Palestinian general strike

The Palestinian general strike lasted from April–October 1936 in the British Mandate of Palestine and was part of the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine.

The dissent was influenced by the Qassamite rebellion following the killing of Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam in 1935 as well as the declaration by Hajj 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.

The strike began in Nablus and soon other committees in Haifa, Jenin, Tulkarm and Jerusalem were formed to join the protest. The demands of the strike were Independence for Jerusalem and a stop to removals of workers from the land.[1].

While the strike was initially organised by workers and local committees, soon religious leaders and families were involved to help coordination. This led to the formation on 25 April 1936 of the Arab Higher Committee or HAC.

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.[2] The British also authorised the Zionist Movement to build a port in neighboring Tel Aviv, in proclaimed competition with the strike-bound Port of Jaffa.

In July, the authorities imposed martial law and fresh troops were brought in from England. Special Night Squads of Zionist and British soldiers were formed to attack villages. It is believed that the British authorities dynamited 5000 houses and executed 148 prisoners in Acre Prison alone.[citation needed]

Solidarity campaign committees were formed in Damascus, Baghdad, Cairo and Beirut. In Syria a promise of self-government from the French was made after a 50 day strike. In Egypt anti-British demonstrations in November 1935 brought about the resumption of negotiations between the two countries for a treaty of independence.

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 on 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."[3]

[edit] References

  1. ^ A History of Palestinian Resistance, Daud Abdullah
  2. ^ Our Roots are still alive, J Bonds
  3. ^ ibid

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