Dec 1947-April 1948
Jabotinsky and The Nebbi Mussa Riots
ii. Situation Prior to August 1914
iii. WW1 Protecting the Suez Canal
iv. WW1 Promise 1
v. WW1 Promise 2
vi WW1 Promise 3
vii. WW1 The Conquest of Palestine
ix. 1919 Paris Peace Conference
x. April 1920 Nebi Mussa Riots
xi. The Heroification of Trumpeldor
xii. St Remo Conference
Vladimir Jabotinsky was a war hero. Instigator of WW1's Jewish Legion, he was demobilised after complaining to Field Marshal Allenby about the British Army's attitude towards Zionism and the Jewish Legion. That didn't prevent him being appointed, in December 1919, a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his military service.
In the Spring of 1920 whilst living in Jerusalem, he organised a Jewish parade to coincide with the Arab feast of Nebi Musa, a traditional Muslim event created centuries earlier to counterbalance the influx of Jews and Christians visiting Jerusalem to celebrate Passover and Easter.
At Jabotinsky's instigation, Jewish youths, nearly all recent arrivals from Europe, marched through Jerusalem demanding a Jewish Defence Arm. The demonstration provoked Arab religious leaders into making inflammatory speeches that resulted in an attack on Jews leading to a number of fatalities and numerous casualties. The Ottoman and Military Police were heavily outnumbered, so the administration had to call on the army to restore law and order.
During the riots, the British searched the offices and apartments of the Zionist leadership, including the home of Chaim Weizmann. In a building used by Jabotinsky's defense forces, they found 3 rifles, 2 pistols, and 250 rounds of ammunition. The police arrested nineteen men.
Next day, Jabotinsky protested to the police that he was commander of the defence force and therefore solely responsible, so his men should be released. That resulted in his own arrest. The nineteen men first arrested were each sentenced to three years in prison but Jabotinsky was given a 15-year prison term for possession of weapons. (In July, however, they were all released when a general pardon was granted to all Jews and Arabs convicted in the rioting.)
OETA stayed in position until the end of the St Remo Conference. During this period, a cluster of Jewish settlements in North Galilee, later to be transferred to Palestine, were still in French controlled OETA North. They were guarded by the Jewish Force called Hashomer.
At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference France and the UK had been given mandates to administer the former Ottoman provinces of the Levant. The conference had left it to the mandatory parties to draw the internal boundaries between the French and British Mandates.
The French and British did the bulk of this at the St Remo Conference where Britain focused on safeguarding the route to India, securing cheap and accessible oil for the British navy, maintaining the balance of power in the Mediterranean, and protecting its financial concerns.
France hoped to preserve her centuries-old ties with the Syrian Catholics, gain a strategic and economic base in the eastern Mediterranean, ensure a cheap supply of cotton and silk and prevent Arab nationalism from infecting her North African empire. In pursuing their own interests the two powers succeeded in transforming what had been relatively quiet provinces of the Ottoman Empire into unstable states endangering world peace.
Britain was eventually assigned Palestine, Transjordan, all of oil-rich lower Mesopotamia and a part of Upper Mesopotamia. She renamed the Mesopotamia areas area. To make sure of controlling Haifa needed as a fuelling post for oil-fired navy ships, Britain agreed to accept responsibility for Palestine from Gath to Beersheba
Britain also consented to use the administration of Palestine to care for Transjordan, as allowed by 22 article in the The Covenant of the League of Nations:
Certain territories, which, owing to the sparseness of their population, or their small size, or their remoteness from the centres of civilisation, or their geographical contiguity to the territory of the Mandatory, can be best administered under the laws of the Mandatory as integral portions of its territory, subject to the safeguards above mentioned in the interests of the indigenous population.
After the St Remo conference the Muslim-Christian Associations joined to hold the first Palestine Arab Congress in Jerusalem. Its main platforms were a call for representative government and opposition to the Balfour Declaration.
Prince Faisal returned to Syria and declared himself King of all Syria. The French took four months to dislodge him by shelling Arab villages loyal to Prince Faisal.