Arab general strike (Mandatory Palestine)
|Arab general strike|
|Part of the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine|
|Perpetrators||Arab Higher Committee|
The Arab general strike in Mandatory Palestine of 1936 was a general strike of all Arabs in Mandatory Palestine engaged in labour, transport and shopkeeping, which began on 19 April 1936 and lasted until October 1936; and which degenerated into violence and the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine.
As part of the intercommunal conflict, some Arab leaders sought to orchestrate anti-Jewish boycotts from 1922, with the official commencement of the British Mandate for Palestine. Arab dissent was influenced by the Qassamite rebellion following the killing of Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam by the British military in 1935, as well as the declaration by Mohammad Amin al-Husayni of 16 May 1930 as 'Palestine Day' and calling for a general strike on this day, following the 1929 Buraq (Western Wall) Uprising.
In Egypt, anti-British demonstrations in November 1935 brought about the resumption of negotiations between the two countries for a treaty of independence. In Mandatory Syria a promise in March 1936 from the French authorities of self-government was made to end the 50-day Syrian general strike.
In 1936, Walter Döhle, the Nazi German consul general in Jerusalem sent a telegram to Berlin reporting Amin al-Husseini's belief that Palestinian Muslims were enthusiastic about the new regime and looked forward to the spread of fascism throughout the region. Döhle met al-Husseini and many sheikhs again, a month later, at Nabi Musa. They expressed their approval of the anti-Jewish boycott in Germany and asked Döhle not to send any Jews to Palestine. Döhle subsequently wrote in his annual report for that year that the Arabs' political naïvety led them to fail to recognize the link between German Jewish policy and their problems in Palestine, and that their enthusiasm for Nazi Germany was devoid of any real understanding of the phenomenon.
The strike began on 19 April in Nablus, where an Arab National Committee was formed, and by the end of the month National Committees had been formed in all of the towns and some of the larger villages, including Haifa, Jenin, Tulkarm and Jerusalem. On 21 April the leaders of the five main parties accepted the decision at Nablus and called for a general strike of all Arabs engaged in labour, transport and shopkeeping for the following day.
While the strike was initially organised by workers and local committees, religious leaders, influential families and political leaders became involved to help with co-ordination. This led to the formation on 25 April 1936 of the Arab Higher Committee (AHC) under the chairmanship of Amin al-Husseini. The Committee resolved "to continue the general strike until the British Government changes its present policy in a fundamental manner". The demands of the Committee included: (1) the prohibition of Jewish immigration; (2) the prohibition of the transfer of Arab land to Jews; (3) the establishment of a National Government responsible to a representative council. On 15 May 1936, the Committee endorsed the general strike, calling for an end to Jewish immigration and a general non-payment of taxes.
The response of the British to the strike was to impose heavy fines on villages and cities. The city-port of Jaffa was especially singled out. Under the guise of urban renewal the British ordered the demolition of hundreds of homes in the city and more than a thousand in neighbouring villages. The British also authorised the building of a port in neighboring Tel Aviv to compete with the strike-bound Port of Jaffa.
Solidarity campaign committees were formed in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Beirut.
The strike was eventually called off in November 1936, by the HAC, under the influence of Britain. King Ghazi of Iraq, King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia and Amir Abdullah of Transjordan appealed to the workers to end the strike because as they wrote in Palestinian newspapers, "We rely on the good intentions of our friend Great Britain, who has declared that she will do justice."
- Nicosia 2000, pp. 85–86.
- Nicosia 2000, pp. 86–87.
- Horne, 2003, p. 208.
- Peel Commission Report Cmd. 5479, 1937, p. 96.
- Krämer, 2008, p. 272.
- Peel Commission Report Cmd. 5479, 1937, p. 97.
- A History of Palestinian Resistance, Daud Abdullah
- Kayyālī, 1978, p. 193.
- Norris, Jacob (2008). Repression and Rebellion: Britain's Response to the Arab Revolt in Palestine of 1936-39. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 36(1):25–45.
- Our Roots are still alive, J Bonds
- Link details of battles during the revolt