The British Task in Palestine

September 10, 1929

Report Outline
The Religious Background
Arabian National Aspirations
Jewish National Aspirations
Economic Forces in Conflict
The British Mandate in Palestine
Current Political, Social, and Economic Problems
Possible Future Steps in Palestine

During the fortnight following August 23 the civilised world was startled and dismayed by repeated reports of violent outbreaks in Palestine. Over 200 Jewish and Arab lives were lost, over 300 persons severely wounded, many towns and villages attacked and burned, property damaged, stolen, or destroyed, and persons driven from their farms and homes to refuge in the cities. The first attack took place at the Wailing Wall: a holy place in Jerusalem sacred to Moslem and Jew alike; to Moslem because it adjoins the Mosque of Omar which the prophet Mohammed is supposed to have visited; to Jew as the only relic of Solomon's temple. It is widely believed that the Arab uprising was concerted with the knowledge and guidance of Moslem leaders.

Prompt steps were taken by the British mandatory authorities in Palestine to suppress the attacks and restore order. Warships, troops, and airplanes under command of General Dobbie have concentrated in the disturbed areas to impress British military strength upon the natives and prevent repetitions of the attacks. Sir John Chancellor, High Commissioner of Palestine, has charged all inhabitants to assist him in restoring order and has created special courts presided over by British judges to try criminal cases growing out of the disturbances.

Meanwhile, public opinion in the United States and Great Britain has been thoroughly aroused, mass meetings have been held, relief funds raised and distributed, and protests presented by both Jews and Moslems to the American and British governments. President Hoover sent a message of sympathy to a Jewish mass meeting at Madison Square Garden on August 29 and urged generous contributions for Palestine relief. Secretary of State Stimson asked Great Britain to protect American lives and property in Palestine and received assurances that strong measures would be taken. (Of the 150,000 Jews in Palestine, about 2,000 are Americans.) Senator Borah called for an investigation to fix responsibility for the disorders. In London mass meetings of Jews accused the Palestine administration of “gross negligence and lack of foresight” and demanded justice to Jewry. The present Labour government, was exonerated, however, by Lord Melchett, British industrialist and vice chairman of the council of the Jewish Agency in Palestine. Conflicting demands were made by the World Zionist Executive and the Palestine Arab Executive. General Dobbie has acquiesced in the main to the Jewish demands.

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