Tegart fort

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The Tegart police fort at Latrun

A Tegart fort is a type of militarized police fort constructed throughout Palestine during the British Mandatory period.[1]

Etymology[edit]

Tegart police station, Nahalal.

The forts are named after their designer, British police officer and engineer Sir Charles Tegart. In Israel, the name is often misspelled as "Taggart".[2] This is probably from the compound transliteration of an English name into Hebrew and then back into English.

History[edit]

Sir Charles Tegart designed the forts in 1938 based on his experiences in the Indian insurgency. They were built of reinforced concrete with water systems that would allow them to withstand a month-long siege.[3] Dozens of the structures were built according to the same basic plan, along the so-called "Tegart's wall" of the northern border with Lebanon and Syria, and at strategic intersections in the interior of Palestine.

Many of them can still be seen in Israel today, and continue to be used as police stations[3] and jails.[4] One houses Camp 1391 prison for "high-risk" prisoners.[5]

In the West Bank, several such forts, now known as Mukataa (Arabic: المقاطعة‎, "District") are used as offices and administrative centers of the Palestinian National Authority.

The fort in Ramallah, known as The Mukataa, used as Yasser Arafat's Presidential Headquarters, was damaged by Israeli forces in Operation Defensive Shield and the later siege, was later restored and added to under President Mahmoud Abbas, obscuring the lines of the original British structure.

The fort in Hebron was used as the headquarters of the Jordanian administration between 1949 and 1967, of the Israeli military governor between 1967 and 1997, and of the Palestinian Authority's governor between 1997 and 2002. It was destroyed in 2002 when the city was reconquered by Israeli forces in Operation Defensive Shield.

The Tegart fort in Ma'alot-Tarshiha, now a police station, is being restored as a historical landmark, attracting the attention of preservationists and tourists.[3]

Existing Tegart forts[edit]

The Latrun Museum
Tegart fort at Kibbutz Sasa
Metsudat Yoav
Gesher Police Station

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Connolly, Kevin. "Charles Tegart and the forts that tower over Israel". Jerusalem: BBC News. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Rubinstein, Danny (2006-08-06). "The seven lost villages". Haaretz. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  3. ^ a b c Ashkenazi, Eli (11 December 2012). "Galilee police station reveals Mandate-era charms". Haaretz. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Anton La Guardia, Jericho Jail Creates Own Modern History, Los Angeles Times, reproduced in Arab News, March 24, 2006 accessed at 2007-02-28[dead link]
  5. ^ McGreal, Chris (14 November 2003). "Facility 1391: Israel's Secret Prison". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2008. 

Coordinates: 33°06′55″N 35°33′22″E / 33.11528°N 35.55611°E / 33.11528; 35.55611