Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Arabs in Israel-Palestine always attacked the Jews - since the early 1800

The Arabs in Israel-Palestine

always attacked the Jews - since the early 1800

Pre-State Israel: Arab Riots
of the 1920's
It is time to stop it after 100 years of attacks by
the Arabs.
At the end of World War I, discussions commenced on the
future of the Middle East, including the disposition of Palestine.
On April 19, 1920, the
Allies, Britain,
France, Italy
and Greece, Japan
and Belgium,
convened in San Remo, Italy in 1920
to discuss a peace treaty with Turkey.
The Allies decided to assign Great Britain
the mandate over Palestine on both
sides of the Jordan River, and the responsibility for
putting the Balfour Declaration into effect. Arab nationalists were unsure how
best to react to British authority. The two preeminent Jerusalem
clans, the el-Husseinis and the Nashashibis, battled for influence throughout
the mandate, as they had for decades before. The former was very anti-British,
whereas the latter favored a more conciliatory policy.
One of the el-Husseinis, Haj Amin, who emerged as the
leading figure in Palestinian politics during the mandate period, first began
to organize small groups of suicide groups, Fedayeen (“one who sacrifices
himself”), to terrorize Jews in 1919 in the hope of duplicating the success of
Kemal in Turkey and drive the Jews out of Palestine, just as the Turkish
nationalists were driving the Greeks from Turkey. The first large Arab riots
took place in Jerusalem in the
intermediary days of Passover, April 1920. The Jewish community had anticipated
the Arab reaction to the Allies’ convention, and was ready to meet it. Jewish
affairs in Palestine were then being administered from Jerusalem by the Vaad
Hatzirim (Council of Delegates), appointed by the World Zionist Organization
(WZO) (which became the Jewish Agency in 1929). The Vaad Hatzirim charged Ze’ev
(Vladimir) Jabotinsky with the task
of organizing Jewish self-defense. Jabotinsky was one of the founders of the
Jewish battalions, which had served in the British Army during the First World
War and had participated in the conquest of Palestine
from the Turks. Acting under the auspices of the Vaad Hatzirim, Jabotinsky lead
the Haganah (self-defense) organization in Jerusalem,
which succeeded in repelling the Arab attack. Six Jews were killed and some 200
injured in Jerusalem in the course
of the 1920 riots. In addition, two Americans, Jakov Tucker and Ze’ev Scharff,
both WWI veterans, were killed resisting an Arab attack on the Jewish
settlement of Tel Hai in March 1920. Had it not been for the preliminary
organization of Jewish defense, the number of victims would have undoubtedly
been much greater.
After the riots, the British arrested both Arabs and Jews.
Among those arrested was Jabotinsky, together with 19 of his associates, on a
charge of illegal possession of weapons. Jabotinsky was sentenced to 15 years
imprisonment with hard labor and deportation from the country after completion
of his sentence. When the sentence became known, the Vaad Hatzirim made plans
for widespread protests, including mass demonstrations and a national fast.
Meanwhile, however, the mandate for Palestine
had been assigned to Great Britain,
and the jubilation of the Yishuv outweighed the desire to protest against the
harsh sentence imposed on Jabotinsky and his comrades.
With the arrival in Jerusalem
of the first High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel, British military government
was superseded by a civilian administration. As a gesture toward the civilian
population, the High Commissioner proclaimed a general amnesty for both Jews
and Arabs who had been involved in the April 1920 riots. Jabotinsky and his
comrades were released from prison to an enthusiastic welcome by the Yishuv,
but Jabotinsky insisted that the sentence passed against them be revoked
entirely, arguing that the defender should not be placed on trial with the
aggressor. After months of struggle, the British War Office finally revoked the
In 1921, Haj Amin el-Husseini began to organize larger scale
Fedayeen to terrorize Jews. Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, former head of
British military intelligence in Cairo,
and later Chief Political Officer for Palestine
and Syria,
wrote in his diary that British officials “incline towards the exclusion of
Zionism in Palestine.” In fact, the
British encouraged the Arabs to attack the Jews. According to Meinertzhagen,
Col. Waters Taylor, financial adviser to the Military Administration in
Palestine 1919-23, met with Haj Amin a few days before Easter, in 1920, and
told him “he had a great opportunity at Easter to show the world...that Zionism
was unpopular not only with the Palestine Administration but in Whitehall and
if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred in Jerusalem at Easter, both
General Bols [Chief Administrator in Palestine, 1919-20] and General Allenby
[Commander of Egyptian Force, 1917-19, then High Commissioner of Egypt] would
advocate the abandonment of the Jewish Home. Waters-Taylor explained that
freedom could only be attained through violence.”
Haj Amin took the Colonel’s advice and instigated a riot.
The British withdrew their troops and the Jewish police from Jerusalem,
and the Arab mob attacked Jews and looted their shops. Due to Haj Amin’s overt
role in instigating the pogrom, the British arrested him. Yet, despite the
arrest, Haj Amin escaped to Jordan,
but he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in absentia. A year later,
however, British Arabists convinced High Commissioner Herbert Samuel to pardon
Haj Amin and to appoint him Mufti.
Samuel met with Haj Amin on April 11, 1921, and was assured “that the influences of
his family and himself would be devoted to tranquility.” Three weeks later,
however, riots in Jaffa and Petah
Tikvah, instigated by the Mufti, left 43 Jews dead. Following these riots England
established the Haycraft Commission to evaluate the cause of these riots. The
appendix of the report reads, “The fundamental cause of the Jaffa riots and the
subsequent acts of violence was a feeling among the Arabs of discontent with,
and hostility to, the Jews, due to political and economic causes, and connected
with Jewish immigration, and with their conception of Zionist policy as derived
from Jewish exponents . . . the Arab majority, who were generally the
aggressors, inflicted most of the casualties.”
Following these riots, Haj Amin consolidated his power and
took control of all Muslim religious funds in Palestine.
He used his authority to gain control over the mosques, the schools and the
courts. No Arab could reach an influential position without being loyal to the
Mufti. As the “Palestinian” spokesman, Haj Amin wrote to Colonial Secretary
Winston Churchill in 1921, demanding that restrictions be placed on Jewish
immigration and that Palestine be
reunited with Syria
and TransJordan. Churchill issued the White Paper of
1922, which tried to allay Arab fears about the Balfour Declaration. The White
Paper acknowledged the need for Jewish immigration to enable the Jewish
community to grow, but placed the familiar limit of the country's absorptive
capacity on immigration. Although not pleased with Churchill’s diplomatic
Paper, the Zionists accepted it; the Arabs, however, rejected it.
Despite the disturbances in 1920-1921, the Yishuv continued
to develop in relative peace and security. Another wave of riots, however,
broke out in 1924 after another wave of pogrom’s sent 67,000 Polish Jewish
refugees to Palestine. After a week
of skirmishes in Jerusalem between
the Haganah and Arab mobs, 133 Jews and 116 Arabs lay dead. The Yishuv’s main
concern at that time was its financial difficulties; the economic crisis of
1926-1928 led many to believe that the Zionist enterprise would fail due to
lack of funds. Zionist leaders attempted to rectify the situation by expanding
the Jewish Agency to incorporate non-Zionists who were willing to contribute to
the practical settlement of Palestine.
The prospects for
renewed financial support for the Yishuv upset Arab leaders who feared economic
domination by the Zionists. Led by Haj Amin al-Husseini once again, rumors of a
Jewish plot to seize control of Muslim holy places began to spread. Violence
erupted soon after, causing extensive damage. Rioting and looting were rampant
throughout Palestine. In Jerusalem, Muslims provoked the violence and
tensions by building and praying on or near the holiest place in the world for
Jews, the Western Wall. By late August, the Arabs, in well organized formation,
attacked Jewish settlements near Jerusalem. The disturbances spread to Hebron and Tsfat, including many settlements in
between, and on the Kfar Dorom kibbutz in the Gaza Strip. After six days of rioting, the
British finally brought in troops to quell the disturbance. Despite the fact
that Jews had been living in Gaza and Hebron for centuries, following these
riots, the British forced Jews to leave their homes and prohibited Jews from
living in the Gaza strip and Hebron in an attempt to appease Arabs and quell
violence. By the end of the rioting, 135 Jews (including eight Americans) were
killed, with more than 300 wounded.
Like the riots earlier in the decade, afterward the British
appointed Sir William Shaw to head an inquiry into the causes of the riots. The
Shaw Commission found that the violence occurred due to “racial animosity on
the part of the Arabs, consequent upon the disappointment of their political
and national aspirations and fear for their economic future.” The report
claimed that the Arabs feared economic domination by a group who seemed to
have, from their perspective, unlimited funding from abroad. The Commission
reported that the conflict stemmed from different interpretations of British
promises to both Arabs and Jews. The Commission acknowledged the ambiguity of
former British statements and recommended that the government clearly define
its intentions for Palestine. It
also recommended that the issue of further Jewish immigration be more carefully
considered to avoid “a repetition of the excessive immigration of 1925 and
1926.” The issue of land tenure would only be eligible for review if new
methods of cultivation stimulated considerable growth of the agricultural
sector. The Shaw Commission frustrated Zionists, but the two subsequent reports
issued on the future of Palestine
were more disturbing. The Hope Simpson report of 1930 painted an unrealistic
picture of the economic capacity of the country. It cast doubt on the prospect
of industrialization and incorrectly asserted that no more than 20,000 families
could be accommodated by the land. The Hope Simpson report was overshadowed,
however, by the simultaneous release of the Passfield White Paper, which
reflected colonial Secretary Passfield’s deep-seated animus toward Zionism.
This report asserted that Britain’s
obligations to the Arabs were very weighty and should not be overlooked to
satisfy Jewish interests. Many argued that the Passfield Paper overturned the
Balfour Declaration, essentially saying that Britain
should not plan to establish a Jewish state. The Passfield Paper greatly upset
Jews, and interestingly, also the labor and conservative parties in the British
Parliament. The result of this widespread outcry to the Secretary’s report was
a letter from British Prime Minister MacDonald to Dr. Chaim Weizmann,
reaffirming the commitment to create a Jewish homeland.
The Arabs found rioting to be a very effective political
tool because the British attitude toward violence against Jews, and their
response to the riots, encouraged more outbreaks of violence. In each riot, the
British would make little or no effort to prevent the Arabs from attacking the
Jews. After each incident, a commission of inquiry would try to establish the
cause of the riot. The conclusions were always the same: the Arabs were afraid
of being displaced by Jewish immigrants. To stop the disturbances, the
commissions routinely recommended that restrictions be made on Jewish
immigration. Thus, the Arabs came to recognize that they could always stop
Jewish immigration by staging a riot. Despite the restrictions placed on its
growth, the Jewish population increased to more than 160,000 by the 1930s, and
the community became solidly entrenched in Palestine.
Unfortunately, as the Jewish presence grew stronger, so did the Arab
opposition. The riots brought recognition from the international Jewish
community to the struggle of the settlers in Palestine,
and more than $600,000 was raised for an emergency fund that was used to
finance the cost of restoring destroyed or damaged homes, establish schools,
and build nurseries.

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