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December 1, 1947 The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

Mufti of JerusalemA survey of Morris’ (e.g. Benny) prominent study The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited reveals in more detail the climate of violence Jews faced in Palestine:

“… the Palestinian Arab leaders, headed by the exiled AHC (e.g. Arab Higher Committee) chief, (e.g. The Grand Mufti) Husseini, rejected partition and launched a three-day general strike (Dec 1-4, 1947), accompanied by a wave of anti-Jewish terrorism in the cities and on the roads. The Arab states … rejected partition and sent volunteers, arms and money to help the Palestinians. … the Palestinians were reinforced by several thousand volunteers … Within weeks the sporadic violence had snowballed into a full-scale civil war between the two communities.” (pg. 13)

The first roadside ambushes occurred near Kfar Syrkin … when two buses were attacked and seven Jewish passengers were shot dead. The same day, snipers in Jaffa began firing at passers-by in Tel Aviv. The AHC … declared a three-day general strike … thus releasing the urban masses for action. … a mob, unobstructed by British forces, stormed the (Jewish) new commercial centre in Jerusalem, looting, burning shops and attacking Jews. Snipers exchanged fire in Haifa and attacks were launched on the neighbourhoods of Tel Aviv … Parts of Palestine were gripped by chaos; the escalation toward full-scale civil war had begun.” (pg. 65)

Arab gunmen attacked Jewish cars and trucks … increasingly organized in British- and Haganah-protected convoys, urban neighbourhoods and rural settlements and cultivators. The attackers never pretended to single out combatants; every Jew was a legitimate target. The hostilities swiftly spread from a handful of urban centeres to various parts of the countryside.” (pg. 65)

“… Husseini agents and irregulars sporadically launched attacks on Jews … with ambushes against traffic moving through Wadi Rushmiya. From then on, there were almost daily exchanges of fire along the seam neighbourhoods, almost always initiated by Arabs.” (Pg. 100)

“… as with Haifa, the exodus (e.g. Arab) from the town [of Jaffa] was triggered by the start of hostilities, which were initiated by Jaffa’s militiamen, who began sniping into neighbouring Tel Aviv on 30 November 1947. The following day, dozens of Arabs assaulted Jewish houses bordering on the northern Manshiya neighbourhood and an Arab mob in Abu Kabir, a neighbourhood to the west, attacked a Jewish car and murdered its three passengers.” (Pg. 110)

“Immediately following the passage of the resolution (e.g. UN Partition Nov 29, 1947), the Jewish neighbourhoods … came under sniper fire from Arab quarters and … the community (e.g. Jerusalem) was gradually strangulated by the blockade of the main road to Tel Aviv… despite the convoy system and occasional British military assistance, the city’s Jewish districts were under almost complete siege.” (Pg. 117)

Hostilities began [in Jerusalem] … with Arab gunmen and stone-throwers attacking Jewish buses at the Jaffa Gate … and with a mob attack … against the downtown New Commercial Centre, where dozens of shops and workshops were torched and looted, and 24 Jews were injured. British troops and police failed to intervene against the rioters but arrested 16 Haganah men who had.” (Pg. 119)

“The cycle of violence that precipitated Romema’s evacuation began with attacks on Jewish traffic leaving Jerusalem and the Haganah killing … of Atiya ‘adel … who, using a motorcycle, doubled as a scout and informant for the Arab irregulars about Jewish convoys.” (Pg. 120)

“The inhabitants of Sheikh Badr … also evacuated their homes … following one or more reprisal raids (provoked by Arab sniping) …” (Pg. 121)

The raid [retaliatory raid by the Haganah on 18 January in villages of Mansurat al Kheit, Al Husseiniyya, and ‘Ulmaniyya] followed repeated Arab attacks on Jewish traffic nearby.” (Pg. 132)

According to the British GOC of the North Sector … the final battle [for Haifa] was triggered by the Arab irregulars … Arab fire killed four Jews and wounded five. Starting that day, the Arabs ‘stepped up their use of mortars’ … The Haganah was far from eager to tangle with them. But the Arab pressure … culminated in the abrupt British troop redeployment … and Arab fire early that morning against Jewish traffic … forced the Carmeli Brigade’s hand.” (Pg. 187)

The battle of Mishmar Ha’emek … was initiated by Qawuqji’s ALA (e.g. Arab Liberation Army) … when the ALA (e.g. Arab Liberation Army) shelled and attempted to take Mishmar Ha’emek. (Pg. 240)

“As the battle of Mishmar Ha’emek raged to the south, an ALA battalion took up positions in Shafa ‘Amr, Khirbet Kasayir and Hawsha … and intermittently attacked Jewish traffic and settlements … “ (Pg. 244)

Source: Morris, Benny. 1948. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge Middle East studies, 18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.;

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