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Policing Palestine

James Barker reveals how parsimony and muddle in Whitehall in the first years of the British Mandate in Palestine almost led to disaster in August 1929.

British Command Paper 1785, December 1922, containing the Mandate for Palestine and the Transjordan memorandumAt dawn on Friday August 23rd, 1929, Stewart Perowne, a twenty-seven-year-old official in the Palestine Department of Education in Jerusalem, sat down to type a letter to his parents. Friday was for Muslims their holy day and the mood in Jerusalem  was tense but Perowne wasn’t especially concerned, ‘after all it is the season of the year, when they have nothing else to do, so why shouldn’t they have a bit of fun? They have got no movies or cricket to amuse them’, he wrote.

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