Saturday, February 21, 2015

Rioting on Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1948, In Jerusalem

Nadene Goldfoot                                                    

"The first major terror bombing committed by Arabs against the Jewish state occurred ten weeks before Israel even became independent. On Sunday morning, February 22, 1948, in anticipation of Israel's independence, a triple truck bomb was detonated by Arab terrorists on Ben Yehuda Street in what was then the Jewish section of Jerusalem. Fifty-four people were killed and 140+  were wounded. It is obvious that Arab terrorism is caused not by the "desperation from occupation", but by the very thought of a Jewish state."   "Palestinian Arab terrorists, with the cooperation of deserters from the British Mandatory forces, bombed Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem. It was possibly the first car bombing in history, and it was the first of several bombings of Ben Yehuda street in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."    "For the Ben Yehuda bombing, the bombers were supposed to get a thousand pounds sterling from the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini." "The Irgun (created 1937-National Military Organization)  and LEHI underground avenged the attack. Irgun killed a British officer, a sergeant and two British drivers near the Jewish Agency buildings, while the Lehi (Stern Group/Gang) killed 10 British policemen,"  
Ben Yehuda Street, Jerusalem rioting Feb 22, 1948

The greatest contemporary hero in the Arab world is Hitler. (John Gunther, Inside Asia, 1939)

This was 67 years ago.  Most likely it was a rebellion brought about by Haj Mohammed Amin al-Husseini (1893-1974) , Sherif of Jerusalem.  
Haj Amin al-Husseini, Sherif of Jerusalem, instigator of riots
In 1920, "
Al-Husseini, then a teacher at the Rashidiya school, near Herod's Gate in East Jerusalem, was charged with inciting the Arab crowds with an inflammatory speech and sentenced in absentia to 10-years imprisonment by a military court, since by then he had fled to Syria.  It was asserted soon after, by Chaim Weizmann and British army Lieutenant Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, that al-Husseini had been put up to inciting the riot by British Field-marshal Allenby's Chief of Staff, Colonel Bertie Harry Waters-Taylor, to demonstrate to the world that Arabs would not tolerate a Jewish homeland in Palestine.The assertion was never proven, and Meinertzhagen was dismissed

He started being the instigator of riots against Jews in 1936 at the time that Jews were being treated badly in Germany. The Arab riots of 1936 in Palestine were carried out by the Mufti with funds supplied by the Nazis. (American Christian Palestine Committee, 1947.)     He later went there in 1941 to confer with Hitler about exterminating all Jews. Israel's War of Independence actually started on November 29, 1947 when the Arabs responded with violence to the UN resolution on Palestine, and lasted until the signing of the Armistice Agreements in 1949.  During its first 25 years, Israel has never known real peace.  From its first day, it has been confronted by neighboring States which refuse to accept its very existence, and have forced it to fight 5 and more wars; for Independence, the Sinai War, 6 Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War, Lebanon War, etc.  The Mufti understood that only "by invoking the deeply rooted religious prejudice of the masses against the Palestinian Jews that his family and other effendi families could hope to regain the extent of Power that had once been allowed to the feudal barons of the country by the Turks.  

The Palestine Royal Commission published a report in July 1937 veering of British policy away from creating the Jewish National Home towards a policy that would not be hateful to the Arabs.   p. 310 **
Emir Feisal, King and Syria and then Iraq

 He knew that Emir Feisal, the most important Arab in Palestine who was the spokesman called upon by the British, was in favor of the creation of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine.  No doubt he was jealous of him and didn't want to lose his position as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem which was bestowed on him coincidentally by  
Sir Herbert  Samuel, 1st Viscount (1870-1963), the first Jew to be a member of a British cabinet, a statesman and philosopher who certainly bet on the wrong horse in his selection of an Arab over Jerusalem.   Husseini's 1937 episodes caused him to be exiled, so he fled to Lebanon, next door.  Samuel was the first High Commissioner for Palestine.  He was the leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons from 1931 to 1935, and many other posts.  
Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler 1941

During WWII he participated in Rashid Ali's pro-Axis coup in Iraq and then he went to Europe in 1941 where he assisted Hitler and was the main person responsible for the liquidation of the Jews in the Moslem areas of Bosnia.

In 1946 he escaped to Egypt.  After 1948, he set up a short-lived "Palestine Government" in Gaza.  He moved it later to Cairo.  
Husseini inspecting new recruits

Jewish immigration had been growing with the pogroms happening in Europe along with all the anti-Semitism.  The population grew from 3,000 in 1838 to 50,000 by 1910.  Many European Jews opted for the USA at this time, too.  New quarters were built outside the Old City wall, pioneered by Sir Moses Montefiore from 1855.  In the 1880's, Jerusalem was connected with Jaffa by a railway line.  By 1898 William II, German Emperor visited and was greeted by Herzl in behalf of the Zionist Organization.  WWI interrupted the development of Jerusalem.  In December 1917, General Allenby and the British army occupied the city. The Arab riots, thanks to Husseini,  in 1922, 1929 and from 1936 to 1939 claimed many victims among the Jewish population, but were followed by a renewed spurt of building and consolidation.  
Haganah 1947 (Clandestine Jewish self defense in Palestine)

 The period of Jewish resistance to the mandatory Government which was not allowing Jewish immigration, but kept bringing in Arabs illegally, lasted from 1945 to 1948.  Several buildings were damaged and the city outside the walls transformed into a patchwork of "security" zones.  By 1946 the Jewish population was 100,000.  The Hebrew University was built on Mt. Scopus.  

The UN partition resolution of November 29, 1947 led to an independent area of Jerusalem under UN administration.  Arab outbreaks, which soon reached the dimensions of regular warfare between the Haganah and the Arabs had gone from local Arab bands and then to the Arab Legion of Transjordan and put an end to the internationalization scheme of Jerusalem. The reason the UN was for internationalizing Jerusalem was the Soviet Bloc's desire to embarrass King Abdullah of Jordan and his British patrons.  Two days after November 29s announcement, the Arabs started attacking the Jews.  The 7 neighboring states, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt prepared to invade the country as soon as the birth of the state was announced.  They wanted the local Arabs out of the way.  Thus, the moving of Arabs to make room for their soldiers, and the Arab refugee problem was created by their own leadership.  

 A struggle lasted from December 1947 until July 1948.  Israel was created May 14, 1948. During this 1948 war, Jordan invaded and occupied east Jerusalem.  By doing this, their army drove out thousands of Jews, whose families had lived in the city for centuries, into exile.   The Jewish quarter in the Old City had to be evacuated to save their lives and was destroyed by the Arabs.  But, all the New City except the Arab quarters north of the walls fell into Jewish hands.  The Arab Legion shelled and tried to starve the Jews of Jerusalem into surrender.  It didn't work because of the fortitude of the Jews who opened up the Burma Road which restored the connection between Jewish Jerusalem and the coast.  By 1949, the government and Knesset were transferred to Jerusalem, yet to be recognized as the state's capital by the rest of the world.  

In 1948 Jerusalem had been divided into 2 parts; between Israel and Jordan;  the Israel section which included the whole of the W and S part of the New City including Mt. Zion and an enclave on Mt. Scopus. The city had become 2 armed camps where the western section was Israel's capital.  Jordan maintained a state of war with Israel like all the other Arab states at the time.  There were concrete walls and bunkers, barbed-wire fences, minefields and other military fortifications between the 2 sections.  

  The Six Day War (June 5, 1967) started with Jordanian troops in the Old City and Jordanian sections of the city bombarded the New City.  The IDF responded and 2 days later the entire city came under Israel control.  The first thing the soldiers did was go to the Western Wall which had been prohibited to Jews for almost 20 years and they cried and prayed and then danced joyfully.  

Resource: from Brigitte Gabriel's speech delivered at the Duke University Counter Terrorism Speak-Out, held Thursday, October 14, 2004.
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Facts About Israel
Myths and Factss by Bard and Himelfarb
Battleground by Samuel Katz, p.p 13,  46-
**From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters


  1. ""The first major terror bombing committed by Arabs against the Jewish state occurred ten weeks before Israel even became independent. On Sunday morning, February 22, 1948, in anticipation of Israel's independence, a triple truck bomb was detonated by Arab terrorists on Ben Yehuda Street in what was then the Jewish section of Jerusalem. Fifty-four people were killed and 140+ were wounded. It is obvious that Arab terrorism is caused not by the "desperation from occupation", but by the very thought of a Jewish state." "

    these foam at the mouth at the very idea of the state of israel don't they nadene?

    God will have the last word about that. there will always be israel.

  2. From your lips to G-d's ears, Andre. I think we're making inroads. Egypt and Jordan are pretty good friends now. We have 1.7 million Arabs in our population who are enjoying all the rights every citizen has in Israel which is far more than Arabs have in Arab states. The problem is all the rest and the terror groups; Talban, al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas for sure. You're so right. They don't want a Jewish state in their midst, by the smartest of all, Emir Feisal was for it and hoped Israelis could teach his people some trade, skills, etc. One enlightened person amongst millions of those wanting to stay in the dark.