Israel Khazan and Zvi Dannenberg, Jewish truckers in Palestine, were attacked and killed by Arab assailants on this day in 1936 in the first fatal attack of the three-year Arab revolt, a nationalist uprising against British Mandatory rule and against increasing Jewish immigration, which had doubled the population of Jews in Palestine to 370,000, or 27 percent of the general population, over the course of four years. The Arab Revolt would begin with a general strike in April, a tax strike in May, and the bombing of trains, oil pipelines, and other infrastructure. By the summer of 1936, thousands of acres of farmland and orchards worked by Jews would be destroyed and several Jewish communities would be entirely uprooted. The British response was brutal, including summary execution, mass arrests, harsh interrogation and torture, and the destruction of entire Arab villages. According to official British figures, more than 2,000 Arabs were killed in combat over the course of the three years, 108 were hanged, and 961 more died because of revenge attacks, gang activities, sniping, and terrorism. Other analysts have suggested Arab casualties of 5,032 dead and nearly 15,000 wounded. The British also estimated Jewish deaths at 300 and British deaths at 262. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, went into exile after the revolt was crushed, eventually finding sanctuary in Nazi Germany, where he actively collaborated with Hitler’s government.
“I will never forget arriving at al-Bassa and seeing the Rolls Royce armoured cars of the 11th Hussars peppering Bassa with machine gun fire and this went on for about 20 minutes and then we went in and I remembered we had lighted braziers and we set the houses on fire and we burnt the village to the ground.” –Desmond Woods, officer of the Royal Ulster Rifles
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PRESIDENT OBAMA: Marhaba. Thank you, President Abbas, for your generous words and for welcoming me to Ramallah. I was last here five years ago, and it’s a pleasure to be back — to see the progress that’s happened since my last visit, but also to bear witness to the enduring challenges to peace and security that so many Palestinians seek. I’ve returned to the West Bank because the United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.
The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it.Palestinians deserve to move and travel freely, and to feel secure in their communities. Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope — that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity. Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own. [click to continue…]
Over the past year, three documentaries from and about Israel have revealed interrelated but distinct faces of the country. In the Academy Award-nominated Five Broken Cameras, we saw, through the eyes of a Palestinian, Emad Burnat, the brutishness, brutality, and murderousness of the Israeli occupation. In Ra’anan Alexandrowicz’s The Law in These Parts, we saw, through interviews with the legal authorities involved in the process, how easily and cynically the legal structure of the occupation and its oppression and confiscations was developed. And now, with Dror Moreh’s Oscar-nominated The Gatekeepers, we see how exceedingly strange and hard to pin down Israel can be, as the six men who since 1980 led the Shin Bet, the nation’s intelligence service, in the course of lengthy, frank, and revealing interviews with the filmmaker, show themselves, or rather define themselves, as ardent workers for peace.
As the director has said in interviews, the Shin Bet heads have, through their elimination of terror, created the possibility for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. It is politicians who, as is said in the film, “have tactics but no strategy,” and have lacked the will and, since Rabin, the interest, to act. [click to continue…]
• “The Israeli decision to kill Ahmed Jabari was total insanity. Jabari was behind enforcing all of the recent ceasefire agreements. He sent his troops out to stop the rockets and was prepared to reach a long term ceasefire. Jabari was also the main interlocutor of the Egyptian intelligence service in reaching ceasefire understandings. Now who are they supposed to talk to? . . . Now the government and people of Israel will face a massive barrage of rockets and they bought the entrance card to Cast Lead II. God help us all. . . .”
—Gershom Baskin, Jerusalem Post columnist, on Facebook
• “Israel demanded of Hamas that it observe the truce in the south and enforce it on the multiplicity of armed organizations in the Gaza Strip. The man responsible for carrying out this policy was Ahmed Jabari. . . . The assassination of Jabari will go down in history as another showy military action initiated by an outgoing government on the eve of an election.”
—Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz editor-in-chief