Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Arab Revolt (1936–1939)

Arab Revolt (1936–1939)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Great Britain and Jewish Zionists
vs. Palestinian Arabs

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Palestine (now Israel)


establish a Jewish state in Palestine; Arabs wished to drive
the Jews from the region; the British hoped to maintain
peace and prosecute the world war they were fighting
against Germany.

OUTCOME: The rebellion was quelled, but the British
moved to limit Jewish immigration in the future and
promised the Arabs an independent Palestine, which
only fed the flames of unrest that ultimately led the
Jews to declare a state of their own.

Totals unknown, but perhaps as many as 15,000 Arab
terrorists were active.

CASUALTIES: Several thousand

TREATIES: London Roundtable Conference “White Paper,”

From 1936 to 1939 Palestine erupted into civil war. The
Arab Revolt was an expression of Arab opposition to the
partition of Palestine, and as a result the Arabs took control
of the country outside the large cities and the Jewish
settlements. The British suppressed the revolt after the
loss of several thousand lives, and in 1939, the London
Round Table Conference produced a “White Paper”
promising the creation of an independent Palestine within
a decade and limiting Jewish immigration to 1,500 individuals
per month until 1944, when Jews would no longer
be admitted to Palestine. In response Zionists in large
measure turned from Britain to the United States for support,
demanding in the May 1942 Biltmore Conference in
New York the formation of an independent Jewish state, a
demand that attracted U.S. backing. Following WORLD
WAR II large numbers of Holocaust survivors sought
homes in Palestine. By 1947 a war-weary Britain turned
the entire problem over to the United Nations, which
voted to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.
On May 14, 1948, the eve of Britain’s evacuation, Palestine’s
Jews proclaimed on their own the state of Israel,
which led to the ARAB-ISRAELI WAR (1948–1949).

Further reading: Ted Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt:
The 1936–1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past
(London: Frank Cass, 1955).

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