life in the city became intolerable at that
time," recalls Jamal Jaris, 90, in the Wadi Nisnas
club, as he tries to explain why he fled the city a few
days before it fell to the Jewish forces. "There were
shots and bombs every day. No distinction was made
between civilians and armed combatants. In certain
parts of the city, especially in the Arab
neighborhoods, everyone who walked in the street
was exposed to snipers and machine guns."

On April 21, the commander of the British forces in
Haifa informed both sides that his troops were
evacuating the city immediately, apart from the
harbor and a few key roads that the army would need
during the organized withdrawal in mid-May. That
same night the Haganah launched an attack on the
Arab neighborhoods. The Carmeli Brigade, which
spearheaded the assault, enjoyed numerical and
topographical superiority. Its troops were also better
trained and better equipped and fought in a far more
organized manner than the Arab forces. In less than
a day, all of Haifa fell to the Haganah.

Indiscriminate shooting

It was a short battle and a crushing victory, in which
the Jewish side sustained relatively few casualties.
The Arabs put up only minor resistance. Haganah
troops who searched the Arab neighborhoods after
the battle were surprised to find so few weapons. A
week later, the Haganah journal Ma'arakhot
(Campaigns ) wrote, "The battle of Haifa will
perhaps not be counted among the great city battles
in military history."

However, the Jewish victory spurred the panicky
flight of most of the city's remaining residents.
"Haifa, third largest city of Palestine and evacuation
port of the British Army, became a virtual Jewish
stronghold tonight after a series of savage thrusts by
Haganah, the Jewish army, won control of most of
the city's Arab areas and provoked a mass Arab
exodus by sea," the New York Herald Tribune
reported. On April 23 the New York Times wrote:
"Tens of thousands of Arab men, women and
children fled toward the eastern outskirts of the city
in cars, trucks, carts and afoot, in a desperate
attempt to reach Arab territory until the Jews
captured Rushmiya Bridge toward Samaria and
Northern Palestine and cut them off. Thousands
rushed every available craft, even rowboats, along
the waterfront, to escape by sea toward Acre."

The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv wrote, "British
harbor officials estimate that 12,000 to 14,000 Arabs
left by sea and 2,000 to 4,000 by land. The Jewish
and Arab numbers contradict one another. The Jews
are trying to reduce the scale of the exodus. An
official Jewish spokesman said that no more than
5,000 Arabs left. However, Arab leaders said that at
least 20,000 left."

"We were afraid." That is the sole explanation -
offered by another frequenter of the old-timers' club,
85-year-old Chana Mur - for the flight of the city's
Arab residents. On the day the city was conquered, he
says, he went to work as usual in the port's customs
division: "For hours we heard explosions and
gunfire from the direction of the Arab
neighborhoods. The Jews shot at the houses and
sniped at people in the streets. There was a huge
panic. I remember people saying they felt the world
was turning upside down. The port remained the
only safe place for Arabs. They were protected there
by the British soldiers. Whoever was able collected a
few things in a blanket or a knapsack and fled to the
port. Our feeling was that we were running for our

"I remember a young couple who, in the panic of
fleeing, forgot their little daughter at home," Mur
continues. "They probably took some other bundle
instead of her. She was found by the neighbor on the
second floor. He heard her crying when he fled and
took her with his family. Her parents eventually
reached a refugee camp in Lebanon, and the girl was
raised at [the neighbor's] home in Acre. I later met
her; she now lives in the village of Kababir in Haifa."

Several history books published in Israel in recent
years describe the flight of thousands of Haifa Arabs
to the port on the day of the city's conquest, and their
departure by sea to Acre and Lebanon. The event
assumes greater import and significance in the
newspapers of the time and in various archives.
Segal and Tadmor write: "On April 22, as Haganah
forces moved toward the market, a mass flight of
thousands was recorded." They do not say what
happened in the market, preferring instead to draw
on Prof. Karsh's thesis. "The Arab leadership," they
write, "urged the members of their nation to
evacuate their homes, whether to clear the territory
for the Arab forces or for propaganda purposes
aimed at negating the legitimacy of the Jewish state."

Another source the authors cite for their chapter
conclusions is the book by historian Benny Morris,
"1948," (published in English in 2008 and two years
later in Hebrew ). They write that Morris used to be a
new historian "until he recanted," and add that he is
the most respected and serious member of the group.
Morris has written about the Haifa conquest and
mentioned the flight of the Arab residents to the port
in several studies. In "1948," he describes the events
of April 22 as follows: "The constant mortar and
machine gun fire, as well as the collapse of the
militias and local government and the Haganah's
conquests, precipitated mass flight toward the
British-held port area. By 1:00 P.M. some 6,000
people had reportedly passed through the harbor and
boarded boats for Acre and points north."

Morris sums up the reasons for the flight with these
words: "The majority had left for a variety of
reasons, the main one being the shock of battle
(especially the Haganah mortaring of the Lower City
) and Jewish conquest and the prospect of life as a
minority under Jewish rule." However, in his first
book, "The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee
Problem" (first English-language edition, 1987 ),
which was written well before his "recantation,"
Morris described the course of events in greater detail
and shed a different light on them, quoting from a
book by an Israeli historian: "The three-inch mortars
'opened up on the market square [where there was] a
great crowd ... a great panic took hold. The multitude
burst into the port, pushed aside the policemen,
stormed the boats and began fleeing the town.'"

But this, too, is very much a partial description.
Morris actually quotes from a book by Zadok Eshel,
"Haganah Battles in Haifa," published in 1978 (in
Hebrew ) by the Defense Ministry. Eshel was a
member of the Haganah and offers first-hand
descriptions of many of the unfolding events in
Haifa. Here is his account of the events of April 22
(note the words which Morris omitted and replaced
by an ellipsis ): "Early in the morning, Maxy Cohen
informed the brigade's headquarters that the Arabs
were using a loudspeaker and calling on everyone to
gather in the market square, 'because the Jews have
conquered Stanton Street and are continuing to make
their way downtown.' Upon receiving the report, an
order was given to the commander of the auxiliary
weapons company, Ehud Almog, to make use of the
three-inch mortars, which were situated next to
Rothschild Hospital, and they opened up on the
market square [where there was] a great crowd.
When the shelling started and shells fell into it [the
crowd], a great panic took hold. The multitude burst
into the port, pushed aside the policemen, stormed
the boats and began fleeing the town. Throughout
the day the mortars continued to shell the city
alternately, and the panic that seized the enemy
became a rout."

"That is a mistake," retorts Ehud Almog, who was
the commander of the auxiliary unit in the Carmeli
Brigade's 22nd Battalion. "It was not a three-inch
mortar. They were Davidka shells" - referring to
homemade shells which were renowned for the loud
noise they made. Of the other details he says, "The
historical description is correct. Absolutely true. I
remember the events vividly. We were ordered to
shell the market when there was a large crowd there.
There were tremendous noises of explosions which
were heard across 200 meters." Almog adds that the
shelling, which took place in the early afternoon, was
short "but very effective."

Like Eshel, Almog also says the mortars fired by his
unit spurred a flight of civilians to the port. Although
not an eyewitness to the flight, officers from Shai
(the Haganah's intelligence unit ) who were stationed
near the port's gates gave him a real-time account of
events. Another testimony (quoted by Morris in "The
Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem" ) comes
from a British soldier who was stationed in the port:
"During the morning they [the Haganah] were
continually shooting down on all Arabs who moved
both in Wadi Nisnas and in the Old City. This
included completely indiscriminate and revolting
machine gun fire and sniping on women and
children - attempting to get out of Haifa through the
gates into the docks. There was considerable
congestion outside the East Gate [of the port] of
hysterical and terrified Arab women and children
and old people on whom the Jews opened up
mercilessly with fire." (A truncated version of this
quote also appears in "1948" - reduced to
"completely indiscriminate and revolting ... fire," the
ellipsis replacing the words "machine gun." )

Beyond the moral issues that arise from firing into a
crowded market, the testimony of Zadok Eshel,
which is backed up by that of Ehud Almog, indicates
that the attack was carried out by order of senior
Haganah officers. How senior they were is not
known. Not all the Israel Defense Forces archival
material about this period is accessible to the public.
It is therefore impossible to determine whether the
shelling was part of a general policy aimed at
expelling the Arabs, or one of several similar
instances that were documented during the war.

Bodies in the streets

The shelling took place as Arab representatives were
holding negotiations with Haifa's Jewish leaders on
the terms for a ceasefire. Most of the testimonies
from the time suggest that the city's mayor, Shabtai
Levy, believed in coexistence. Many studies note that
he urged the Arabs to capitulate and remain in the
city. At certain moments this actually seemed
possible. A correspondent for United Press
Associations (UP) reported that, even though nothing
official had been said, it appeared certain that the
conditions laid down by the Jews had been accepted
by the Arabs, at least in the main. Reportedly, the
Arab Legion and the Iraqi volunteers had already
begun to leave the city.

However, Haganah headquarters operated
independently; even as senior officers kept abreast of
the progress of the ceasefire talks, their forces
continued to fire on Arab neighborhoods. A cable
from Carmeli Brigade to Haganah headquarters at
2:30 P.M. on the day of the battle stated, "Arabs in
Haifa approached the general, the mayor, seeking a
mediator between them and the Haganah, to accept
the ceasefire terms." A copy of the agreement in
English, as drawn up by the Haganah, was appended
to the cable. The cable concluded, "Panic, flight
among the Arabs. Resistance very feeble."

The Haganah mortars harassed the fleeing Arabs.
According to the Jewish force's daily events sheet,
the duty officer announced at 2:40 P.M.: "Three
shells landed next to the gate of Port No.3. The shells
are coming from the direction of the city's Hadar
Carmel section [i.e. from higher ground, on Mount
Carmel]. Similar case occurred this morning and the
[British] Army is threatening to attack Hadar with
artillery if this does not stop." In other cases, the
British Army opened fire and scored hits on
Haganah soldiers who had shot at Arab civilians.

At 3 P.M. the text of the agreement was resent, with
several corrections inserted by the English general.
Moshe Carmel, the brigade commander, reported to
Haganah headquarters, "A joint meeting of Jews,
English and Arabs will be held at 4 P.M. [today] to
discuss the terms. We can assume that the Arabs will
not accept them, because technically there is no
possibility of an organized surrender." Haganah
headquarters responded, "As long as it is not certain
the terms will be met, you must go on attacking."
The message concluded: "Be especially careful of a
trap, in case the negotiations are [intended] to gain

At 4 P.M., under the mediation of British officers,
the two sides began to discuss the surrender and
ceasefire terms. The Arabs requested more time for
consultations. The sides met again at 7:15 P.M. The
Haganah report stated, "The Arabs claimed they
cannot fulfill the terms. Because the Arabs will not
obey them [sic], they prefer to evacuate the city of
Haifa completely of its Arab residents." A Haganah
intelligence report from the day of the battle relates,
"There are signs that the Arab command in the city
is falling apart. Arab headquarters have been
abandoned. No one is answering the phone and there
are reports that the commanders and their staff have
abandoned Haifa. Exact numbers of enemy losses
are unknown. The Arab hospitals are known to be
filled with dead and wounded. Bodies of the dead lie
in the streets, along with the wounded, and are not
being collected because of disorganization and lack
of hygienic means. There is great panic among the
Arabs. They are waiting for an armistice to be signed
and for the Jews to take over as a good development
which will be their salvation. In the meantime, a
report was received from an Arab source that they
have accepted our armistice terms."

Silence of the historians

In the Palestinians' consciousness, the shelling of the
crowded market in Haifa occupies a significant place
in the history of the Nakba in the city. Sitting in the
old-timers' club in Wadi Nisnas, Awda al-Shehab,
87, says the shelling "had a great influence on the
flight to the port. People gathered in the market to
discuss the situation and the terms being proposed
for a ceasefire. Historians tell us now that the
[Jewish] mayor wanted the Arabs to stay and that
after the war the Haganah did all it could to prevent
the departure, but acts are far more weighty than
words. And when the mortar shells landed in the
heart of the market, the Arabs took this as the Jewish
response to the ceasefire proposal."

Similar claims were made 63 years ago. According to
a UP report which appeared in Davar (the newspaper
of the Histadrut labor federation ), the Arabs
maintained that Jews had "violated the armistice in
Haifa" and had created a "new wave of panic
among thousands of Arabs" who were rushing to
leave the city. Privately, the report continued, Jews
admitted that during the battle and for some time
afterward people lost their heads and there was some
looting and shooting at civilians.

Over the years, some Israeli researchers tried to play
down the significance of the shelling of the market.
In his 2006 book "Palestine 1948: War, Escape and
the Emergence of the Palestinian Refugee Problem,"
Prof. Yoav Gelber writes, "After several mortar
shells fell in the vicinity of the market, where large
numbers of Arabs had gathered, masses of people
stormed the port, driven by fear of the gunfire and
shelling." However, Zadok Eshel says explicitly that
the shells landed within the crowd. Gelber does not
explain how he arrived at the conclusion that the
shells struck only "the vicinity of the market."

Gelber also ignores the testimonies of dozens of
wounded Arabs who remained in the market after
the mass flight. Most of the Palestinian researchers
estimate that "several dozen were killed." Haaretz
reported after the battle that "a member of the Arab
National Committee said that the Jews had killed a
large number of women and children who had tried
to flee to the Old City, to the British security zone in
the port ... Although the Jews denied the reports of
heavy losses supposedly inflicted on Arab civilians,
the Haganah spokesman said, 'Even if that is what
happened, we are not to blame, as we broadcast over
the radio and over loudspeakers 48 hours before our
attack a warning in Arabic, which we also distributed
via leaflets, calling on the Arabs to evacuate the
women and children and send everyone who is not
from Haifa out of the city. We repeated that this
would be our final warning."

"An appalling and fantastic sight," David
Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary after visiting the city's
abandoned Arab neighborhoods on May 1. "A dead
city, a carcass city ... without a living soul, apart
from stray cats." The empty streets were strewn with
dozens of bodies of Arab civilians. Red Crescent units
that collected them initially estimated their number at
more than 150; three days later, they revised the
estimate downward to 80 Arabs who were killed in
the battles and several hundred wounded. According
to the Red Crescent, only six of those killed were
combatants and the majority of the bodies were of
women and children.

Many bodies remained in the area of the shelled
market. A Haganah intelligence report relates that at
least ten bodies were found in the Ajami Cafe there.
They were removed only after all the unexploded
shells in the area were neutralized. The report added:
"It is hard to know the number of losses as a result
of the explosion on Nazareth Street in the house of
Abu Madi, as not all the bodies have as yet been
removed from the rubble. The house was packed
with families who moved there from outlying areas."

A few dozen Arab refugees remained in the port,
waiting on the docks for boats to rescue them, fearful
of returning to their homes. "The scenes in the port
were pitiful," Davar reported. "Women and children
were without food and water for the past two days.
The British say they cannot help very much, while
the Arabs maintain that this is a deliberate step by
the British in order to force the Arabs to return to
their homes."

In our conversation, the Arab old-timers in the Wadi
Nisnas club often mention "coexistence" and "a
state for two nations." They take great pride in the
deep, friendly relations they maintain with their
Jewish neighbors; a few of them say they have been
involved over the years in attempts to draw Jews and
Arabs closer together. From their viewpoint, the
Nakba is a historical fact which needs no
confirmation or legislation. Nor, in their view, need
it frighten or threaten the Jewish presence in the
country. As Awda al-Shehab says, "Only after we
recognize mutually the suffering that was endured by
the two peoples will we be able to create a common
future. That is the true key to coexistence. Without it,
each side will continue to live in the past."
Port in a storm by Shay Fogelman
from Haaretz 3/6/11

When Golda cried

The commander of the Haganah in
Haifa, Yaakov Lubliani, gave the
following account of a visit to the city
by Golda Meir, who at the time was a
senior official in the Jewish Agency’s
Political Department: “I suggested to
her that we visit the Old City. She
told me she did not want to see the
ruins and the desolation. She wanted
to visit an area where there were still
Arabs. I took her to the Wadi Nisnas
neighborhood. We came to Muchlis
Street. We walked up some stairs.
The apartments on the first two
floors were abandoned. When we
reached the third floor, an old Arab
woman approached us, carrying
some bundles. When she saw Golda
she stopped and burst into tears.
Golda stopped, looked at her, and
tears streamed down her face. The
two women stood there and cried. I
looked at the weeping Golda and was
angry at her. Although I did not dare
chastise her, inwardly I thought: We
are enthusiastic and happy because
we have the upper hand, we
eradicated the Arabs and you can
walk around the city without
thinking about gunfire and attacks,
and she stands there, crying.” From
“Haganah Battles in Haifa” ‏1978‏()
by Zadok Eshel
Port in a storm by Shay Fogelman
from Haaretz 3/6/11

The Arabs’ dilemma

Two Haganah intelligence reports
about the situation in Haifa’s Arab
neighborhoods were drawn up a
week after the city’s conquest. An
excerpt from the first report said:
“Spoke today with a number of
Muslims and Christians who
remained in the city. They are
extremely worried about May 15.
On the one hand, they do not
believe in the possibilities of an
invasion of an Arab army from the
neighboring countries; on the other
hand, they are apprehensive that in
the event of an invasion they will
be in dire straits, as they have been
informed that everyone who did
not leave Haifa is viewed as a
traitor and as having ties with the
Jews. The situation has reached
such a pitch that many who had
thought to stay are now planning
to leave the city during the week.”

The second report related: “Mr.
Taharuna, the director general of
the Spinni Company, said that all
the Arab workers had left Haifa.
They did not want to go, but
apparently received an order from
above. The workers said they
would be back in another six to
eight weeks.” Elsewhere, the report
states: “The Arabs now in Haifa
are desperate and do not know
what to do ? to go or stay? Most of
those who are here are waiting to
get their wages from the [British]
government and then to leave, as
every Arab who remains in Haifa
is considered by the public to be a
traitor to his people.”
Port in a storm by Shay Fogelman
from Haaretz 3/6/11

A ‘positive’ byproduct

A post-battle article in Davar
headlined “The meaning of the
victory in Haifa” stated: “We must
also emphasize a byproduct. The
thousands of Arab refugees who
will arrive in a panicky flight in the
Arab towns and villages are also a
positive military element for us. Let
us remember the millions of
refugees in France and Poland
during the German blitz, who
blocked the advance of the army
and sowed the seeds of defeatism
and panic among their people and
caused their everlasting defeat.”
Article in Davar, April 25, 1948
Port in a storm by Shay Fogelman
from Haaretz 3/6/11

The importance of Haifa

On the day of Haifa’s conquest, the
editor-in-chief of the Ma’ariv
newspaper, Dr. Ezriel Carlebach,
published an article explaining the
city’s importance: “At this moment
we are fighting for Haifa, which
means we are fighting for the state.
If we control Tel Aviv and the cities
of the coastal plain we will still be
only a canton, an autonomous area,
a ghetto. If Haifa is ours, we will be
a state.

“Everyone knows this. [Jordanian
King] Abdullah knows that if Haifa
is in our hands, he and Iraq have no
outlet to the sea, and everything he
will conquer from the western part
of the land will be only an adjunct
to the desert, not a gateway to the
world. The English also know that if
Haifa is in our hands, both the oil
magnates and the naval strategists,
both Whitehall and Wall Street and
also Washington will have to take us
into account, too, and not only the
Arab oil kings. If Haifa is ours, the
entire political and military picture
will change. The whole fate of our
state now hangs in the balance.”
Taken from Ma’ariv, April 22, 1948
Reclaiming a historical truth
by Efraim Karsh
from Haaretz 10/6/11
The deliberate depopulation of Arab villages was a
hallmark of the Arab campaign. In December 1947,
villagers in the Tul Karm sub-district were ordered
out by local leaders.
By Efraim Karsh
I agree with Shlomo Avineri, in his op-ed "Zionism
needs no propaganda" (Haaretz English Edition,
May 23 ), that the tragedy befalling the Palestinian
Arabs in 1948 was exclusively of their own making,
and that there is therefore "a grave moral defect in
the Nakba discourse."
I am surprised, however, by his assertion that
"despite decades of research, to this day no
document or broadcast has been found confirming
... [any order] by the Arab leadership for the
population to leave." This claim couldn't be further
from the truth. While most Palestinian Arabs needed
little encouragement to take to the road, large
numbers of them were driven from their homes by
their own leaders and/or the "Arab Liberation
Army" that had entered Palestine prior to the end of
the Mandate, whether out of military considerations
or in order to prevent them from becoming citizens
of the prospective Jewish state. Of this there is an
overwhelming and incontrovertible body of
contemporary evidence - intelligence briefs, captured
Arab documents, press reports, personal testimonies
and memoirs, and so on and so forth.

In the largest and best-known example of
Arab-instigated exodus, tens of thousands of Arabs
were ordered or bullied into leaving the city of Haifa
(on April 21-22 ) on the instructions of the Arab
Higher Committee, the effective "government" of
the Palestinian Arabs. Only days earlier, Tiberias'
6,000-strong Arab community had been similarly
forced out by its own leaders, against local Jewish
wishes (a fortnight after the exodus, Sir Alan
Cunningham, the last British high commissioner of
Palestine, reported that the Tiberias Jews "would
welcome [the] Arabs back" ). In Jaffa, Palestine's
largest Arab city, the municipality organized the
transfer of thousands of residents by land and sea;
in Jerusalem, the AHC ordered the transfer of
women and children, and local gang leaders pushed
out residents of several neighborhoods, while in
Beisan the women and children were ordered out as
Transjordan's Arab Legion dug in.
Avineri mentions the strenuous Jewish efforts to
persuade the Haifa Arabs to stay but not the AHC's
order to leave - which was passed on to the local
leadership by phone and secretly recorded by the
Haganah. Nor does he note the well-documented
efforts of Haifa's Arab leadership to scaremonger
their hapless constituents, reluctant in the extreme to
leave, into fleeing. Some Arab residents received
written threats that, unless they left town, they
would be branded as traitors deserving of death.
Others were told they could expect no mercy from
the Jews.
In the words of a British intelligence report: "After
the Jews had gained control of the town, and in spite
of a subsequent food shortage, many would not have
responded to the call for a complete evacuation but
for the rumors and propaganda spread by the
National Committee members remaining in the
town. Most widespread was a rumor that Arabs
remaining in Haifa would be taken as hostages by
[the] Jews in the event of future attacks on other
Jewish areas: and an effective piece of propaganda
with its implied threat of retribution when the Arabs
recapture the town, is that [those] people remaining
in Haifa acknowledged tacitly that they believe in the
principle of a Jewish State."
Nor was this phenomenon confined to Palestinian
cities. The deliberate depopulation of Arab villages
too, and their transformation into military
strongholds was a hallmark of the Arab campaign
from the onset of hostilities. As early as December
1947, villagers in the Tul Karm sub-district were
ordered out by their local leaders, and in
mid-January Haganah intelligence briefs reported
the evacuation of villages in the Hula Valley to
accommodate local gangs and newly arrived ALA
By February, this phenomenon had expanded to
most parts of the country, gaining considerable
momentum in April and May as Arab forces
throughout Palestine were being comprehensively
routed. On April 18, the Haganah's intelligence
branch in Jerusalem reported a fresh general order
to remove the women and children from all villages
bordering Jewish localities. Twelve days later, its
Haifa counterpart reported an ALA directive to
evacuate all Arab villages between Tel Aviv and
Haifa in anticipation of a new general offensive. In
early May, as fighting intensified in the eastern
Galilee, local Arabs were ordered to transfer all
women and children from the Rosh Pina area, while
in the Jerusalem sub-district, Transjordan's Arab
Legion ordered the emptying of scores of villages.
To sum up, Zionism needs no propaganda to
buttress its case, yet the historical truth needs to be
reclaimed after decades of relentless distortion.
Efraim Karsh is research professor of Middle East
and Mediterranean studies at King's College
London, director of the Middle East Forum
(Philadelphia ) and author, most recently, of
"Palestine Betrayed."
New findings at Shikmona a house from the time of the
Kingdom of Israel (3000 years), remains of a Persian city
(2400 years) and of a Byzantine town (1500 years)
Ceramic kosher stamp for bread/baked
goods,  Byzantine period  6th century
CE,  Horbat Uza, near Acre
Wadi Salib riots, Ben Harush and Shem Tov
tv23 documentary
Yifat Weiss, A confiscated memory
The siege of Acre, XIIIth century