Monday, September 30, 2013

Arab revolt in Palestine 1936–1939

During the Arab revolt in Palestine 1936-1939, those who took part in the riots were protesting two main problems: large Jewish immigration to the Palestine area as well as firing back against the British’s colonial rule. The first years of the riots were mainly lead by Arab Higher Committee (AHC). During this time violence wasn’t a huge issue; those who took part would simply go on strike and other types of political protest that caused no real harm or danger to anyone. However, this took a turn in 1937 after the British had calmed the first round of riots. In September 1937 the rioting turned violent and thousands were killed. It is said that during the riots about 10% of the male Palestinian population between the ages 20-60 were killed, imprisoned, exiled, or wounded. But, in the end, these riots would prove to be quite unsuccessful.

How it started

In April 1936, several different Arab leaders banded together to protest Zionist advances in Palestine. These leaders, better known as the AHC, were calling for Arab workers to go on strike and to boycott any type of Jewish products. The group, lead by Haj Amin al-Husseini, represented the aims of the Arabs in Palestine until 1948. In Palestine, Jews were accumulating more land and more were immigrating to the location and the Arabs were not only frustrated at this influx, but also do to the European power that they were under. The AHC was calling for a swift end to these practices and wanted to spring up an Arab nationalist government to rule Palestine. Even though the riots started off peacefully, they quickly escalated once the Arabs realized that the British were able to squash their methods and that no change was going to come about through peaceful protest. By the end of 1937, Arabs, Jews, and even British soldiers were being killed due to violent and gang activities. Many Arabs were imprisoned, some hanged, and some even sent to live elsewhere.

How it ended

During this time, the British were also waging for a possible war with Germany. The country realized that they needed to maintain their Middle Eastern oil supply as they were dependent upon it and because of that have to ensure that the Arabs were in goodwill. However, at the same time, British rule was highly influenced and supported by the Jews as they were fighting against Nazi Germany. But in the end the government sided with the Arabs and relied on appeasement despite the country’s history of supporting Palestine as a Jewish homeland as well as the Balfour Declaration in 1917. Despite Britain’s decisions, Jewish immigration and growth continued. In 1937 the British, working alongside with the AHC, tried to draft a way to mediate the situation. A Peel Commission was created which stated that Palestine should be separated into Jewish and Arab states, but the Arabs were not for any type of partition. In the end with no reasonable conclusion met, the British had to keep the riots down with force and got rid of the AHC. Today, Palestine is still a land full of conflict.

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