|The original link "Britaininpalestine" link is no longer active*|
Arab demonstration, Jerusalem, 1919/1920. The banner on the left reads "We resist Jewish immigration", the banner on the right reads "Palestine is part of Syria". (Emphasis added) In the post-WWI Peace Settlement the League of Nations divided Syria and Palestine into French and British mandates. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, which pledged Britain's support for a Jewish National Home in Palestine, was included in the British mandate for Palestine.
|"Anti-Zionist" demonstration in |
Jerusalem, March 1920
The Library of Congress photos were taken on March 8, 1920, the same week that the Syrian Congress proclaimed independence for Syria and Palestine. The demonstrations by Arabs in Palestine were echoing the sentiment expressed in Syria.
This historical period is discussed by Stanford University scholar Daniel Pipes: "No Arabic-speaking Muslims identified themselves as "Palestinian" until 1920, when, in rapid order this appellation and identity was adopted by the Muslim Arabs living in the British mandate of Palestine."
"Muslim distaste for the very notion of Palestine was confirmed in April 1920, when the British authorities carved out a Palestinian entity," Pipes wrote in 1989. "The Muslims' response was one of extreme suspicion. They saw the delineation of this territory as a victory for the Zionists; in their more paranoid moments, they even thought it reflected lingering Crusader impulses among the British...."
|Demonstration in Jerusalem, March 1920. Note the same |
signs declaring Palestine is part of Syria and denouncing
Jewish immigration. The Arabs of Palestine were strongly
anti-Jewish decades before Israel's founding
"Four major events occurred in 1920. In March, Faysal was crowned king of Syria, raising expectations that Palestine would join his independent state. In April, the British put Palestine on the map, dashing those hopes. In July, French forces captured Damascus, ending the Palestinian tie with Syria. And in December, responding to these events, the Palestinian leadership adopted the goal of an independent Palestinian state," Pipes concludes.
* The photograph appeared on a site called "Britain in Palestine," but the site has subsequently been dismantled. We suspect it is part of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum's collection currently undergoing a refurbishing.