1929 Palestine riots

1929 Palestine riots

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The 1929 Palestine riots, also known as the Western Wall Uprising, the 1929 Massacres, ' onMouseout='HidePop("53226")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Anno_Mundi">Anno Mundi
Anno Mundi
' , abbreviated as AM or A.M., refers to a Calendar era based on the Biblical creation of the world. Numerous efforts have been made to determine the Biblical date of Creation, yielding varying results. Besides differences in interpretation, which version of the Bible is being referenced also...

), or the Buraq Uprising , refers to a series of demonstrations and riots in late August 1929 when a long-running dispute between Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s and Jews over access to the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

 in Jerusalem escalated into violence. During the week of riots 116 Arabs and 133 Jews were killed and 232 Arabs and 198 Jews were injured and treated in hospital. According to the official report, "many of the Arab casualties and possibly some of the Jewish casualties were caused by rifle fire by the police or military forces".

Sequence of events



In September 1928, Jews at their Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

 prayers at the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

 placed chairs and customary screens
Mechitza
A mechitza in Jewish Halakha is a partition, particularly one that is used to separate men and women....

 between the men and women present. Jerusalem commissioner Edward Keith-Roach
Edward Keith-Roach
Edward Keith-Roach‏ . British Colonial administrator during the British mandate on Palestine. served as the governor of Jerusalem from 1926 to 1945. Nicknamed "Pasha of Jerusalem"...

, while visiting the Muslim religious court overlooking the prayer area, pointed out the screen, precipitating emotional protests and demands from the assembled sheiks that it be removed. Unless it was taken down, they said, they would not be responsible for what happened. This was described as violating the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 status quo
Status quo
Statu quo, a commonly used form of the original Latin "statu quo" – literally "the state in which" – is a Latin term meaning the current or existing state of affairs. To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are...

that forbade Jews from making any construction in the Western Wall area, though such screens had been put up from time to time. The British issued an ultimatum for its removal. When police officers in riot gear
Riot control
Riot control refers to the measures used by police, military, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest civilians who are involved in a riot, demonstration, or protest. Law enforcement officers or soldiers have long used non-lethal weapons such as batons and whips to disperse crowds...

 were then sent in, a scuffle took place with worshippers and the screen in question was destroyed.

The intervention drew censure later from senior officials who judged that excessive force had been exercised. Haj Amin al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is the Sunni Muslim cleric in charge of Jerusalem's Islamic holy places, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.-Ottoman era:...

 exploited the incident by distributing leaflets to Arabs in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and throughout the Arab world which claimed that the Jews were planning to take over the al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

. One consequence was that Jewish worshippers frequently were subjected to beatings and stoning.

During the spring of 1929 the Revisionist
Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism...

 newspaper, Doar HaYom ran a long campaign claiming Jewish rights over the wall and its pavement. On 6 August the British Palestine Police Force
Palestine Police Force
The Palestine Police Force was a British colonial police service established in the British Mandate for Palestine on 1 July 1920, when High Commissioner Herbert Samuel's civil administration took over responsibility for security from General Allenby's Occupied Enemy Territory Administration...

 established a police post beside the wall. On 14 August the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 and Brit Trumpeldor
Betar
The Betar Movement is a Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir Jabotinsky. It has been traditionally linked to the original Herut and then Likud political parties of Israel, and was closely affiliated with the pre-Israel Revisionist Zionist splinter group...

 held a meeting in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 attended by 6,000 people objecting to 1928 Commission's conclusion that the Wall was Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 property.

On 15 August 1929, during the Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

, several hundred members of Joseph Klausner
Joseph Klausner
Joseph Gedaliah Klausner , , was a Jewish historian and professor of Hebrew Literature. He was the chief redactor of The Hebrew Encyclopedia...

's Committee for the Western Wall, among them members of Vladimir Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism
Revisionist Zionism is a nationalist faction within the Zionist movement. It is the founding ideology of the non-religious right in Israel, and was the chief ideological competitor to the dominant socialist Labor Zionism...

 movement Betar
Betar
The Betar Movement is a Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir Jabotinsky. It has been traditionally linked to the original Herut and then Likud political parties of Israel, and was closely affiliated with the pre-Israel Revisionist Zionist splinter group...

 youth organisation, under the leadership of Jeremiah Halpern
Jeremiah Halpern
Captain Jeremiah Halpern was a Revisionist Zionist leader in Palestine who first came to prominence when he served as aide de camp to Ze'ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s when the latter was head of the Haganah in Jerusalem.Halpern, a certified ship's captain, was known as Rav...

, assembled at the Wall shouting "the Wall is ours". They raised the Jewish national flag
Flag of Israel
The flag of Israel was adopted on October 28, 1948, five months after the country's establishment. It depicts a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes...

 and sang Hatikvah
Hatikvah
"Hatikvah" is the national anthem of Israel. The anthem was written by Naphtali Herz Imber, a secular Galician Jew from Zolochiv , who moved to the Land of Israel in the early 1880s....

, the Israeli anthem. The authorities had been notified of the march in advance and provided a heavy police escort in a bid to prevent any incidents. Rumours spread that the youths had attacked local residents and had cursed the name of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

.

On Friday, August 16 after an inflammatory sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

, a demonstration organized by the Supreme Muslim Council
Supreme Muslim Council
The Supreme Muslim Council was the highest body in charge of Muslim community affairs in Mandate Palestine under British control. It was established to create an advisory body composed of Muslims and Christians with whom the High Commissioner could consult...

 marched to the Wall and burnt prayer books and supplicatory notes left in the Wall's cracks. The riots continued, and the next day a young Sephardic Jew named Abraham Mizrachi was stabbed at the Maccabi grounds near Mea Shearim
Mea Shearim
Mea Shearim is one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Israel. It is populated mainly by Haredi Jews and was built by the original settlers of the Yishuv haYashan.-Name:...

, in the Bukharan Quarter
Bukharan Jews
Bukharan Jews, also Bukharian Jews or Bukhari Jews, or яҳудиёни Бухоро Yahūdieni Bukhoro , Bukhori Hebrew Script: יהודיאני בוכאראי and יהודיאני בוכארי), also called the Binai Israel, are Jews from Central Asia who speak Bukhori, a dialect of the Tajik-Persian language...

, and died the evening of the following day. His funeral was turned into a political demonstration, and was suppressed by the same force that had been employed in the initial incident. A late-night meeting initiated the following day by the Jewish leadership, at which acting high commissioner Harry Luke, Jamal al-Husayni
Jamal al-Husayni
Jamal al-Husayni , , was born in Jerusalem and was a member of the Husayni family.Husayni served as Secretary of the Palestinian Arab Action Committee and the Muslim Supreme Council. He was founder and chairman of the Palestine Arab Party and its delegate to the Arab Higher Committee, led by his...

, and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi was a historian, Labor Zionist leader, the second and longest-serving President of Israel.-Biography:...

 were present, failed to produce a call for an end to the violence.

On August 20, Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 leaders proposed to provide defence for 600 Jews of the Old Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

 in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, or to help them evacuate. However, the leaders of the Hebron community declined these offers, insisting that they trusted the A'yan (Arab notables) to protect them. The next Friday, 23 August, thousands of Arab villagers streamed into Jerusalem from the surrounding countryside to pray on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

, many armed with sticks and knives. Harry Luke requested reinforcements from Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

.

Inflamed by rumours that two Arabs had been killed by Jews, Arabs started an attack on Jews in Jerusalem's Old City. The violence quickly spread to other parts of Palestine. British authorities had fewer than 100 soldiers, six armoured cars, and five or six aircraft in country; Palestine Police had 1,500 men, but the majority were Arab, with a small number of Jews and 175 British officers. While awaiting reinforcements, many untrained administration officials were required to attach themselves to the police, though the Jews among them were sent back to their offices. Several English theology students visiting from the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 were deputised. While a number of Jews were being killed at the Jaffa Gate, British policemen did not open fire. They reasoned that if they had shot into the Arab crowd, the crowd would have turned their anger on the police.

Yemin Moshe
Yemin Moshe
Yemin Moshe " or "Moses' Memorial") is an old neighborhood in Jerusalem, Israel, overlooking the Old City.-History:Yemin Moshe was established in 1891 by Moses Montefiore outside Jerusalem's Old City as a solution to the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions inside the walls, and eventually named...

 was one of the few Jewish neighbourhoods to return fire, but most of Jerusalem's Jews did not defend themselves. At the outbreak of the violence and again in the following days, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi demanded that weapons be handed to the Jews, but was both times refused. By August 24, 17 Jews were killed in the Jerusalem area. The worst killings occurred in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 and Safed
Safed
Safed , is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of , Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and of Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters...

 while others were killed in Motza
Motza
Motza ת is a neighbourhood in the western edge of Jerusalem, Israel, located 600 metres above sea level. In the Judean Hills, surrounded by forest, it is a relatively isolated place connected to Jerusalem by the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway and the winding mountain road to Har Nof...

, Kfar Uria
Kfar Uria
Kfar Uria is a moshav in central Israel. Located near Beit Shemesh, it falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Yehuda Regional Council. In 2006 it had a population of 445....

, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

.

There were also a few instances of Jewish violence against Arabs, in particular on the quarter that lay between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, where the Imam of a mosque and six other persons were killed.

Hebron massacre


In Hebron, Arab mobs killed 65-68 Jews and wounded 58.

The lone British policeman in the town, Raymond Cafferata, who, "killed as many of the murderers as he could, taking to his fists even", was overwhelmed, and the reinforcements he called for did not arrive for 5 hours - leading to severe recriminations. Hundreds of Jews were saved by their Arab neighbours, who offered them sanctuary from the mob by hiding them in their own houses while others survived by taking refuge in the British police station at Beit Ramon on the outskirts of the city. When the massacre
Massacre
A massacre is an event with a heavy death toll.Massacre may also refer to:-Entertainment:*Massacre , a DC Comics villain*Massacre , a 1932 drama film starring Richard Barthelmess*Massacre, a 1956 Western starring Dane Clark...

 ended, the surviving Jews were evacuated by the British.

This massacre had a deep and lasting effect on the old and newer Jewish communities in Palestine.

Safed massacre



In Safed, 18 Jews were killed (some sources say 20) and 80 wounded. The main Jewish street was looted and burned.

Commission of Enquiry



A commission of enquiry
Shaw Report
The Report of the Commission on the Palestine Disturbances of August 1929 or Shaw Report of March 1930 was a British report of a Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Sir Walter Shaw, a distinguished jurist, and consisting of three members of the British parliament, Sir Henry Betterton , R.Hopkin...

 led by Sir Walter Shaw took public evidence for several weeks. The main conclusions of the Commission were as follows. [Material not in brackets is verbatim.]
  • The outbreak in Jerusalem on the 23rd of August was from the beginning an attack by Arabs on Jews for which no excuse in the form of earlier murders by Jews has been established.
  • The outbreak was not premeditated.
  • [The disturbances] took the form, in the most part, of a vicious attack by Arabs on Jews accompanied by wanton destruction of Jewish property. A general massacre of the Jewish community at Hebron was narrowly averted. In a few instances, Jews attacked Arabs and destroyed Arab property. These attacks, though inexcusable, were in most cases in retaliation for wrongs already committed by Arabs in the neighbourhood in which the Jewish attacks occurred.
  • [In his activities connected to the dispute over the Holy Places] the Mufti was influenced by the twofold desire to confront the Jews and to mobilize Moslem opinion on the issue of the Wailing Wall. He had no intention of utilizing this religious campaign as the means of inciting to disorder.
  • ...in the matter of innovations of practice [at the Wailing Wall] little blame can be attached to the Mufti in which some Jewish religious authorities also would not have to share. ...no connection has been established between the Mufti and the work of those who either are known or are thought to have engaged in agitation or incitement. ... After the disturbances had broken out the Mufti co-operated with the Government in their efforts both to restore peace and to prevent the extension of disorder.
  • [No blame can be properly attached to the British government for failing to provide armed reinforcements, withholding of fire, and similar charges.]
  • The fundamental cause ... is the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews consequent upon the disappointment of their political and national aspirations and fear for their economic future. ... The feeling as it exists today is based on the twofold fear of the Arabs that by Jewish immigration and land purchases they may be deprived of their livelihood and in time pass under the political domination of the Jews.
  • In our opinion the immediate causes of the outbreak were:-
    1. The long series of incidents connected with the Wailing Wall... These must be regarded as a whole, but the incident among them which in our view contributed most to the outbreak was the Jewish demonstration at the Wailing Wall on the 15th of August, 1929. Next in importance we put the activities of the Society for the Protection of the Moslem Holy Places and, in a lesser degree, of the Pro-Wailing Wall Committee.
    2. Excited and intemperate articles which appeared in some Arabic papers, in one Hebrew daily paper and in a Jewish weekly paper...
    3. Propaganda among the less-educated Arab people of a character calculated to incite them.
    4. The enlargement of the Jewish Agency.
    5. The inadequacy of the military forces and of the reliable police available.
    6. The belief...that the decisions of the Palestine Government could be influenced by political considerations.


The Commission recommended that the Government reconsider its policies as to Jewish immigration and land sales to Jews. This led directly to the Hope Simpson Royal Commission
Hope Simpson Royal Commission
The Report on Immigration, Land Settlement and Development or Hope Simpson Report of October 1930 was an investigation into governance of the British Mandate of Palestine, which had been recommended by the Shaw Report, following the widespread 1929 Palestine riots.Headed by Sir John Hope Simpson,...

 in 1930.

Commission member Henry Snell signed the report but added a Note of Reservation. Although he was satisfied that the Mufti was not directly responsible for the violence or had connived at it, he believed the Mufti was aware of the nature of the anti-Zionist campaign and the danger of disturbances. He therefore attributed to the Mufti a greater share of the blame than the official report had. Snell also disagreed with the commission on matters of Jewish immigration, and did not support restrictions on Jewish land purchases. Regarding the immediate causes of the outbreak, Snell agreed with the main findings of the commission.

Hope Simpson Royal Commission, 1930



The commission was headed by Sir
Sir
Sir is an honorific used as a title , or as a courtesy title to address a man without using his given or family name in many English speaking cultures...

 John Hope Simpson
John Hope Simpson
Sir John Hope Simpson was a British Liberal politician who served as a Member of Parliament and later in the Government of Newfoundland....

, and on October 21, 1930 it produced its report, dated October 1, 1930. The report recommended to limit the Jewish immigration
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

 due to the lack of agricultural land to support it.

Aftermath


Altogether 195 Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s and 34 Jews were sentenced by the courts for crimes related to the 1929 riots. Death sentences were handed down to 17 Arabs and 2 Jews, but these were later commuted to long prison terms except in the case of 3 Arabs who were hanged. Large collective fines were imposed on about 25 Arab villages or urban neighborhoods. Some financial compensation was paid to persons who lost family members or property.

A few dozen families returned to Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 in 1931 to reestablish the community, but all but one family were evacuated from Hebron at the outset of the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. The last family left in 1947.

The Arabs in the region, led by the Palestine Arab Congress, imposed a boycott on Jewish-owned businesses following the riots.

See also

  • Riots in Palestine of 1920
  • 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine
  • Jaffa riots
    Jaffa riots
    The Jaffa riots were a series of violent riots in Palestine on May 1–7, 1921, which began as a fight between two Jewish groups but developed into an attack by Arabs on Jews during which many were killed...

  • Pro-Wailing Wall Committee
    Pro-Wailing Wall Committee
    The Pro–Wailing Wall Committee was established in Palestine on 24 July 1929, by Joseph Klausner, Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University, to promote Jewish rights at the Western Wall....

  • List of modern conflicts in the Middle East

External links