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The Irgun, a Jewish paramilitary group in Palestine rooted in Revisionist (rightwing) Zionism, mounted three terrorist attacks against Arabs on this date in 1947 — just one day after 20 Arabs had already been killed with a “barrel bomb” at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. At the Alhambra Cinema, six were killed and twenty wounded by bombs; again at the Damascus Gate, five were killed and forty-seven wounded by two bombs thrown into the Arab marketplace; in an attack on Yehudiyah near Jaffa, seven were killed and ten seriously wounded in a café bombing. The context for these attacks was intensified Arab attacks against Jews that were meant to sidetrack the UN Partition Plan and prevent the establishment of a Jewish state. Between December 2nd and 5th, the Arab Higher Committee had conducted a strike and public protest in Jerusalem against the Partition vote, which turned to mob attacks on Jewish neighborhoods. Seventy Jews and fifty Arabs had been killed in the violence. To see a report about the Irgun narrated by Walter Cronkite, look below.
“The policy of the [Irgun] was based squarely on Jabotinsky’s teachings: every Jew had the right to enter Palestine; only active retaliation would deter the Arabs; only Jewish armed force would ensure the Jewish state.” —Howard Sachar