The Arab Rebellion of 1936-39; Success or Failure?

The Arab Rebellion of 1936-39; Success or Failure?

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  • Date Submitted: 05/11/2013 1:22 AM
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The Arab Rebellion of 1936-39; Success or Failure?
JUS 377
University of Arizona
Spring 2011


The Arab rebellion of 1936 was a disaster and Arabs did not capitalize on British compromise. “Having failed in the revolt and nonetheless having been offered major political concessions, the AHC (Arab Higher Committee) turned around and rejected them, under pressure from the rebels whose slogan remained, 'The English to the sea and the Jews to the graves' (Morris, 1999 p. 158).” The Arab revolt which ended in 1939 was completely unsuccessful and served to underscore Arab Palestinian disunity, lack of cohesive political leadership and the general strike did not paralyze the country, as they had planned.

The Arab population declined from more than 82% of the population in 1931 to less than 70% in 1939 (Morris 1999, p. 122). Israel could have the majority within decades and Arabs where not predisposed to Jewish or, for that matter, European control of government. “The Arabs were afraid of losing their position as the majority in Palestine; and as long as the Jews aspired to the majority, the Arabs would not cease in their opposition to Jewish immigration and would not agree to any accord with them (Shapira, 1992 p. 166).” The Arabs consistently called for the British to put an end to Jewish immigration.

During the 1920's, the Yishuv acquired some 533,000 dunams (non-SI unit of area used in the Ottoman Empire); in the 1930's another 300,000. Most purchases in the 1920's were of large, relatively empty and uncultivated tracts and in the 1930's smaller transactions changed hands (Morris 1999 p. 123). The Arabs, again threatened by the new neighbors acquisition of Muslim/Arab territory, saw the eviction of and relocation of thousands of farming families to the fringes of urban areas and fueled the hostilities driving many who were dispossessed into national activism.

First Stage of the Revolt

On the 15th of April, 1936 a gang of...

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