EnglishOfficial Website & Art Archives

Triptych: Becoming A Refugee in 1948 (PART 1)

Details from the painting:

British soldiers on the rooftop and at Haifa port, overseeing orderly expulsion of Palestinians of Haifa.

Abed Abdi and his family fleeing from Haganah forces.

Abed Abdi and his family on a boat seeking refuge in Lebanon.


below: the Triptych: Becoming A Refugee in 1948 (PART s 1,2 and 3)

below: the Triptych: Becoming A Refugee in 1948 (PART 2

Techniqueacrylic on canvas
Size152 x 130 cm
Year2018, completed in 2021

Becoming A Refugee in 1948

Part 1 OF 3

 created on the 70th anniversary of the expulsion of Palestinians from Haifa.

see also: part 2 of this painting

At the center of the painting: Abed Abdi’s father, who refused to leave Haifa in the midst of the mass exodus of the Palestinians from the city on 22nd April 1948.

Left: The expulsion of Palestinians from Haifa on 22nd April 1948.

Right: Abed Abdi’s family leaving Haifa with a boat to Acre, then on to Lebanon.

See Part 2 of this artwork

Historical Background of the painting:

“The Battle of Haifa, called by the Jewish forces Operation Bi’ur Hametz (Hebrew: מבצע ביעור חמץ‎ “Passover Cleaning“), was a Haganah operation carried out on 21–22 April 1948 and was a major event in the final stages of the civil war in Palestine, leading up to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

The objective of the operation was the capture of the Arab neighborhoods of Haifa.”

source: Wikipedia



“Maklef, who would become the third Israeli chief of staff, orchestrated the operation and gave orders to his troops in the Palestinian neighborhoods (which, according to official Israeli records, were already empty of the Palestinians who had “left voluntarily”).

The Hagana Archives recorded: “When the bombardment of the neighborhoods is concluded, troops will attack fiercely and aggressively and kill every Arab they meet. I am sending you flammable devices as well. You should burn every flammable object. I am sending you sappers with kits for breaking into houses” (3).

Adherence to these orders within the small area in which thousands of Palestinians lived produced panic. Without leadership, without any proper defense or any agency responsible for law and order (the British army’s responsibility), the people began a massive exodus; an instinctive, hasty departure, leaving personal and household possessions behind.

(…) In the meantime, the British played a minimal role in the occurrences, refusing to intervene. All they did was help evacuate Palestinians from their houses. They took some of the Palestinians to Acre and some further to Lebanon (5).

The masses surged towards the port, hoping to find a ship that would take them away from the city. The moment they left, their houses were pillaged.

By 22 April the streets near the port were jammed with desperate people looking for refuge and safety”

source: Ilan Pappé, Haifa: planned death of a city – Palestine’s past remembered , Zochrot Website

notes for the above passage:
(5) Palestine Royal Commission Report (London, 1937), pp.348 352; Survey of Palestine (London, 1946), pp.129 131 



“Later, a series of laws passed by the first Israeli government prevented Arabs who had left from returning to their homes or claiming their property. They and many of their descendants remain refugees.[13][14]

The expulsion of the Palestinians has since been described by some historians as ethnic cleansing,[15][16][17] while others dispute this charge.”[18][19][20]

source: Wikipedia

” لن يعرفوا حيفا إذا رجعوا،
فكيفَ يدلُّهم شِعري إذا لم ينظروا في معجمِ النكباتِ،
هذي الأرضُ لا تأتي إلى أحدٍ،
وتقتربُ المنافي في مساحات الفراق كأنّها وطنٌ،
وفي الأيّامِ تختبئ المواعيدُ التي تتحيّنُ الأقدامَ
والطرقُ الهجينة”. (رشدي الماضي – حيفا – فلسطين)
اللّوحـات ثلاثية الفنان المبدع عبد عابدي عن النكبة…الجرح النازف بعد 70 سنة