1933 Palestine riots

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The 1933 Palestine riots (Hebrew: מאורעות תרצ"ד‎) (commonly known as Me'oraot Tartsad) were a series of violent riots in Mandatory Palestine, as part of the intercommunal conflict in Mandatory Palestine. The riots erupted on 28 October 1933, initiated by the Arab Executive Committee.[1] The riots came as the culmination of Arab resentment at Jewish migration after it surged to new heights following the rise of Nazi Germany, and at the British Mandate authorities for allegedly facilitating Jewish land purchases.[1] The second mass demonstration, at Jaffa in October, turned into a bloodbath when police fired on the thousands-strong crowd, killing 19 and injuring some 70. The "Jaffa massacre", as Palestinians called it, quickly triggered further unrest, including a week-long general strike and urban insurrections that resulted in state security forces killing 7 more Arabs and wounding another 130 with gunfire.[2]


The sectarian violence in Mandatory Palestine between Jewish and Arab communities began with the 1920 Syrian crisis and consequent defeat of the Arab Syrian nationalists in the Franco-Syrian War. Serious disturbances erupted in British controlled territory as a fallout of the Franco-Syrian war, but the return of hard line Palestinian Arab nationalists to Jerusalem from Damascus, led by Haj Amin al-Husseini, essentially shifted the conflict to local intra-communal topics. Serious eruptions of violence followed in 1921 and 1929.

Tensions between Jews and Arabs were driven by competing ideologies over the right to the land of Palestine.[3][4] Jewish immigration and land ownership had been increasing from the Ottoman era, leading to fears amongst both Palestinian Christians and Muslims.[5] Paramilitary organisations such as the Haganah were formed, with some bands forming as early as the Second Aliyah.[6] The Zionist leadership in Palestine believed British authorities were not interested in defending them against Arab nationalist forces,[7] organised into loose bands known as fasa'il.[8]

The events[edit]

On 5 October 1933 the Arab Executive Committee called for a general strike "to show the anger of the Arab people in the region of Palestine" and announced that on 13 October 1933 a protest would be gathered at the mosques on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The police of the British Mandate banned the demonstration. On the day in which the demonstration was going to be held British police officers were stationed at the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem. The demonstration began at noon and was led by members of the Arab Executive Committee. A British police officer, backed by a large police force, called them to disperse but they did not acceded to his request, and as a result the police began dispersing the demonstration through the use of clubs.

A large shipment of weapons was discovered in Jaffa harbour, destined for an address in Tel Aviv.[9] The Arab Executive Committee announced their intention to hold a political demonstration in Jaffa on 27 October, similar to the 13 October protest in Jerusalem.[1] The High Commissioner met with the President and members of the Executive on 25 October and informed them that a political procession would be prohibited by the Mandate authorities. Despite the ban, the protest proceeded, and police again began dispersing the crowd, which rebelled. 26 demonstrators and one policeman were killed. The protest was attended by representatives from as far away as Jordan and Syria.[10]

As the news of the events spread, demonstrations were held in Jaffa, Jerusalem, Haifa and Nablus.[1] Roy Spicer, chief of the Palestine Police Force, suppressed them firmly by sending British police officers on horses. The officers used clubs as well as guns during their confrontation with the rioters; in Jerusalem, a police station was attacked, and one policeman was stabbed.[1] 26 Arab protesters were killed and about 180 were wounded until the riots were eventually completely subdued by the British police forces.[citation needed]


The 1933 Palestine riots were a prelude to the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine, during which the Arab community of Mandatory Palestine, supported by foreign Arab volunteers, held a mass revolt against the British authorities, also targeting the Palestinian Jewish community.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Riots in Palestine". Sunday Times (Perth, WA). 29 October 1933. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  2. ^ Anderson, Charles (6 November 2017). "The British Mandate and the crisis of Palestinian landlessness, 1929–1936". Middle Eastern Studies: 1–45. doi:10.1080/00263206.2017.1372427.
  3. ^ Z. Sternhell, 1999, 'The Founding Myths of Israel ...'; Y. Gorny, 1987, Zionism and the Arabs, 1882–1948; Finkelstein, 2003, Image and Reality of the Israel–Palestine Conflict
  4. ^ R. Khalidi, 2006, The Iron Cage, ISBN 0-8070-0308-5, pp. 32, 36
  5. ^ C. D. Smith, 2001, Palestine and the Arab–Israeli Conflict, 4th ed., ISBN 0-312-20828-6, pp. 28, 43
  6. ^ Speedy (12 September 2011). "The Speedy Media: IDF's History". Thespeedymedia.blogspot.com. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  7. ^ "The Role of Jewish Defense Organizations in Palestine (1903-1948)". Jewish Virtual Library.
  8. ^ Swedenberg, 2003, p. 125.
  9. ^ Horne, Edward (1982). A Job Well Done (Being a History of The Palestine Police Force 1920–1948). The Anchor Press. ISBN 0-9508367-0-2. pp.193.194,199
  10. ^ "Sharing the Land of Canaan - PR CH6". Retrieved 18 July 2017.