Haifa Then and Now, sound installation, 2017, consists of field recording of water waves from Haifa Port and 200 life jackets. I recorded the sound in June 2016 during a visit to the city of Haifa. When I arrived, the seashore was empty, the only sound that can be heard was the water waves. I imagined the mass expulsion of 72,000 Palestinians who were driven to the sea by the colonial horror that befell on them in 1947, one day after the United Nations partitioned Palestine into two states - one for the Jews and the other for the Palestinian Christians and Muslims. The contrast between where I was that morning and my encounter in the afternoon was dreadful. I arrived form the overcrowded refugee camp of Dheisheh in Bethlehem where over 15,000 Palestinian refugees live in less than one square km, many of them originate from Haifa.
Located on the Carmel Mount facing the Mediterranean Sea, Haifa was by the end of the 19th century one of the most important and vibrant commercial and cultural centers in North Palestine and a major port for export and import. At the turn of the 20th century, the population of Haifa was 20,000 Palestinians (96 percent Muslims and Christians and 4 percent Jews). During the British colonial rule of Palestine following the First World War, Haifa’s population grew from 24,634 in 1922 to 140,000 by 1945, (53 percent Palestinians and 47 percent Jews). Before it was stricken by human-made disaster, Haifa was a peaceful diverse city, its inhabitants lived and worked side by side until its Palestinian inhabitants were uprooted and dispossessed.