1834 Arab revolt in Palestine
|1834 Arab revolt in Palestine|
|Part of Campaigns of Muhammad Ali of Egypt|
|Egypt Eyalet||Arab clans:
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ibrahim Pasha||Qasim al-Ahmad|
|Casualties and losses|
|Thousands of rebels killed, 10,000 villagers deported to Egypt|
|Thousands of Arab civilians killed by Pasha's forces, hundreds of Jewish civilians killed by rebels
Total: 10,000 killed
The 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine, also known as the Arab Peasants revolt, was a reaction to conscription into the Egyptian army by the Wāli Muhammad Ali. Ali, as a part of a modernisation policy, began the conscription of ordinary subjects. Traditionally, soldiers were recruited from freebooters, loot-seekers, mercenaries, slaves or members of a military caste. The imposition of a conscription levy led to a revolt in the Egyptian conquered portion of Ottoman Syria, headed by the prominent Arab clans of Nablus, Hebron and the Jerusalem-Jaffa area. Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal argue that the 1834 Arab revolt of the Egyptian conquered part of Ottoman Syria was a formative event for the Palestinian sense of nationhood, in that it brought together disparate groups against a common enemy. These groups are some of those that reemerged later to constitute the Palestinian people.
Under the Ottoman Empire, the Southern part of Ottoman Syria's Arab population mostly saw themselves as Ottoman subjects. The revolt was sparked off by Ottoman patriotism and sentiment against the heavy demand for conscripts, since the peasantry believed that conscription was little more than a death sentence. Starting in May 1834, the rebels took many cities, among them Nablus, Jerusalem and Hebron. In response, Ibrahim Pasha sent in an army, which on August 4, finally defeated the last rebels holding out in Hebron.
In consolidating his power, Muhammad Ali favoured a style of rule based on autocratic despotism, while taking his model from the organisation of bureaucracy characteristic of modern European states. Like earlier rulers of Egypt, Muhammad Ali desired to exercise control over Bilad al-Sham (Greater Syria), both for its strategic value and for its rich natural resources. Not only did Syria have abundant natural resources, it also boasted a thriving international trading community with well-developed markets. In addition, in his strategy it would be a captive market for goods then being produced in Egypt. More importantly, the extension of Egyptian control over Syria was desirable because it would serve as a buffer state between Egypt and the Ottoman sultan in Constantinople.
A new fleet and army was raised and built, and on October 31, 1831, under Ibrahim Pasha, Ali's eldest son, the Egyptian invasion of Syria began, which initiated in turn the First Turko-Egyptian War. For the sake of international appearances, the pretext for the expedition was a quarrel with Abdullah Pasha of Acre. Wāli Ali alleged that 6,000 fellaheen (peasant, farmer or agricultural labourer) had fled to Acre to escape the draft, corvée, and taxes, and he demanded their return. Ibrahim Pasha advanced through Ottoman Syria, occupying Haifa in December 1831, and then using the city as his primary military base.
Declaration of revolt in Nablus
Qasim al-Ahmad, nahiya (clan leader) of Jamma'in was appointed as mustasallim (administrator) of the Nablus sub-district by Ibrahim Pasha. Qasim was replaced by 'Abd al-Hadi. Qasim organised the a'ayan (notables) of Nablus, Hebron and Jerusalem and on 19 May 1834, the clans, led by Qasim, notified Egyptian officials that local Southern Syrian Arab families would no longer furnish the Egyptian army with troops. Governor Ibrahim Pasha responded by sending Egyptian forces into the rebellious cities, thus triggering armed conflict with the clans. Ottoman-aligned Southern Syrian Arab families in southern Ottoman Syria revolted under the leadership of Qasim al-Ahmad.
The uprising spread throughout the area known today as the West Bank. During the revolt, a zealous Muslim denounced Ibrahim Pasha as an infidel and exhorted the population of Nablus to join the uprising.
Nablus sent hundreds of rebels to attack Jerusalem, aided by a Circassian clan from Abu Ghosh, and together they conquered most parts of the city on May 31. The Christians and Jews of Jerusalem — sympathetic to Ibrahim as his rule brought them economic prosperity — were seen by the locals as enemies and invaders therefore were singled out for abuse.
Ibrahim's Egyptian army routed Qasim's forces in Jerusalem the next month. Nearby Bethlehem's Muslim Quarter was also destroyed by the Egyptian army and its inhabitants disarmed. This move was apparently a punishment for the killing of a favored loyalist of Ibrahim Pasha. Reverend W.M. Thomson wrote "this terrible vengeance failed to quell the turbulent spirit of the people. They are ever distinguished in the great feasts at Jerusalem by their fierce and lawless manners, and if any row occurs they are sure to have a hand in it."
June 1834 engagements
On 9 June, two hours North of Jerusalem, an Egyptian force from the city with reinforcements, consisting of 2,000 cavalry and 4,000 infantry engaged rebels approaching from Nablus. 1,500 rebels were killed and 11 taken prisoner. On the 16th June, three hours to the South, near Solomon's Pools, the army were less successful and had to fight their way back to the city.
On June 15, 1834, Arab Muslim rebels attacked the Jews of Safad, waging a massacre, and mass-rape[verification needed] that lasted for 33 days. It caused the Jewish community to dwindle; many Jews were beaten to death or severely wounded. Accounts tell of blinding men, torturing men and women. It is not clear how many exactly died.
An estimated 750 of the town's Muslims had been drafted as soldiers, and some 500 of them were killed. Hebron took part in the rebellion of 1834 in southern Ottoman Syria, and suffered badly from Ibrahim Pasha's campaign to crush the uprising. The town was laid to siege and, when the defences of the town fell, it was sacked by Ibrahim Pasha's army. Most of the Muslim population managed to flee beforehand to the hills. Some of the Jewish community however stayed behind, and, during the general pillage of the town, twelve of them were killed. The majority however, like most of the Jews of Safed and Tiberias, fled to Jerusalem.
Once the revolt was crushed, Qasim and his two eldest sons were hanged. The Egyptian army razed 16 villages before taking Nablus. 10,000 felaheen were deported to Egypt and the general population was disarmed. Ibrahim Pasha forced the heads of the Nablus clans to leave for nearby villages.
Ottoman rule was subsequently reinstated in 1840, but many Egyptian Muslims remained in Jerusalem.
Hat-I-Sharif of Gulhana, issued by Abdülmecid I, lifted the restrictions against non-Muslim subjects of the Ottoman empire as part of the Tanzimat (reforms) promising, amongst other things, a reform of conscription.
In the 1840s and 1850s, the international powers began a tug-of-war in southern Ottoman Syria as they sought to extend their protection over the country's religious minorities, a struggle carried out mainly through their consular representatives in Jerusalem.
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- Joseph Schwarz, translator Isaac Leeser, A Descriptive Geography and Brief Historical Sketch of Palestine, A. Hart, Philadelphia, 1850 p. 399 'In 5594 (1834) Hebron met with a heavy calamity, since it was taken by storm on the 28 day of Tamuz (July), by Abraim Pacha, and given up to his soldiers for several days……Nearly all the Mahomedans inhabitants fled into the depth of the mountain range, but the Jews could not do this; besides which, they entertained little fear, since they could not be viewed as rebels and enemies by Abraim, wherefore they fell an easy prey into the hands of the assailants.'
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