Palestinian disturbances 1936 (311).
(photo credit: American Colony-Jerusalem-Photo Dept)
The Library of Congress has recently digitalized a collection of over 10,000
photographs, taken by the "American Colony" in Jerusalem, a group of Christian
utopians who lived in Jerusalem between 1881 and the 1940s. The photographers
returned to the US, and bequeathed their massive collection to the Library of
Congress in 1978. The collection includes Winston Churchill's visit to
Jerusalem, Jewish expulsions from the Old City during Arab riots, and the
building of Tel Aviv.
The Arab revolt in Palestine (1936-1939) was a frequent subject for the American
Colony photographers. They recorded on film the Arab attacks on Jews, British
soldiers, and strategic targets such as the railroad network in Palestine. They
also photographed the sometimes draconian British response.
The Arab general strike in April 1936 was called by the Arab Higher
Committee, headed by the Mufti Haj Amin al Husseini. The strike escalated into
widespread attacks by gangs and militias.
By August, "volunteer" Arab guerrilla
forces from Syria had invaded. The annual British Mandate report for 1936
revealed that one of the guerrilla leaders "was Fawzi ed Din el Kauwakji, a
Syrian who had achieved notoriety in Syria in the Druze revolt of 1925-26. This
person subsequently proclaimed himself generalissimo of the rebel forces, and
'communiqués' and 'proclamations' purporting to have emanated from him were
circulated in the country."
The consequences of the
Arab revolt, labor strikes and attacks were numerous:
* The British instituted
the White Paper in 1939 limiting Jewish immigration into Palestine -- precisely
when hundreds of thousands of Jews were trying to flee Nazi Europe.
forced the Jews of Palestine to establish their own militias, the precursors of
the Israel Defense Forces.
* The revolt actually fractured Palestine's Arab
society, and many of the Arab casualties were caused by competing Arab gangs and
* With strategic facilities
subject to the Arab strike, the Jews of Palestine established their own port,
key industries, and airfields.
* The British struck back against the Arab
militias and gangs with force and sometimes brutality. Aircraft were used to
bomb and strafe Arab forces.
Today's feature shows examples of the Arab
attacks in 1936.
More photos can be viewed at http://www.israeldailypicture.com