Thursday, November 24, 2011

The 1936 Arab Revolt and the Jews of Jerusalem - Part IV

 "An old Jew peeping out to see what is happening during
the Arab strike" May 14th, 1936
The British Government's annual reports on Mandatory Palestine make for fascinating -- and often grim -- reading. 

The annual reports detail social and political developments in Palestine, but large segments are also dedicated to detailing the violence between Arabs and Jews.  One can also perceive in the reports the increasing pressure to shut the immigration doors to Jews fleeing the monstrous threats in Germany and Poland.

We are fortunate that the thousands of photographs taken by the American Colony photographers during this period provide a visual window into the events of Palestine.

The eyes that have seen it all before




The 1936-1939 British reports are particularly important for understanding the scope and threat of the Arab Revolt and the attacks perpetrated against the Jewish Yishuv.  The warfare of the 1930s was a harbinger of the Arab attacks during Israel's War of Independence.

Jerusalem during this whole period was usually at the epicenter of the violent tremors.  We present several pictures of Jewish residents of the Old City.

Excerpts from the 1936 report:

REPORT BY HIS MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT IN THE
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN

IRELAND TO THE COUNCIL OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF
PALESTINE AND TRANS-JORDAN FOR THE YEAR 1936

The autumn of 1935 had been marked by considerable political disquiet and by demonstrations of Arab discontent over Jewish immigration and the sales of Arab lands to Jewish buyers....  
Jews fleeing the Old City, 1936
 
Evacuation of Jews, 1936
 The year 1936 in Palestine was dominated by the disturbances which lasted throughout the country from the 19th April to the 12th October.

In Jerusalem a few assaults were made by Arabs on isolated Jews, while a large number of Jewish shops in the Old City were closed and Jewish residents in the Old City or in Arab quarters began to move.

In Hebron the Jewish community was concentrated in the local Jewish hospital and later transferred to Jerusalem....

Jews fleeing the Old City
through the Jaffa Gate 1936
During May and June a perceptibly increasing amount of lawlessness and disorder developed throughout the Jerusalem, Northern and Southern Districts in the form of attacks on public and private Jewish property, sabotage on railways, telegraph and telephone communications. 

During the second fortnight of May three Jews were murdered and two others wounded in a crowd leaving a Jerusalem cinema on the night of the 16th May. Two more Jews were also murdered in the Old City, and one was shot at. As a result there followed a further exodus of Jewish householders to safer quarters in the suburbs, while curfew orders were successively imposed, first on the Old City, then on the mixed quarters, and finally over the whole of the Jerusalem Municipal Area....

View previous postings on the Arab Revolt:

Part 1 The Start of the Revolt;
Part 2 The Convoys; 
Part 3 The Railroads

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