Haifa Jews Demonstrate Against Deportation of Palmach Refugees; Call Tel Aviv Strike
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Haifa Jews Demonstrate Against Deportation of Palmach Refugees; Call Tel Aviv Strike

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Thousands of Jewish demonstrators attempted to break through barbed-wire barricades to the port area today following a protest demonstration against the imminent deportation to Cyprus of the more than 600 visaless refugees who arrived yesterday aboard the Palmach.

The demonstrators, who were led by Chief Rabbi Ben Zion Usiel and other notables, were kept outside the barricades by heavily-armed British troops who fired shots into the air. Reinforced troop units, assisted by hundreds of Bren-gun carriers and small tanks, patrolled the streets of the city and machine-gun posts were set up at strategic points. The Mt. Carmel section of Haifa, which is populated mainly by Jews, was declared out of bounds for British troops. All Jewish shops in the city closed at 8 a.m.

A one day general strike, which will shut down all businesses and halt urban and inter-urban traffic, has been called for tomorrow in Tel Aviv to protest the “shooting of unarmed refugees seeking to reach their homeland,” it was announced today.


Thirty young passengers aboard the Palmach attempted to swim to shore this morning, but were rounded up by naval launches before they had gone more than a third of the three-mile distance. They were dragged from the water and several were beaten when they attempted to put up resistance.

An official announcement this afternoon said that transfer of the visaless immigrants from the Palmach had been completed “without force being used,” after the refugees had at first refused to be moved. More than 250 soldiers supervised the transfer, which was carried out by two landing craft. The Jews are now aboard the 7,000 ton British freighter Ocean Vigor, which will take them to Cyprus. About 40 sick and wounded persons have been removed to local hospitals.

The demonstration here, which was attended by 7,000, was addressed by David Bar-Avi, Jewish labor leader, who stated that “these men and women will come back here.” Other speakers condemned the killing of one passenger and the wounding of several others by British marines yesterday.

The municipal council of Petach Tikvah, which was the scene of searches today, stood in silence for several minutes today in memory of the dead man, who has been identified as Yechiel Schwartz, 31. It will send a delegation to attend his funeral. However, one report said his body has already been brought ashore and secretly buried, but this could not be confirmed. Another report said that he would be buried in Cyprus.

The Haifa-Tel Aviv train was blown up about two miles outside of Hadera tonight and several cars loaded with oil and benzine were set ablaze. There were no casualties, but traffic between the two cities has been disrupted.

It was announced that damage to the Haifa rail station, which was blasted on Friday by members of the Irgun Zvai Leumi, will total more than $200,000. It is not planned to rebuild the station at present, “in order not to give the terrorists new objectives,” the manager of the station said. Recent attacks on the rail network have resulted in loss of passenger and freight revenue, worsening the already weak financial position of the government-operated system.

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