The First Intifada: Rebellion in Palestine 1936-39

Palestinian revolt - not in Israel today but under the British mandate fifty years ago. Charles Townshend traces its impact and discusses its character.

Jerusalem was surely one of the glittering prizes of the Great War, won by the 'stout hearts and sharp swords' which Lord Birkenhead would later commend to the under- graduates of Glasgow University. When General Allenby captured the city in December 1917, he dispelled much of the gloom of the war's grimmest year. The humility of his entry into the old city through the Jaffa gate, on foot, trumped the earlier gaudy processions of European emperors for whom the wall had been barbarously breached. Allenby was a Christian conqueror, and thou he was to prove a sage governor in Egypt after the war, the salient fact for Palestine of his march to Damascus was conquest. Britain occupied Palestine by force of arms and exercised a conqueror's rights.

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