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Gentrification in Haifa soars as Palestinian homes are converted into luxury real estate

Israel/Palestine
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Israel’s Haifa municipality is unveiling major plans to transform the city in northern Israel into a Barcelona of the Middle East – a city with captivating ancient architecture redolent of a storied past.

However, there is one problem: these homes belonged to Palestinians. Most of whom were among some 750,000 who fled or were expelled from their homes and lands in 1948 during the Arab-Israeli war that marked Israel’s creation – referred to as the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” by Palestinians.

During Israel’s first years of statehood, the buildings, including many large villas, were shuttered and blocked up with concrete, left that way for decades. Palestinians often kept records of their original deeds and house keys, yet they were never allowed to return to their homes.

Other homes were until recently rented to Palestinians by Israeli companies that acquired Palestinian properties in the years after the Nakba. These decrepit buildings were often neglected until the city deemed them unliveable, and evicted the Palestinian residents. Now the homes are being flipped into luxury units.

Many of the refugees from Haifa and their descendants now reside in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jenin in the occupied West Bank. In 1948, some 40,000 Palestinians also became internally displaced within the borders of the newly established Israeli state.

“They are essentially turning the ruins of the Nakba into economic projects for Israel’s free market,” said Orwa Switat, a Haifa-based activist and urban planner. Switat told Mondoweiss the municipality’s new projects in the historic Palestinian areas in Haifa include the development of “luxury apartments, prestige condos, an artist village and galleries, and a commercial area and offices.”

“Now the municipality is reshaping and turning this space into a center for leisure and art, and luxury and boutique apartments in order to gentrify it and turn it into projects that the Israeli market profits from,” he said.

Boarded up building in the Wadi Salib neighborhood with “The Gallery” condo in the background (Photo: Yuula Benivolski)

Wadi Salib: ‘Demolishing our Palestinian heritage’

Gentrification hit Haifa about 20 years ago, but it was gradual at first. That process has increased significantly in the past five years, according to Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center in Haifa. The change in speed came when the municipality opened more homes for purchase from private developers, selling sometimes 45 homes in one bid, Farah said.

“In this case, no Arab investor or family can buy these houses. The target is big companies,” he said, adding that many Palestinian residents of the city suffer from poverty and are therefore unable to purchase the homes.

Most of the development is in Wadi Salib, which was the largest Palestinian neighborhood in Haifa before 1948, when it was depopulated of its Palestinian residents.

In Wadi Salib, 14 Israeli developers purchased the whole neighborhood, amounting to hundreds of housing units, between 2010 and 2012. The purchased houses were either demolished with modern structures built in their place or the historic homes were renovated and marketed for their so-called authenticity.

They are “demolishing our Palestinian heritage,” Johnny Mansour, a Haifa-based author and historian, told Mondoweiss.

Switat noted that Wadi Salib is “not just a place of gentrification.” But it is also a “historical Palestinian area that was captured, neglected for decades, and now is being gentrified and recreated into new Israeli projects that do not serve the indigenous Palestinian community.”

“This change will change the meaning of the neighborhood itself and the historical Palestinian center of Haifa into an orientalist project, where the municipality uses that Arab style of architecture and heritage, and then depoliticizes and neutralizes it from its political context and historical displacement,” Switat said.

Meanwhile, “the actual owners of the houses are still refugees today in Lebanon.”

According to Farah, vacant refugee buildings in the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas also in Haifa have recently been targeted for development.

Yaacov Zitser accounting firm bought one of the old buildings for its offices. across from it are dozens of emptied and gutted Palestinian buildings, Haifa. (Credit: Yuula Benivolski)

Hadar: ‘I still remember the families who used to live there’

Uphill from Wadi Salib, Emil Afara, 90, was 20 years old when Zionist militias expelled his family from their home in the Hadar neighborhood in Haifa city.

He and his family sought refuge, along with some 13 other families, at the Stella Maris Monastery nestled on the slopes of Mount Carmel, about five miles away from their home. They survived on bread made of ingredients donated by the priests at the religious compound, Afara said from his home in Wadi Nisnas in central Haifa where he lives today. It is walking distance from his original home.

“I know the families who own these homes. It’s not easy. When I look at the homes, I still remember all the families in Haifa that used to live there,” Afara continued, “It’s very sad, because they are not here anymore.”

Activists and rights groups are challenging this “ethnic gentrification” in Haifa. Several organizations in Haifa are attempting to convince the new mayor, Einat Kalisch-Rotem, to include the Palestinian communities into their development plans and halt economic projects that would destroy the Palestinian history and heritage of the city.

The Israeli municipalities often do not include Palestinian communities into their strategic plans for development, even if the plans are laid on top of Palestinian neighborhoods or in cities with sizable Palestinian populations. Oftentimes, Palestinian residents  become aware of the municipality’s plans only after they are implemented.

Afara, however, does not hold much hope that the municipality’s plans will change. “I saw them take the homes from us. They gave them to Jews or blocked them up so their owners could never come back,” he said. “Now they are demolishing them and some of our beautiful [Palestinian] homes are being renovated and sold.”

“Israel has taken everything from us,” he said.

In Haifa, out of 75,000 Palestinian residents only 3,000 remained in the city after 1948. According to Mansour, the historian, during the fighting Palestinians were pushed into Wadi Nisnas where they were placed under a siege for about two months, unable to leave the area unless receiving special permission from authorities.

“Those who remained in Wadi Nisnas lost all of their properties to the Israeli state,” Mansour said. “They became strangers in their own city.”

Mansour added that the original Palestinian owners, some of whom are still within the boundaries of Haifa, are “very afraid and conscious about what is happening to their properties.”

After Israel passed the Absentees’ Property Law in 1950, the properties of Palestinian refugees and those internally displaced, who were referred to as “present absentees”, were transferred to Israel’s General Custodian.

Amidar, a state-owned and state-run housing company, was created by Israel and tasked with managing these properties. In 1953 Israel passed the Land Acquisition Law, allowing the state to use these confiscated properties and assets for Jewish settlement, development, and Israeli security and military interests.

This was the last step to “complete the process of formal transfer of ownership of confiscated [Palestinian] land,” Switat said, paving the way for historic Palestinian neighborhoods to be transformed into profitable economic ventures for private Israeli companies and the state.

Turkish hammam built by the Ottomans, now a luxury restaurant and “interior design studio” called Studio 99 (Credit: Yuula Benivolski)

Barcelona, Israeli style

A major plan for Haifa’s municipality is to develop the coastal area in order to create a touristic port similar to Barcelona. This project is called “Haifa waterfront,” Switat told Mondoweiss, and will result in the eviction of an entire Palestinian neighborhood.

The development project involves moving the port, which is now disconnected from the city, to the east of Haifa city. Throughout this project, residents of the al-Mahatta neighborhood — located near the port — are being evicted and their homes demolished to make room for 700 luxury apartments and a touristic area including bars, restaurants and hotels.

The al-Mahatta neighborhood, according to Switat, is one of the oldest Palestinian neighborhoods in Haifa, representing the origins of the city.

Many of the residents in al-Mahatta were evicted under the pretense that their homes were “too dangerous” for them to continue to reside in, owing to Amidar — which owns almost half of the homes in al-Mahatta, failing to repair or improve the buildings, Mansour said. The company then uses the dilapidated state of the buildings as an excuse to kick residents out.

Meanwhile, others were evicted after losing their protected tenancy rights, which had permitted them to live in the homes for a fixed, reduced rent. These policies in the city are “creating a reality in which people [Palestinians] are being slowly pushed out of their historical neighborhoods,” Switat said.  

According to Mansour, out of 600 apartments in the neighborhood, only 28 remain standing.

Haifa’s artists’ quarter: an advertisement for the gallery and boutique apartments on the facade of a boarded up Palestinian building in Haifa (Credit: Yuula Benivolski)

It starts with the artists

The gentrification taking hold in Haifa city has been implemented by Israel’s municipalities and government in other Palestinian urban areas in Israel, particularly Jaffa and Akka.

Jaffa was one of the first Palestinian urban areas to undergo major transformations. The Israeli government began destroying Palestinian homes and evicting families as early as the 1960s, Switat explained.

From 1949 to 1992 it was illegal for Palestinians to repair homes built before Israel declared statehood in 1948, thus forcing Palestinians to live in units where lack of repairs caused them to fail to meet zoning codes.

Much like the plans for Haifa today, the city of Tel Aviv approved an urban renewal plan in 1992 that catered to Israelis seeking to buy and renovate homes that were priced out of reach for most Palestinians. The plan made no specific accommodation to Palestinians renting homes in Absentee properties. It further created cumbersome terms for Palestinians who inherited houses in Jaffa.

In 1996, Israel then approved a policy that legalized the sale of all remaining Palestinian Absentee houses. This created a fire sale. More than 900 shuttered homes belonging to Palestinian refugees in Haifa, Jaffa, and Akka were privatized and sold at auctions between 2010 and 2015, Switat said.

As a result of this gentrification process, “Jaffa today is no longer Palestinian,” Switat said.

In Jaffa, this same gentrification process is almost complete, transforming the historical Palestinian city into an affluent Israeli neighborhood. Switat tells Mondoweiss that Israeli artists are often the “pioneers” of this “ethnic gentrification” in historic Palestinian areas in Israel.

“The artists are the ones willing to live in buildings that are in bad shape, where they can make it an art gallery. And then they create a coffee shop and then restaurants,” he said. “They start the movement through festivals in order to attract students and middle class young couples who are attracted to that kind of ‘authentic’ cultural atmosphere that the artists create.”

In a similar process, “the Palestinian identity of [Haifa] city is being reinvested and reshaped for the benefit of the hegemonic Zionist narrative,” Switat noted.

Haifa city was founded some 250 years ago by Daher el-Omar, a Palestinian who ruled the Galilee during the Ottoman Empire. However, the city’s Palestinian history does not exist in Haifa’s public spaces.

“In Haifa, you have museums for exhibiting Japanese art, but you can’t find an exhibition that describes the Palestinian history of the city,” Switat said.

This gentrification process, Switat added, is aimed at “erasing the Palestinian narrative” from the city.

Jaclynn Ashly
About Jaclynn Ashly

Jaclynn Ashly is a journalist based in Bethlehem, Palestine. You can find her on Twitter @jaclynnashly

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29 Responses

  1. JWalters
    JWalters
    January 16, 2019, 7:15 pm

    This is called ” trafficking in stolen property”.

    But man! your profit margins are enormous when you don’t have to pay for the property you’re selling!

    It’s similar in that respect to selling fictitious “financial instruments”.

    It really is no wonder Israel is a haven for international criminals – the government itself is a gang of criminals.

  2. Maghlawatan
    Maghlawatan
    January 16, 2019, 11:55 pm

    This article brings together the 2 great themes of modern Israel – the Palestinians and neoliberalism

    “The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought.” Dornbusch

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-01-16/nobody-s-challenging-benjamin-netanyahu-s-economic-record

    60% of Israelis are worried they won’t be able to support their children

    – 65% are concerned about saving for the future

    – Only 35% are optimistic that the economy will improve in the next 10 years

  3. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    January 17, 2019, 8:20 am

    In 1948, the militias of Haifa’s Jews fought the militias of Haifa’s Arabs. The Arab militias lost, and the Arab residents were expelled, same as happened in other ‘mixed’ towns in Palestine.

    When you start a war, you risk being defeated, same as any gamble.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      January 17, 2019, 10:03 am

      I guess U haven’t heard that since WW2, Nuremberg Trials, Geneva IV & progeny the “spoils of war” doctrine has been invalidated by international law.

    • JohnSmith
      JohnSmith
      January 17, 2019, 10:22 am

      I realize Jackdaw is well-known on this site as a racist anti-Palestinian troll, a commenter who has no interest in thinking about pretty much anything the writer has to say, and therefore not worth responding to. After all, does anyone sane think that “militias of Haifa’s Arabs” just out of the blue decided to start waging war on “militias of Haifa’s Jews”? No, only a racist who wants to sneer at and slur Arabs would think that.

      “When you start a war, you risk being defeated, same as any gamble.” Right, because even if Jackdaw’s racist vision of warlike Arabs or Palestinians were true, it would totally be decent and moral for the victors to then spend many decades pursuing racist laws to victimize the defeated, and that’s totally not a war crime or beyond the pale of civilized behavior.

      Since Jackdaw chose the name Jackdaw for some reason to do with his racist psychology, including his racist triumphalism, I wondered about whether there were some history of Jackdaws stealing other birds’ nests to make their homes, and there is, since this kind of behavior is common in many bird species, including the crow family, which includes jackdaws.

      Which Jackdaw would argue is totally OK–it’s just what happens. The winners get the spoils. Then they make racist laws to enhance their agenda as racist war criminals. Like the Nazis working to take the property and assets of Jews in 1930s Nazi Germany. Or Zionists working to steal Palestinian property over many decades.

      It’s all just perfectly fine, says racist Jackdaw.

      Thankfully, the call of real jackdaws is not as ugly as that of this one.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      January 17, 2019, 10:55 am

      Jackdaw: “In 1948, the militias of Haifa’s Jews fought the militias of Haifa’s Arabs. The Arab militias lost, and the Arab residents were expelled, same as happened in other ‘mixed’ towns in Palestine.”

      Yep, the Jewish operation was called “Passover Cleaning”. Go figure. It was an operation under Plan Dalet which clearly stated:

      “Mounting search and control operations according to the following guidelines: encirclement of the village and conducting a search inside it. In the event of resistance, the armed force must be destroyed and the population must be expelled outside the borders of the state.”

      Now what does “in the even of resistance” mean? That it wasn’t the Arabs who were attacking. And who needs civilians to be expelled that have a different faith/heritage? An Apartheid State in the making.

      Jackdaw: “When you start a war, you risk being defeated, same as any gamble.”

      Sure. But who needed to start a war to acquire territory? And who was actually defending the territorial integrity of this territory? What would Jews do, if Israel’s nonjewish minority would start a war to create a state within Israel and expell its Jewish majority? Sing Kumbaya, right?

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      January 17, 2019, 11:20 am

      @Jackdaw

      Re Haifa, a brief review:

      The Arab defenders were poorly “…armed with British and French rifles, mostly of World War 1 vintage, and chronically short of ammunition. The entire garrison possessed only fifteen sub-machine guns, an essential weapon in urban warfare. In contrast, Haifa was the home and recruiting base of the 2,000 strong Carmeli or Second Brigade … [which had] armoured cars, two-inch and three inch mortars, machine guns, Sten and Thompson sub-machine guns, rifles and grenades – all in plentiful quantities and with virtually unlimited supplies of mortar shells and ammunition.” (Professor Whalid Khalidi, Harvard, “Selected Documents…” JPS Vol. XXVll, No. 3, Spring 1998, p. 87)

      As well as Davidka mortars with sixty-pound shells, the Carmeli Brigade used Barrel bombs (nicknamed Barak Bullets) which were “converted oil barrels and spherical sea mines filled with explosives [that were] rolled down onto the Arab quarters from the higher Jewish areas.” (Khalidi, ibid, pp.87 & 89)

      The Carmeli Brigade was ordered to be ruthless against the Arabs, to “kill every [adult] male encountered” and to attack with firebombs “all objectives that can be set alight.” (Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947- 1949, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988, pp. 76-77) Arthur Koestler described what came after the Davidka mortars and barrel bombs: “ruthless dynamiting of block after block of bazaars and blind alleys until the panic had reached sufficient dimensions to end all resistance.” (Quoted by Palumbo, The Palestinian Catastrophe, p. 64)

      Gunfire continued throughout the night of April 21 as the volunteers fought bravely against impossible odds. Inevitably, they were overwhelmed which left the Arab civilians undefended. A blood bath followed: “When the Haganah Command learned that the Arab authorities were calling upon the civilians to gather for shelter in the old market place, three inch mortars, according to the official history of the Carmeli Brigade, were ordered to shell the market place. ‘When the shelling began and shells fell inside the market a great panic ensued. The crowd broke into the port and pushing aside the police who guarded the gate it stormed the boats and began to flee the city’.” (Khalidi, “Selected…,” p. 89)

      British officials who were in Haifa at the time, later testified that as Palestinians fled down the narrow alleys towards the docks the Haganah opened fire on them with “indiscriminate and revolting machine gun fire…on women and children [which] led to considerable congestion [of] hysterical and terrified Arab women and children and old people on whom the Jews opened up mercilessly with fire.” (Professor John Quigley, Palestine and Israel…, p. 60)

      Haganah commander Ben Zion Inbar recalled firing on the Arabs as they gathered in the market: “We manned the biggest mortar which our forces had at that time – a three-inch mortar – and when all the Arabs gathered in this area we started firing on them. When the shells started falling on them, they rushed down to the boats and set off by sea for Acre [across the bay from and north of Haifa].” (Quigley, ibid p. 60)

      The official history of the Carmeli Brigade as well as the recollections of the British officials and Ben Zion Inbar are confirmed by Israeli historian Benny Morris: “The 3-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, charged the boats and began fleeing the town.’ British observers noted that ‘during the morning they [i.e. the Haganah] were continually shooting down on all Arabs who moved both in Wadi Nisnas and the Old City. This included completely indiscriminate and revolting machinegun 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.'” (Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Problem, 1947-1949, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988, p. 85)

      It will never be know how many hundreds or thousands were slain in the streets, but less than 24 hours after the attack began nearly 60,000 of Haifa’s Arabs had been forced to flee for their lives by sea to nearby Acre with many continuing on to Lebanon. The horrific scene at the port as they crowded on every type of vessel to escape was described by an eye-witness: “Men stepped on their friends and women on their own children. The boats in the port were soon filled with living cargo. The overcrowding on them was horrible. Many turned over and sank with all their passengers.” (Khalidi, “Selected Documents”)

      Mayor Levy expressed the hope that Palestinians who had not yet fled the city would stay. To this day his appeal is cited by Zionists as proof the Jewish leadership did not want the Arabs to flee Palestine. In fact, Levy’s overture proves nothing of the kind as he did not make it until the assault on Haifa and the terror-stricken flight of sixty thousand Arabs had been underway for well over 24 hours. Mayor Levy (who may well have been sincere himself) was very likely following orders given him by the Haganah.

      Even after the fighting was over Jewish troops (especially the Irgunists), continued to terrorize the Arabs while at the same time engaging in wholesale looting of homes, businesses and even hospitals. As in Tiberias, they desecrated churches and purposely damaged other Christian buildings (later prompting a formal protest by the Vatican.) The situation was so out of hand that Aubrey Lippincott was prompted to send another cable to Washington in which he reported “considerable Jewish looting in evacuated Arab areas. Two churches desecrated. Clinic stripped of equipment and furnishings demolished. Haganah claims that looting stopped with the imprisonment of forty Jewish looters. Constant visitors to Consulate, among them nuns and priests, claim looting continues.” (Palumbo, TPC, p. 69)

      How the Zionist leadership saw the situation in Haifa was clearly revealed by Ben-Gurion during a visit to the city on May 1. After witnessing the departure of some Arabs the head of the Jewish Agency proclaimed it “a beautiful sight” and later he told a group of the city’s Jewish leaders that “It is not our duty to see to it that the Arabs return.” (Palumbo, TPC, p. 76)

      “… a letter signed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and the engineer of its ethnic cleansing policy in 1948, shows that, far from Haifa’s doors being thrown open, Ben Gurion ordered that the refugees be barred from returning.

      “Written on 2 June 1948, the letter was sent to Abba Khoushy, soon to become Haifa’s mayor.”

      By the time it was all over more than 67,000 Palestinians had been driven out of Haifa. They were never allowed to return and their homes, lands and other properties were confiscated.

      During the fighting mortar barrages had prevented most of Haifa’s Arabs from getting to their banks and they were forced to flee near penniless. Soon after the city was occupied their deposits, totalling about 1.5 billion Palestinian pounds were confiscated by the Jewish Agency (Tom Segev, 1949: The First Israelis, New York, The Free Press, 1986, p.73). As the Palestinian pound (LP) was worth $4.03 U.S. in 1949 (“The Ottawa Process” by Terry Rempel, J of P S, Vol. XXIX, #1, Autumn 1999, p. 44), the amount seized exceeded $6 billion U.S.

      The less than 3000 Arabs who decided to remain in Haifa were soon thrown out of their homes to live as third class citizens in what would become a “Jewish state.” Within weeks 40,000 new Jewish immigrants were living in former Palestinian homes and apartments in Haifa. (Segev, op cit, p. 76)

      Apart from the oil refinery which helped feed their war machine, the Zionists also gained control of Haifa’s seaport which made it much easier to take delivery of the weapons and ammunition their agents were purchasing abroad despite a so-called international arms embargo.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        January 17, 2019, 1:05 pm

        @Mister 0

        “As early as October 1948, the Mufti declined al-Khatib’s request for funds for the purchase of arms on the pretext that the matter had been entrusted to the Arab League. But when two months later the Arab League’s Military Committee despatched some 600 rifles to the Haifa Arabs, a mere fifth of them appear to have reached their destination, with the rest distributed elsewhere at the Mufti’s instructions. The AHC even went so far as to use some members of the Haifa National Committee as informers on their counterparts.’

        “On 14 January a car bomb exploded in a Jewish commercial centre, killing eight people and wounding scores of others. Carried out by the Mufti’s local henchmen, the bombing brought to an abrupt end the tenuous truce organized under British pressure in late December”

        “On 19 January, when several Committee members met with Jewish representatives to discuss yetanother truce. The Mufti, however, would hear nothing of this. Though evidently shaken by the stark picture painted by the delegation, he vehemently rejected their request for an armistice as this would constitute a sign of surrender and would have far-reaching adverse implications on thePalestinian struggle. This mortal struggle, he argued, might result in the destruction of half of Palestine’s Arab population and it was therefore advisable to move women and children from danger zones so as to reduce casualties. At the same time, the Haifa National Committee had to do its utmost to shore up the town’s defence, to stop the mass flight and to call on those who had fled to return. As an enticement the Mufti denied any connection with the perpetrators of the car bomb attack and endorsed theCommittee as the supreme political and military body in Haifa, promising to place under its command a soon-to-be-formed 500-strong force.

        This failed to impress the Haifa population. Notwithstanding the arrival of fresh arms shipments from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, as well as military reinforcements, a general sense of nervousness engulfed the town, especially the Christian population. ”

        –https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248950679_Nakbat_Haifa_Collapse_and_Dispersion_of_a_Major_Palestinian_Community

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        January 17, 2019, 4:24 pm

        @Jackdaw

        So many words and yet, you accomplish nothing of significance.

        Bottom line:
        By the end of 1948, by means of several massacres, armed might, mass rape and intimidation, over 800,000 indigenous Palestinian Christians and Muslims were expelled by Jewish forces and the IDF (according to Walter Eytan, then Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry) and about 500 of their towns and villages destroyed. It was only the beginning of the horrors, expulsion and dispossession inflicted on would be 1,250,000 Palestinians by 1967.

        BTW, regarding Efraim Karsh’s assertion in the article you provide a link to that “there was no Jewish grand design to force this departure, nor was there a psychological ‘blitz’. To the contrary, both the Haifa Jewish leadership and the Hagana went to great lengths to convince the Arabs to stay.” UTTER NONSENSE!!

        As I noted in my previous posting:
        “How the Zionist leadership saw the situation in Haifa was clearly revealed by Ben-Gurion during a visit to the city on May 1. After witnessing the departure of some Arabs the head of the Jewish Agency [Ben-Gurion] proclaimed it ‘a beautiful sight’ and later he told a group of the city’s Jewish leaders that ‘it is not our duty to see to it that the Arabs return.’” (Palumbo, TPC, p. 76)

        Also: “… a letter signed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and the engineer of its ethnic cleansing policy in 1948, shows that, far from Haifa’s doors being thrown open, Ben Gurion ordered that the refugees be barred from returning. Written on 2 June 1948, the letter was sent to Abba Khoushy, soon to become Haifa’s mayor.”

        So much for Efraim Karsh’s credibility!!

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        January 17, 2019, 5:52 pm

        “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.”

        The truth:
        “I remember the events vividly. We were ordered to shell the market when there was a large crowd there.”

        “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.”

        “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.” …

        “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. …

        If Haifa is ours, we will be a state”
        https://www.haaretz.com/1.5019167

        Haganah seems to be as terrorist as the IDF.

    • zaid
      zaid
      January 19, 2019, 3:16 am

      “Several Palestinian Arab towns had already fallen to Jewish or Israeli advances since April, but Lydda and Ramle had held out. There are differing views as to how well-defended the towns were. In January 1948, John Bagot Glubb, the British commander of Transjordan’s Arab Legion, had toured Palestinian Arab towns, including Lydda and Ramle, urging them to prepare to defend themselves. The Legion had distributed barbed wire and as many weapons as could be spared”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus_from_Lydda_and_Ramle

      Palestinians were defending themselves.

  4. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    January 17, 2019, 8:24 am

    Gentrification is going on today in the crappier Jewish neighbourhoods of Tel Aviv.
    Why can Jewish neighbourhoods gentrify, but not Arab neighbourhoods?

    Question: Who is building those luxury buildings in Haifa?
    Answer: Well paid Arab construction workers and Arab contractors.

    • bcg
      bcg
      January 17, 2019, 9:38 am

      @Jackdaw: Keep your eye on the larger picture. The article mentions the Mossawa Center – here’s a report from them:

      http://mossawa.org/en/article/view/770

      The Arab community in Israel has suffered from discrimination in planning and housing for decades as a result of the state’s refusal to provide detailed and formal planning solutions to Arab localities. In 2015 the Knesset passed Government Decision 922, the “Economic Development Plan for the Arab Sector 2010-2016.” Although the Decision was heralded as a victory, it did not adequately compensate for decades of state neglect, including in the realm of housing and planning. Similarly, the Ministry of Housing’s state budget for the coming year does not allocate sufficient funds for addressing the disparities between Jewish and Arab citizens….The State of Israel has allocated lands and provided planning services for over six hundred Jewish localities since its establishment in 1948, yet it has not created a single Arab locality, aside from the seven that it established to concentrate the Arab Bedouin community in the south. With the Arab community having increased sixteen-fold since the establishment of the state, this has resulted in severe overcrowding. The state’s unwillingness to approve master plans for Arab localities and distribute building permits has given rise to a housing shortage in Arab localities, as well, leaving many with no option other than to build and inhabit homes without legal permits.

    • JohnSmith
      JohnSmith
      January 17, 2019, 10:35 am

      Pointing out massive land theft abetted by racist laws which results in gentrification has zero to do with Jewish neighborhoods in Tel Aviv. “Well, why are you talking about Israel? What about North Korea? What about Saudi Arabia?” I realize Jackdaw is so used to garbage analysis to shore up his own racism that it pollutes any analysis he can offer on any issue. This site is clearly not devoted to and aimed at fighting the forces of gentrification. Perhaps Jackdaw will be able to figure that out. Some day.

      I doubt that Jackdaw, a racist anti-Palestinian, has any real knowledge or evidence regarding the sorts of workers who work on construction sites in Haifa. But if there are Arab workers, are they Palestinian workers? And if they are Palestinian workers are they all that well paid? And if they are all that well paid, is it enough to make up for bad conditions or lack of well-paid work suffered by relatives or Palestinians in general?

      Does anyone think that a worker would glory in doing construction work on property stolen from his relatives or people of his ethnicity?

      Only racist Jackdaw, of course!

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        January 17, 2019, 12:34 pm

        @JohnSmih

        “I doubt that Jackdaw, a racist anti-Palestinian, has any real knowledge or evidence regarding the sorts of workers who work on construction sites in Haifa. But if there are Arab workers, are they Palestinian workers?”

        John. You don’t know Jack.

        One of my closest , dearest friends is an Arab-American. How many Arab friends do you have, JohnSmith?

        *no answer*

        For that matter, how many Palestinian Arabs have you seen today?
        *no answer*
        I’ve seen dozens of Arabs today, like every day of my life. Arabs, whether they are Israeli citizen or illegals, form the backbone of the construction trade in Israel. I only have to look out my window.

        You wouldn’t call me a racist to my face, John. But hiding behind your computer screen, now your a big man.

        *coward*

      • amigo
        amigo
        January 17, 2019, 2:06 pm

        ” One of my closest , dearest friends is an Arab-American. ” jackduh.

        Whoa there jackie boy.Close friends with an Arab American.Do you show him/her your posts to MW.

        Btw, the correct std claim is ,

        Some of my best friends are Arabs.

        Jachduh, I doubt you have any friends , let alone a close one.How would you have the time for friends what with your demanding schedule at Hasbara central.

      • amigo
        amigo
        January 17, 2019, 3:46 pm

        “John. You don’t know Jack”.Jackduh

        Jack,You don,t know John “.John Smith

        jackduh

        “You wouldn’t call me a racist to my face, John. But hiding behind your computer screen, now your a big man.

        *coward*

        John Smith

        “You wouldn,t call me a coward to my face , jack.But hiding behind your computer screen ,now your a big man.

        “Plebe”

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 17, 2019, 10:57 am

      || Jackdaw: … Why can Jewish neighbourhoods gentrify, but not Arab neighbourhoods? … ||

      Because “Jewish State”.

      • Misterioso
        Misterioso
        January 17, 2019, 4:50 pm

        @JohnSmith, etal

        Well, at least Jackdaw is consistent. He always shoots himself in the foot.

  5. Ronald Johnson
    Ronald Johnson
    January 17, 2019, 9:40 am

    Recalling Ali Abuminah’s question of 2009, after “Cast Lead”: “Is Israel a failed state?’

    https://www.aljazeera.com/focus/gazaoneyearon/2009/12/200912269262432432.html

    The Potemkin Village comes to mind, with tour groups being shown only the facade.

    A mortgage lender for all of that Haifa construction ought to ask about title insurance, and the reliability of the income and benefits stream from the US, both Congressional and private. Obviously, the US is not a very stable entity right now, from the standpoint of sovereign bankruptcy and governmental gridlock.

  6. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    January 17, 2019, 1:03 pm

    @Jackdaw
    “In 1948, the militias of Haifa’s Jews fought the militias of Haifa’s Arabs”

    Ah you mean the invading foreign colonising militias fought the native Arab population resistance to Fascist invasion militias.

    Just like the native Polish resistance militias including a large number of native Polish Jews fought the invading German Fascist colonising “militias”.

    • Jackdaw
      Jackdaw
      January 17, 2019, 2:44 pm

      Ossified.

      The Jews did not invade their homeland. They were invited to settle there by the League of Nations, the forerunner of today’s United Nations.

      • amigo
        amigo
        January 17, 2019, 4:46 pm

        “They were invited to settle there by the League of Nations, ” jackduh

        Evidence /Link , Please.

        If you have trouble finding it ,perhaps your closest dearest Arab Friend has a copy hidden away.

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 17, 2019, 4:56 pm

        || Jackdaw: … The Jews did not invade their homeland. … ||

        You’re right: Those Jews living in or up to n-generations removed from their homeland of geographic Palestine did not invade it. The same cannot be said for all of the Jewish citizens of other homelands throughout the world.

      • Talkback
        Talkback
        January 17, 2019, 4:57 pm

        Jackdaw: “The Jews did not invade their homeland. They were invited to settle there by the League of Nations, the forerunner of today’s United Nations.”

        You seem to be stuck in a mental loop, Jackdaw. A settler doesn’t settle in his homeland. And what your euphemism “invited” means that these colonialists were violently enforced upon the native population by an imperial power who had no title to the land. The Palestinians didn’t even choose Great Britain to be the mandatory of Palestine, but the King-Crane comission was buried to implement a perversion of the mandate system. Of course someone with your colonial mindset has not problem with that all.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        January 18, 2019, 12:34 am

        The King Crane commission was a biased, Christian missionary expedition led by a notorious anti-Semite.

        Good reason to bury it.

  7. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw
    January 18, 2019, 12:49 am

    @Talk nonsense

    “you seem to be stuck in a mental loop, Jackdaw. A settler doesn’t settle in his homeland. ”

    ARTICLE 11.

    The Administration of Palestine shall take all necessary measures to safeguard the interests of the community in connection with the development of the country, and, subject to any international obligations accepted by the Mandatory, shall have full power to provide for public ownership or control of any of the natural resources of the country or of the public works, services and utilities established or to be established therein. It shall introduce a land system appropriate to the needs of the country having regard, among other things, to the desirability of promoting the close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land.

    ‘Close settlement’ was a term of art employed by the drafters and which differs from your leftist, doctrinaire definition.

  8. davidk969
    davidk969
    January 20, 2019, 6:25 pm

    I just spent a week in Haifa late last year.

    ““In Haifa, you have museums for exhibiting Japanese art, but you can’t find an exhibition that describes the Palestinian history of the city,” Switat said.”

    This not true. I myself went to the opening of the exhibit at the Haifa City Museum about the events of 1948 and it was well attended by thousands of Haifa residents, Arab and Jewish!

    https://www.hcm.org.il/eng/Exhibitions/6513/1948

    The area being described in this article is a dump. Hadar is a dump also. If you don’t believe me, go to the Theodore Hotel and ask to see a room. These area need a major upgrade. Probably one of the shabbier areas I saw in Israel.

    The port is in the wrong place and it is a good thing its being moved to the east part of the city so the area just north of HarShemona station gets some new housing and development.

    Yes, the electrification of the railway is an important development to get more Irsaelis out of their cars on onto public transit. The right of way needs to be expanded to accommodate for electrification and this is happening in Jewish areas all over Israel as well.

    The entire city of Haifa is very poorly planned with tons of winding streets and dead ends. It needs a lot of help.

    If you want to see an interesting mixed arab/jewish/russian area check out Masada St. Cool arab bars and very interesting mixed crowd of different types. It’s the part of Israel you rarely hear about. Definitely the most interesting city in Israel.

    As far as Palestinian claims to some of these properties discussed here, it sucks but the war ended 71 years ago and they were on the losing end. No chance of getting these properties back.

    As far as commenters, I’d recommend visiting some of these areas instead of sitting on your computer and shooting off.

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