Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Searchlight on Palestine 1936-1938 (a Summary)

Originally written by Frances E. Newton, and was used by Walid Khalidy's From Conquest to Haven (Chapter 36), I did a summary a while ago on this article and decided to highlight the main themes on it:

This article sheds light on the treatment of British soldiers to Palestinians, and describes how segregation has been practiced on the behalf of their rights with minimum tolerance. Newton describes series of incidents that showed how the British Empire maltreated the Palestinian citizens and how some Palestinians (rich or poor) suffered unjustly, murdered, robbed, or became refugees. The interesting phenomenon in the article is that Palestinian citizens became refugees not at the hands of the Zionists, rather their allies, the British.

The British clearly lacked any communication in the case of Rafi’ Bey El Fahoum, who received a letter from the High Commissioner of Palestine thanking him for his services, and afterwards had his house demolished based on the fact two accused Palestinians were serving Coffee in his own guest room. Sadly, a fourth house was accidentally demolished mistaken for one of the two accused (without compensation of course).

The author sites different cases of robbery, theft, and murder practiced by British citizens/army in the clear open without being punished. The poor suffered most as they can’t repay for confiscated herds, while the police stations were simply gaining means of funding.

The worse case is when the government imposed a three month duration police station on a village called Igzim, whereby the villagers had to pay. The villages, who suffered poverty, were threatened to pay for the presence of the police station or else their household properties would be confiscated. The village quickly became deserted, except for the Mayer, and a school master, who both were threatened to remain, and three helpless old women who were left to starve because they have no one to take care of them. To this incident, the author describes a clear phenomenon of the most dangerous effects of the British Mandate, which was creating empty villages, to be replaced by the Britain’s main ally, the Zionists. Newton says: “True refugees! – but from terror at British barbarism.”

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