Monday, December 26, 2011

The Arab Revolt in Palestine 1938. Escalation by the Arabs and the British

Aftermath of Hebron attack on Barclay's Bank and British
armored car, August 1938. The driver was killed
The American Colony photo collection possesses an amazing visual record of the violent events in Palestine in 1938.  The photographers traveled the width and breadth of Palestine to record the results of many of the Arab attacks against British institutions, Jewish communities, and strategic targets such as the rail system. 
Arson of lumber yard in Jerusalem's
German Colony, August 1938
The photographs also record one aspect of the British military's reaction -- the widespread destruction of homes in the urban hotbeds of the Arab revolt. 

The Galilee was one of the hottest areas in the conflict -- a war in all its aspects.  Here are examples of reports filed by the British Mandatory office in their 1938 annual report just for the Jenin area: 
Remains of Bethlehem police barracks
and post office after attack. Click here
to view arrival of British troops
Tiberias synagogue after 1938 attack
Terrorist barricade on main road
 between Nablus and Jenin, July 1938

On March 3rd, there was a heavy engagement west of Jenin in which a military force, with aircraft co-operation, engaged and dispersed an armed band of between two and three hundred Arabs. One British officer was killed and an officer and two soldiers wounded. The losses among the band were thirty known to be killed and were estimated at twice that number. Sixteen prisoners were taken and a considerable quantity of arms, ammunition and bombs.

Jenin debris after demolition operation
More pictures can be viewed here
On August 24th Mr. Moffat, the acting Assistant District Commissioner in Jenin, was fatally wounded by an Arab assassin who penetrated to his office. In this case the murderer was almost immediately apprehended by troops and, in an ensuing attempt to escape, was shot dead.

"On October 2nd there occurred a general raid on the Jewish quarter of Tiberias. It was systematically organized and savagely executed. Of the 19 Jews killed, including women and children, all save four were stabbed to death."

The Special Night Squads led by the legendary British officer Orde Wingate were deployed during this period.

Troops of the Irish Guard "on the outskirts of Nablus leaving to
fight the gangs on hills." July 1938
Following the assassination of the Mandate's assistant district commissioner in Jenin, many of Jenin's homes were blown up -- according to some accounts one-quarter of the town.  The American Colony photographers recorded the widespread ruins.

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Click on the photos to enlarge.

Click on the captions to see the originals.

1 comment:

  1. If there's one thing that even the best fire extinguisher service in the world will have trouble with is war and conflict. Even just thinking of how to put out fires on such a wide scale is daunting - let alone actually doing it while worrying about crossfire.