By Dan Rabinowitz
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Additional resources for Coffins on Our Shoulders: The Experience of the Palestinian Citizens of Israel
An effective comprehensive mobilization of the community ensued. Unlike the Palestinians, who knew from past experience that they could take temporary shelter in neighboring countries if war broke out, Jews in Palestine were convinced they had no real alternative but to stay put. This of course would have historic consequences. What began in late 1947 as a retreat of mainly urban Palestinians seeking temporary shelter with relatives and friends until the violence subsided became, with Israel’s military successes in mid-1948, a systematic ethnic cleansing.
His aunt, who had married a man from the neighboring village of Keri, offered him a room in her apartment on Stanton Street in downtown Haifa, near the Shabib Café and the port. Haifa was a natural choice for a young man of Aarif’s ambitious character. 4 Aarif found work in the customs office at Haifa port. A cornerstone of Britain’s vision for the region, the port was growing rapidly in the early 1920s. Industrious, authoritative, but at the same time collegial and well liked, Aarif met success, becoming a manager in the customs service before he turned thirty.
But Muhammad did not like the harbor. He soon left, got a job in a laundry, learned the trade, and later opened a laundry business of his own. 10 Muhammad’s younger brother Mahmoud soon followed him to Haifa, where he became a porter, carrying loads off ships. The two siblings rented a room together from a fellow Palestinian, Na im Abu-Sham. • • • • • By the early 1920s, the Arab community in Palestine was going through a process of modernization and urbanization, developing the elements and institutions of an organized civil society.
Coffins on Our Shoulders: The Experience of the Palestinian Citizens of Israel by Dan Rabinowitz