Haifa-Beirut bus 'revived' to mark 73rd anniversary of city's fall

Haifa-Beirut bus 'revived' to mark 73rd anniversary of city's fall
2 min read
23 April, 2021
The Arab Cultural Association of Haifa have symbolically 'revived' a historic bus line between the coastal city, which is now in Israel, and the Lebanese capital Beirut.
The bus line between Beirut and Haifa was established in 1923 [Getty]
In a historic Palestinian Arab neighbourhood of Haifa, a group of young men and women waited to board a bus to Beirut on Thursday.

It will not reach the Lebanese capital, however, as it did before the 1948 Nakba, which saw over 700,000 Palestinians forcibly displaced by Zionist militias to make way for the creation of Israel. 

The creation of Israel stopped the Palestinians who were left behind in the new state from visiting and trading with neighbouring Arab countries. 

On the 73rd anniversary of the fall of the coastal city, the Arab Cultural Association in Haifa revived the bus line for a few, fleeting seconds.

The bus tour could not go to Beirut but instead took visitors around the ancient Palestinian neighbourhoods of Haifa, such as Wadi Nisnas.

Read also: How UNRWA became a battleground in the struggle for Palestinian rights

The bus line between Beirut and Haifa was established by the Nairn Transport and Post Company in 1923. The company also launched other bus services linking Haifa and Beirut with Damascus, Baghdad, Amman and Jerusalem.

The tour participants visited historic bus stations and listened to stories shared by Palestinian history researchers in Palestinian history.

Ali Rafi, a lawyer acting as a tour guide for the occasion, told visitors the tale of Haifa's Al-Istiqlal (Independence) Mosque.

He noted that it was built by a Christian Iskandar Majdalani, saying that "we did not discriminate between Muslims and Christians."

Rabih Eid, director of the Projects Centre at the Arab Cultural Association, told The New Arab's Arabic-language service that the tour was organised “to remember the city of Haifa and the social life that existed before the year 1948.” 

He described the Haifa-Beirut bus as “a natural connection between the Arab peoples.”

"We thought it would be a good idea to recreate this aspect of life [prior to the Nakba] and give hope that one day we will see the return of the bus without colonial borders,” he said.  

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