The American Gazette

Commonsense political and social commentary from "Flyover Country"

Location: Rural Michigan, United States

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Islamist Terrorism

I decided to do an article related to what Islamist terrorism has taken place over many years. For the moment I choose not to focus on John Kerry, but to focus on what it is we have to fight, and then later why John Kerry cannot meet that threat.

I do this as a student of history, and one who believes that there is too much historical revision done to suit the political aims of many.

Let us start back when the middle east was first under a mandate of the British and the French, after WWI and the fall of the the Ottoman Empire. (Please note, I do not believe the highlighted links will work)

During their annual spring festival Nebi Musa (Prophet Moses), Muslims march from Jerusalem on the road to Jericho to where they believe Moses is buried. In the years predating 1920, these processions were marked by intimidation of Christian communities on their way.
After Emir Faisal I had agreed to the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine by signing the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement at Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the local leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, among them the Jerusalem Mayor Musa Khazim al-Husayni, rejected this agreement made in their name and the relations between Arabs and Jews had worsened.
The Arab attacks of March 1920 in Galilee (see the fall of Tel Hai and Joseph Trumpeldor) and the activities of Arab terrorist group Black Hand caused deep concerns among Zionist leaders, who made numerous requests to the Mandate administration to address the Yishuv's security. Their fears were ruled out by the Chief Administrative Officer General Louis Bols, Governor Ronald Storrs and General Edmund Allenby, particularly at their meeting with the president of the World Zionist Organization Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who warned them: "pogrom is in the air".
Storrs issued a warning to Arab leaders, but his forces included only 188 policemen, among them but 8 officers. The Ottoman Turks had usually deployed thousands of soldiers to keep order in narrow streets of Jerusalem during Nebi Musa procession.
Zeev Jabotinsky, who was earlier discharged from the British army as an "indiscreet political speaker", lead an effort to openly train Jewish volunteers in self-defense. The request to the British authorities to allow to arm the defenders was declined, however about 600 Jews were armed with small guns secretly.
April 4-7, 1920 in the Old City
During a procession on April 4, 1920, inflammatory anti-Semitic rhetoric led to rioting in Jerusalem. One of the inciters was Hajj Amin al-Husayni, a young nephew of the mayor of Jerusalem, another was the editor of the newspaper Suriya al-Janubia ("Southern Syria") Aref al-Aref, who delivered his speech on horseback. The Arab mob went on to ransack the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, beating anyone they could find and looting shops and homes. The riots lasted for four days.
The British acted erratically. After the violence broke out, Jabotisky met Storrs and suggested deployment of his volunteers, but this request was rejected. Later Storrs changed his mind and asked for 200 volunteers to report to the police headquarters to be sworn in as deputies. After they arrived and the administering of the oath had begun, orders came to cease and send them away. The army imposed night curfew on Sunday night and arrested several dozen rioters, but on Monday morning they were allowed to attend morning prayer and then released.
On Monday disturbances grew worse and the Old City was sealed off by the army. Even the Jews who sought to flee were not allowed to leave. Martial law was declared, but looting, burglary, rape and murder continued. Several homes were set on fire.
On Monday evening, the soldiers were evacuated from the Old City, a step that was later declared an "an error of judgment" by a court inquiry.
Jewish volunteers entered the Old City to organize self-defense of its residents. One of the volunteers was Nehemia Rabin (Rubitzov), future father of Yitzhak Rabin. Eventually, the violence was quelled by the British.
The aftermath
Fatalities: 5 Jews, 4 Arabs. Wounded: 216 Jews (18 critically), 23 Arabs (1 critically), 7 British soldiers.
The majority of the victims were old-Yishuv (non-Zionist, and some anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews). About 300 Jews from the Old City were evacuated.
After the riots, Storrs visited Menachem Ussishkin, the chairman of the Zionist Commission, to express "regrets for the tragedy that has befallen us," Ussishkin asked, "What tragedy?"
"I mean the unfortunate events that have occurred here in the recent days," Storrs said.
"His excellency means the pogrom," suggested Ussishkin. When Storrs hesitated to categorize the events as such, Ussishkin replied, "You Colonel, are an expert on matters of management and I am an expert on the rules of pogroms."
At the demand of the Palestinian Arab leadership, the British searched the offices and apartments of the Zionist leadership, including Weizmann's and Jabotisky's homes, for arms. At Jabotinsky's house they found 3 rifles, 2 pistols, and 250 rounds of ammunition. Nineteen men were arrested, including Jabotinsky.
A committee of inquiry placed responsibility for the riots on the Zionist Commission, for provoking the Arabs. Jabotinsky was given a fifteen year prison term for possessing weapons. The court blamed "Bolshevism," claiming that it "flowed in Zionism's inner heart" and ironically identified fiercely anti-Socialist Jabotinsky with the Socialist-aligned Poalei Zion ("Zionist Workers") party, which it called "a definite Bolshevist institution".
Some of the rioters were punished. Musa al-Hussayni was replaced as mayor by the head of the rival Nashashibi clan. Hajj Amin Al-Husayni and Aref al-Aref were each sentenced to ten years in absentia, since by then both had fled to Syria.
The official inquiry that followed found that the British military administration was rife with anti-Semitism and that the measures taken to maintain order were inadequate, but no one was charged. Not a single policeman was charged for failing in his duties.
A few weeks later, the San Remo conference replaced military administration of the Mandate with a civil government under Sir Herbert Samuel.
One of the most important results of the riot was that legal Jewish immigration to Palestine was halted, a major demand of the Palestinian Arab community. Feeling that the British were unwilling to defend them from continuous Arab violence, the Palestinian Jews decided to set up an underground self-defense militia, the Haganah ("defense").

Riots in Palestine of May, 1921 in the news
On May 1, 1921, a scuffle began in Tel Aviv-Jaffa between rival groups of Jewish Bolsheviks, carrying Yiddish banners demanding Soviet Palestine, and Socialists parading on May Day.
The neighboring Arabs who witnessed the incident, took this opportunity to attack Jewish shops and homes. They were joined by armed Arab policemen. The pogroms continued until May 7 and spread as far as Petah Tikva, Kfar Saba, Rehovot and other Jewish communities.
Fatalities were: 47 Jews, 48 Arabs. Wounded: 146 Jews, 73 Arabs.
After the riots, thousands of Jewish residents of Jaffa fled for Tel Aviv, and were temporarily housed in tent camps on the beach.
The newspaper Kuntress whose author and co-editor Joseph Chaim Brenner was one of the victims, published an article Entrenchment: "on May 1 the age of innocence had ended."
The administration has made some arrests. After international outcry, the arrested Jews were acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.
The Arab leaders submitted a petition to the League of Nations in which they expressed their grievances.
The high commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine Sir Herbert Samuel established an investigative commission headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court in Palestine Sir Thomas Haycroft. Its report has confirmed the Arab policemen's participation in the riots and also has deemed the actions taken by the authorities adequate. The report angered both Jews and Arabs: it placed the blame on the Arabs, but said that "Zionists were not doing enough to mitigate the Arabs' apprehensions".
In his speech on the occasion of royal birthday in June 1921, Samuel stressed the Britain's commitment to the second part of the Balfour Declaration and declared that Jewish immigration would be allowed only to the extent that it did not burden the economy. The Jewish immigration was suspended.
The Britain's policy regarding promise to establish Jewish National Home in Palestine, the reason behind the Mandate given them by the League of Nations, has changed by "fixing by the numbers and interests of the present population" the future Jewish immigration. A popular contemporary comment was that Samuel had revised the Balfour declaration to mean the Jewish National Home had become the Arab National Home.
New bloody riots broke out in Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem on November 2, 1921, when five Jewish residents and three Arab attackers were killed.

Hebron is one of most ancient cities in the Middle East, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Hebron was a Canaanite city captured by the Israelites in Biblical times. The Gibeonites of Gibeon, a city that had belonged in the Amorite League made a treaty with the Israelites, therefore the Amorites decided to destroy Gibeon as a lession to other cities. The rulers of Gibeon went to the Israeli general Joshua and asked for him to destroy the Amorite armies which he did. Then he captured all the Amorite cities including Hebron.
Hebron was probably founded in the 18th century BC. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. In particular, a cave near it, called the Cave of the Patriarchs (Hebrew: "ma'arat ha-machpela"), is traditionally considered the place where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah are buried. This cave is considered holy by both Jews and Muslims, and is site of both a Jewish shrine and a mosque.
Hebron was an ancient Canaanite royal city.
David was anointed King of Israel in Hebron and reigned in the city until the capture of Jerusalem, when the capital was moved to that city.
Except possibly for a few periods for which the facts are unclear, and the periods 1929-1931 and 1936-1968, there has been a significant Jewish presence in Hebron since Biblical times. In Jewish tradition, Hebron is one of the four "sacred communities" - ancient cities which were sites of Jewish religious activity.
1929 Massacre
A long-running dispute between Muslims and Jews over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem became steadily more violent until, on August 23, 1929, a mob of Arabs inflamed by false rumours that two Arabs had been killed by Jews started a murderous attack on Jews in the Old City. The violence quickly spread to other parts of Palestine. The worst atrocities were in Hebron and Safad, where massacres of Jews occurred. In Hebron, Arab mobs killed 67 Jews and wounded many others using clubs, knives and axes. The lone British policeman in the town was overwhelmed and the reinforcements he called for did not arrive for 5 hours (leading to bitter recriminations). Most of the other Jews survived by hiding with their Arab neighbors. The surviving Jews were evacuated from the town. A few dozen families returned in 1931 but the community never reestablished itself and there were no Jews remaining in Hebron by 1936.

More on Hebron later.


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