(JEWS and ARABS in PALESTINE, to 1939 – continued)
The British were determined to keep Jewish immigration limited. The Zionists were also concerned about the burdens that immigration imposed on available resources in Palestine and about their own resources in supporting immigration. Migrating to Palestine was recognized as an economic hardship especially for Jews accustomed to European or American standards of living. A young Jewish woman from the United States, Golda Meir, wrote to friends that those joining her in Palestine may have to suffer a lot economically. And, she wrote, "There may be riots again."
In the twenties, Zionists did buy some land for agriculture in Palestine, and Muslims who were poor and landless resented it. The Grand Mufti al-Husseini and other Muslim aristocrats made money selling this land to Zionist organizations at prices higher than they could sell to their fellow Muslims. According to some they played a roll in stirring up more hostility against the Jews, and according to others they advocated calm and peace rather than hostility.
During the first half of 1929, conflict erupted between Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem. The Grand Mufti al-Husseini accused the Jews of having seized Muslim holy places in Jerusalem – Al Aqsa and Al-Haram – atop the holy place that Jews called the Temple Mount. In response, enraged Arab mobs attacked Jews in Jerusalem and looted their homes, and the attacks and looting spread to other cities. The Jews in Hebron suffered the most. There, sixty-seven Jews were killed and others injured. The attackers did not spare women, children or the aged. Hebron was a holy city for the Jews, but its settlement of 700 people came to an end. Survivors fled to Jerusalem.
At Tel Aviv, armed Jews counterattacked and killed six Arabs. A British force rushed from bases elsewhere in the Mediterranean and ended the violence, the British killing 87 Arabs and wounding many more. The total Jewish dead from the disturbances was 133. note16
The uprising against the Jews proved counter-productive for the Arabs, not only in Arab deaths but in the attitudes of Jews. Muslims had been arguing that it had been the Zionists who had been stirring up trouble, that the Jews they had been living alongside for centuries had wanted no separate state for Jews. Now, with the uprising against Jews, the Zionists and recent immigrants were winning the argument for a separate state.
This was of little concern to angry Muslims who wanted no accommodation with the Jews. By now, many Palestinian Arabs were describing Jews in general as an enemy, that it was the Jews who had tortured Christ and poisoned Muhammad. Arabs were urging a boycott of Jewish shops in order to save the "Fatherland from the grasp of the foreign intruder and greedy Jew." note17
Copyright © 1998-2014 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.