Sunday, June 19, 2016

National Struggles in Post-World War One Palestine

From the Weinstock book, the chapter on post-World War One Palestine.

....Suddenly, in 1920, after a renewed wave of Arab nationalist agitation, anti-Jewish riots broke out in Jerusalem and in the north of the country, where several Jewish settlements had recently been founded. As far as Jerusalem was concerned, it was an unprecedented occurrence: never before had the Arab population molested the Jewish inhabitants. But to the Jewish observer, the disturbances unfailingly evoked the dreaded spectre of a pogrom. In reality, however, these bloody incidents expressed in a deflected form the hostility of the Arab masses to political Zionism. After the ruthless suppression of the outbreak, a military commission appointed to enquire into the causes of the incidents, highlighted the following motives [27]:

a) the Arabs’ disappointment following the failure to carry out the promises of independence made during the 1914-1918 War;

b) the Arabs’ conviction that the Balfour Declaration implied the denial of their right to self-determination, and their fear that the establishment of a Jewish National Home would mean a considerable increase in Jewish immigration, which would lead to their economic and political subjection to the Jews;

c) the intensification of these feelings by the propaganda conducted from abroad about the proclamation of Emir Faisal as the King of a reunified Syria in Damascus, which had the effect of reinforcing the pan-Arab and pan-Islamic trend, on the one hand, and the activities of the Zionist Commission, which was in Palestine at that time, supported by the influential resources of all world Jewry (sic!) on the other hand.

These conclusions contain in substance the explanation that all subsequent commissions were to give for anti-Jewish riots in Palestine. Jabotinsky, who had taken personal command of his Jewish unit in order to intervene in Jerusalem, and Amin al-Husseini, the future Mufti of Jerusalem, who had led the rioters and harangued the crowd assembled for the Nebi Musa festivities, were both given heavy sentences by military tribunals. Both were later given reprieves.

This was the first manifestation of a process which was to recur in magnified form in the years to come. The Arab landowning leadership and the British authorities attempted, with the help of Zionism, to divert the growth of the anti-imperialist consciousness of the Arab masses into an inter-communal conflict, pitting Jews against Arabs....

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