How the British fought terror in Jenin


War Hero

Jailorinummqasr said:
During WWII the Germans regularly used collective punishment and were rightly held accountable.

Private_Pike said:
Why go to this extreme? It would have been the equal of us levelling half of Belfast. It's very easy to destroy buildings as a symbolic action against terrorism, but does'nt it really smack of the spiteful actions of a bully? Is it really just a case of we couldnt catch the real perpetrators so lets teach them a real lesson and bulldoze their homes?

ViroBono said:
'We learned it from the British'; that would be when many of those in government in Israel were terrorists themselves, of course. The important thing to learn, however, is that we stopped using the tactic, almost certainly because it didn't work and because nowadays it would attract international condemnation - as is the case for Israel now.

The policy of house demolitions is a holdover from the British rule of Palestine, and has been used off and on in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967.

The legality of house demolitions under
International Humanitarian Law

Harvard University

This note examines the legal aspects, under international humanitarian law (IHL), of Israel's practice of demolitions of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).1 It outlines the basis, history, and practice of house demolitions, sets forth the relevant IHL provisions that impact house demolitions, and reviews the positions of the different parties involved on this issue.

3. Punitive demolition

Punitive house demolitions are rooted in British military practices dating to the early twentieth century.9 During the British mandate period, house demolitions were introduced into the legal structure of Palestine in response to increasing resistance to British rule.10 Regulation 119 of the Defense Emergency Regulations of 1945 (hereinafter "DER 119") stated:

A Military Commander may, by order, direct the forfeiture to the government of Palestine of any house, structure or land from which he has reason to suspect that any firearm has been illegally discharged, or any bomb, grenade or explosive or incendiary article illegally thrown, or any house, structure or land situated in any area, town, village, quarter or street the inhabitants or some of the inhabitants of which he is satisfied have committed, or attempted to commit, or abetted the commission of, or been accessories after the fact to the commission of, any offense against these regulations involving violence or intimidation or any military court offenses; and when any house, structure or land is forfeited as aforesaid, the military commander may destroy the house or the structure or anything in or on the house, the structure or the land.11

A number of such demolitions took place under the British Mandate. Prior to expiration of the mandate, the British Government took action to repeal these regulations.12 The repealing legislation was not, however, published in the official local publication, The Palestine Gazette. Therefore, DER 119 remains, according to Israeli courts, in force in all the territory covered by the British mandate (Israel, West Bank and Gaza).13 Similarly, DER 119 was not repealed explicitly by Jordan or Egypt during their respective control of the West Bank and Gaza, between 1948 and 1967.14

Upon the entry of the Israeli army into the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, the military assumed full legislative and administrative authority for these areas.15 However, unless repealed explicitly, laws that were in effect prior to the occupation were retained by the military government.16

Since 1967, punitive house demolitions pursuant to DER 119 have been carried out by the IDF in varying degrees. Generally speaking, the measure is resorted to more frequently in times of high tension, particularly during the Al Aqsa Intifada, which began in September 2000.17 In some situations, the IDF has used the less severe alternative of sealing a home or apartment, allowing for potential reversal in the future.

a. Local Law Doctrine

Both the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention contain provisions relating to the retention of preexisting law following the occupation of a territory by an occupying power. Article 43 of the Hague Regulations states:

The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.29

The relevant provision of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 64, states in part:

The penal laws of the occupied territory shall remain in force, with the exception that they may be repealed or suspended by the Occupying Power in cases where they constitute a threat to its security or an obstacle to the application of the present Convention.30

Therefore, local laws, including the laws of the British Mandate, remain in force and deploy their legal effects until they have been properly abrogated or modified. The Occupying Power should not change local laws unless absolutely prevented to do so. The main case under which the Occupying Power is forced to change, suspend or abrogate a domestic law is the situation where a local law constitutes an obstacle to the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention, in particular Article 53 prohibiting house demolitions in situations other than military operations. DER 119 provides the legal basis for illegal acts under the Fourth Geneva Convention as it authorizes the Occupying Power to demolish houses for security reasons outside the scope of military necessity (i.e., without concrete and immediate threat against the occupation forces). Considering its obligation under the Geneva Convention, the Israeli government should have suspended the application of DER 119 for the territory it has occupied since 1967.

Initial Israeli Response to Amnesty Report on Demolitions
18 May 2004

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Amnesty's latest report, dated 18 May 2004, is currently being reviewed by the relevant Israeli authorities, and a detailed response will be presented when this review is complete. Nevertheless, several general observations regarding the demolition of structures are warranted.

While there is no question that the Palestinian population is suffering from the ongoing conflict, that suffering is a direct result of Palestinian terrorism aimed at innocent Israelis, and the need for Israel to protect its citizens from these abhorrent attacks. In this context, it is important to note that regrettably Palestinian terrorists choose to carry out many of their terrorist activities from within Palestinian population centers and abodes.

For nearly four years, Israelis have been the victims of a relentless and ongoing campaign by Palestinian terrorists to spread death and destruction, condemning our region to ongoing turmoil, killing more than 900 Israelis and injuring more than 6000.

In light of this unprecedented lethal threat, and the failure of the Palestinian leadership to comply with its obligations to fight this terrorism, Israeli security forces have sought to find new effective and lawful counter-measures that would minimize the occurrence of such attacks in general, and suicide terrorism in particular.

One such security measure is the demolition of structures that pose a real security risk to Israeli forces. When terrorists fire from within civilian structures or activate roadside charges from trees and fields, military necessity dictates the demolition of these locations. Under International Law, these structures are considered legitimate military targets. Therefore, in the midst of combat, when dictated by operational necessity, Israeli security forces may lawfully destroy structures used by terrorists.

Israel refrains whenever possible from attacking terrorist targets from the air or with artillery, in order to minimize collateral damage, a policy which entails risking the lives of Israeli soldiers. The death of 13 soldiers in ground operations in the Gaza Strip in early May 2004 is just one example of the heavy price Israel pays for its commitment to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties.

A further factor necessitating the demolition of buildings is the use made by terrorist groups of civilian buildings in order to conceal openings of tunnels used to smuggle arms, explosives and terrorists from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. Other buildings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are used for the manufacturing and concealment of rockets, mortars, weapons and explosive devices to be used against Israel. The demolition of these structures is often the only way to combat this threat.

In conclusion, Israel must take the necessary measures to protect the lives and security of its citizens and it is doing so in full compliance with International Law, while making earnest efforts to uphold the rights of Palestinians not involved in terrorism.

Source: , February 17, 2005

By: Editorial

Following years of systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, when it became difficult to distinguish between a policy of deterrence and one of punishment or vengeance, the chief of staff decided a few months ago to form a committee to examine the question of whether house demolitions are in fact an effective security measure.

Not surprisingly, it turned out that even a committee on behalf of the Israel Defense Forces came to the same conclusion that had previously been the critics' alone—that home demolitions are more damaging than beneficial. The deterrence, says the committee in its findings, is not equal to the hatred that the harsh measure evokes among the Palestinians.
The government of Israel wasn't the inventor of the policy of punishment by means of house demolitions. The policy was brought to the region by the British government during the Mandate period. The British demolished hundreds of Arab homes in Palestine in suppressing the revolt, and the Tel Jaffa neighborhood is historical testimony to a British military operation in response to firing from Jaffa homes at British ships anchored in the port. As is well known, the policy did not help to consolidate British rule in the region.

Britain’s High Commissioner for Palestine admitted they used "drastic" tactics, but he explained that "the situation has demanded drastic powers."

How the British fought terror in Jenin
By Rafael Medoff - April 22, 2002. From: Jerusalem Post

"Demolishing the homes of Arab civilians... Shooting handcuffed prisoners... Forcing local Arabs to test areas where mines may have been planted..."

These sound like the sort of accusations made by British and other European officials concerning Israel's recent actions in Jenin. In fact, they are descriptions from official British documents concerning the methods used by the British authorities to combat Palestinian Arab terrorism in Jenin and elsewhere in 1938.

The documents were declassified by London in 1989. They provide details of the British Mandatory government's response to the assassination of a British district commissioner by a Palestinian Arab terrorist in Jenin in the summer of 1938.

Even after the suspected assassin was captured (and then shot dead while allegedly trying to escape), the British authorities decided that "a large portion of the town should be blown up" as punishment. On August 25 of that year, a British convoy brought 4,200 kilos of explosives to Jenin for that purpose.

In the Jenin operation and on other occasions, local Arabs were forced to drive "mine-sweeping taxis" ahead of British vehicles in areas where Palestinian Arab terrorists were believed to have planted mines, in order "to reduce [British] landmine casualties."

The British authorities frequently used these and similar methods to combat Palestinian Arab terrorism in the late 1930s.

BRITISH forces responded to the presence of terrorists in the Arab village of Miar, north of Haifa, by blowing up house after house in October 1938.

"When the troops left, there was little else remaining of the once-busy village except a pile of mangled masonry," The New York Times reported.

The declassified documents refer to an incident in Jaffa in which a handcuffed prisoner was shot by the British police.

Under Emergency Regulation 19b, the British Mandate government could demolish any house located in a village where terrorists resided, even if that particular house had no direct connection to terrorist activity. Mandate official Hugh Foot later recalled: "When we thought that a village was harboring rebels, we'd go there and mark one of the large houses. Then, if an incident was traced to that village, we'd blow up the house we'd marked."

The High Commissioner for Palestine, Harold MacMichael, defended the practice: "The provision is drastic, but the situation has demanded drastic powers."

MacMichael was furious over what he called the "grossly exaggerated accusations" that England's critics were circulating concerning British anti-terror tactics in Palestine. Arab allegations that British soldiers gouged out the eyes of Arab prisoners were quoted prominently in the Nazi German press and elsewhere.

The declassified documents also record discussions among officials of the Colonial Office concerning the rightness or wrongness of the anti-terror methods used in Palestine. Lord Dufferin remarked: "British lives are being lost and I don't think that we, from the security of Whitehall, can protest squeamishly about measures taken by the men in the frontline."

Sir John Shuckburgh defended the tactics on the grounds that the British were confronted "not with a chivalrous opponent playing the game according to the rules, but with gangsters and murderers."

There were many differences between British policy in the 1930s and Israeli policy today, but one stands out - the British, faced with a level of Palestinian Arab terrorism considerably less lethal than that which Israel faces today, utilized anti-terror methods considerably harsher than those used by Israeli forces.

The writer is visiting scholar in the Jewish Studies Program at SUNY-Purchase. His most recent book is Baksheesh Diplomacy: Secret Negotiations Between American Jewish Leaders and Arab Officials on the Eve of World War II (Lexington Books, 2001)

Arab Jaffa

Urban warfare between the British forces and Arab rioters caused much destruction to the city's narrow alleys. The British demolished many houses belonging to rioters and militants. 1936-1939 the British demolished more than 5,000 Palestinian homes.

In 1938, the British demolished Jenin walls and many houses. A British eyewitness describing what happened to his girlfriend said: “It’s insupportable, a British terrorism worse than terrorism itself. A British civilian like me would not believe it until he sees with his own eyes the consequences of killing a single British cop. The British army blew up about a hundred and fifty houses. What do you think about people shot dead while trying to save themselves isn’t the way of the Nazis?”

Copyright 2001 Newspaper Publishing PLC

The Independent (London)


'What did we not do that Israel does today?'

Andreas Whittam Smith, Editor of The Independent

FIGHTING TERRORISTS by punishing civilians, as Israel is doing on the West Bank of the Jordan, has a long history. I recently came across this incident. It took place in an Arab village, Halhoul, near Hebron.

Halhoul had been identified as a source of terrorist activity. The army was sent in. The villagers were rounded up and put into open-air pens, one for men and one for women. It was May and the sun was fierce. Neither water nor food were provided. In the end, eight people died from heat exhaustion. In explaining away the incident, the authorities said the village was "notoriously bad": 26 rifles and eight revolvers had been found. The eight people had died because of a "combination of unfortunate circumstances... the heat had been abnormally intense and the victims were elderly". Most unfortunate. No one had killed the villagers deliberately. There had been no deed that could be called an "atrocity".

Nobody any longer remembers this because it took place in 1939. However, it concerns us, the British. We then governed Palestine under a mandate from the League of Nations. We were attempting to put down an Arab rebellion. The comments on Halhoul were written by the British High Commissioner, Harold MacMichael.

My account comes from Tom Segev's excellent history of the British Mandate, One Palestine Complete. I shouldn't have been shocked - as I was - when I read it. Occupying powers always get involved in this sort of dirty business. We took to Palestine the harsh methods we had used in Ireland between 1918 and 1922. A Colonial Secretary of the period wrote that the comparison between Ireland and Palestine was "singularly complete". In fact, Mr Segev's book is full of uncomfortable truths for the Arabs and the Jews, as well as for the British.

Until now, the Mandate period, 1922-1948, has seemed a historical curiosity. The British governments of the time didn't really want the responsibility; Palestine served no Imperial purpose. Worse still, it cost money. Suppressing the Arab revolt required 25,000 British troops and police under the command of "Monty", later Field Marshal Montgomery.

Mr Segev's book is over 500 pages long, yet almost every paragraph finds echoes in Israel today. In the same way that the Halhoul deaths in 1939 weren't an atrocity in British minds, nor a violation of civil rights, so the measures that the Israeli army takes to combat Palestinian violence are described as merely self-defence. They are the terrorists; we are the defenders. The killing of 90 or so Palestinian children in the past five months, is, well, self-defence.

In our time, we had the embarrassment that Nazi propaganda was quick to highlight the suffering caused by British policy in Palestine. The British believed that their predecessor as great power in the region, Turkey, had invented the system. Colonial civil servants and army officers reminded themselves that the Turks had frequently arrested entire tribes for unlimited periods and flogged sheikhs and mukhtars.

Those were the days! We were more sophisticated. We erected a security fence along the northern border. We built dozens of police fortresses and concrete guard posts. We imported Dobermann dogs from South Africa. And we trained interrogators in torture. The British police chief in Jerusalem, Douglas Duff, described such methods in his memoir published in 1953. He tells how to apply physical force without leaving marks. We destroyed homes - 2,000 houses between 1936 and 1940 according to one estimate. We engaged in assassination. What did we not do that the Israeli army does today? It is hard to say.

One can trace the inheritance through a single soldier, the brilliant Orde Wingate, posted to Palestine as an intelligence officer in 1936. He became a fervent believer in Zionism. He was once described as a kind of Lawrence of the Jews. He set up Special Night Squads comprising British troops and Jewish volunteers that pursued terrorists by night. Their methods were brutal. Among his men was a future prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and the man who was to be Israel's most famous commander, Moshe Dayan. Churchill later described Wingate as "a man of genius and audacity". An official handbook of the Israeli Ministry of Defence states that the "teaching of Orde Charles Wingate, his character and leadership... and his influence can be seen in the Israel Defense Force's combat doctrine."

I am not saying that this ancient history should still all criticisms. Rather it should remove any notion of moral superiority, a very British fault.

Report of the Mandatory Government to the League of Nations
(December 31, 1936)






25.--(a) The Emergency Regulations published on the 19th April vested Government with exceptional powers under the following headings:--
Under these Regulations the Government also took power to--

(1) impound labour for the clearing of roads obstructed by barricades, nails, etc.;

(2) control the publication of newspapers by the issue of permits;

(3) levy collective fines in money or kind upon inhabitants of towns or villages who had committed an offence or connived at its commission;

(4) demolish houses from which firearms had been discharged or other crimes of violence committed.
In the Jaffa--Tel-Aviv area, inter-racial animosity notably increased with the inauguration in May of landing facilities for cargo on the Tel-Aviv foreshore and later at the new jetty. Bitter protests were made by the Arab boatmen of Jaffa port, who regarded this new development as a direct challenge.

During June there were twelve acts of sabotage on the railway, and on two occasions trains were wrecked, one of the derailments near Lydda on the 26th June causing four deaths and considerable damage to the line and rolling stock. In consequence of this act of sabotage, which followed closely upon an organized attack on the Civil Airport at Lydda, a curfew was imposed on the town of Lydda, which was also fined £P.5,000. Throughout this period Jewish settlements in the Southern Districts became increasingly the object of sporadic attacks and, as in the Northern District, great damage was done to trees and crops by arson and malicious destruction.

Beginning on the 19th June, certain areas in the Old City of Jaffa on the hill overlooking the Port were demolished. These house demolitions were carried out by the Army after notice to evacuate had been given to the inhabitants involved, to whom the Government promised compensation. Those who became homeless and destitute were given relief.
The operations were carried out without loss of life, and in all 237 houses were demolished. As a result, not only has public security been greatly improved in a quarter of the town where, on account of narrow difficult streets and lanes, police work had always--and in particular during the disturbances following on the outbreak of the 19th April--been notoriously difficult, but also two wide streets which by the end of the year were open to traffic, have been created which will improve public health conditions and contribute both to the commercial and residential amenities of the town. During the autumn, a housing scheme for the accommodation of those rendered homeless by the demolitions was initiated by Government. Further reference to this scheme will be found in paragraph 34 of Chapter XX (Public Health).
At what point were you planning on thanking us for getting shot of Hitler for you?

Just wondering.

We could have got to him earlier in the mid 1930s, but a full half of the British Army was somewhat preoccupied trying to keep your mob and the Palestinians from killing each other. What a waste of time and effort that was. Tw@ts.


Book Reviewer
crabtastic said:
At what point were you planning on thanking us for getting shot of Hitler for you?

Just wondering.

We could have got to him earlier in the mid 1930s, but a full half of the British Army was somewhat preoccupied trying to keep your mob and the Palestinians from killing each other. What a waste of time and effort that was. Tw@ts.

I thought his mates were on Hitlers side. They were assassinating Brits during the Secopnd World war.


Just a little reminder. When the Israelis captured Jerusalem in 1967 they bulldozed the whole of the Moroccan quarter of the old city to make way for the plaza that now leads to the Western (wailing) wall. The chief Rabbi to the forces suggested dynamiting the Mosque on the dome of the rock (third most holy site for Muslims) as well but this was vetoed by Moshe Dayan.

The things we Brits teach 'em.


War Hero
Sartorius said:
The chief Rabbi to the forces suggested dynamiting the Mosque on the dome of the rock (third most holy site for Muslims) as well but this was vetoed by Moshe Dayan.

about the mosque never heard this bizar story. the plazza, why not?


War Hero
Sartorius said:
Bizzare story - See 'The Six Day War' by Jeremy Bowen.

Plaza - never mind those beastly old Moroccans who lived there.

Hope you read also about the British, who armed the Arabs, including General Glubb Pasha and about 200 British Officers who led the Jordanian Arab Legion who organised the siege of Jerusalem and forced the Jewish evacuation of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in East Jerusalem. "Evacuation" is mild word, that was "ethnic cleansing" by any mean since it was real indigenous and ancient community living there since biblical time, not European Zionist settlers. Jews have been living in Jerusalem continuously for nearly two millennia. They have constituted the largest single group of inhabitants there since the 1840’s.

All against UN resolutions, and even British own supposed policy, not to assist any side of the warring party. The arm embargo in practice was solely on the Jewish side.

Jordan, a British creature, annexed this part of Jerusalem, along with west bank, a move that no one in the world recognise, accept Britain ( its master) and Pakistan. The Arab league condemn it.

About Jerusalem holy places


Jordan desecrated Jewish holy places. King Hussein permitted the construction
of a road to the Intercontinental Hotel across the Mount of Olives
cemetery. Hundreds of Jewish graves were destroyed by a highway
that could have easily been built elsewhere. The gravestones, honoring
the memory of rabbis and sages, were used by the engineer corps of the
Jordanian Arab Legion as pavement and latrines in army camps (inscriptions
on the stones were still visible when Israel liberated the city).
The ancient Jewish Quarter of the Old City was ravaged, 58 Jerusalem
synagogues—some centuries old—were destroyed or ruined, others
were turned into stables and chicken coops. Slum dwellings were
built abutting the Western Wall.

After the 1967 war, Israel abolished all the discriminatory laws promulgated
by Jordan and adopted its own tough standard for safeguarding
access to religious shrines. “Whoever does anything that is likely to
violate the freedom of access of the members of the various religions
to the places sacred to them,” Israeli law stipulates, is “liable to imprisonment
for a term of fi ve years.” Israel also entrusted administration
of the holy places to their respective religious authorities. Thus, for
example, the Muslim Waqf has responsibility for the mosques on the
Temple Mount.
Les Filles de la Charite de l’Hospice Saint Vincent de Paul of Jerusalem
repudiated attacks on Israel’s conduct in Jerusalem a few months
after Israel took control of the city:
Our work here has been made especially happy and its path
smoother by the goodwill of Israeli authorities . . . smoother not
only for ourselves, but (more importantly) for the Arabs in our
Former President Jimmy Carter acknowledged that religious freedom
has been enhanced under Israeli rule. There is “no doubt” that
Israel did a better job safeguarding access to the city’s holy places than
did Jordan. “There is unimpeded access today,” Carter noted. “There
wasn’t from 1948–67.”

The State Department notes that Israeli law provides for freedom of
worship, and the Government respects this right.

“I also respect the fact that Israel allows for a multifaith climate in which
every Friday a thousand Muslims pray openly on the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem. When I saw that, I had to ask myself, where in the Islamic world
can 1,000 Jews get together and pray in full public view?”
—Muslim author Irshad Manji

P.s never heard about bombing of the dome of the rock story, though I heard Moshe Dayan proposal to put down the ancient wall, an "idealistc" stand on his eyes, to put down the walls between people. Truly bizarre story.


War Hero
Sartorius said:
Hansvonhealing and others are right - no point trying to offer a balanced view with you is there?

Sartorius, i'm afraid this narrative heard by you at first time hence the disbelief.
I daresay next she'll wheel out the old chesnut how the Nazis got the idea for concentration camps from the British in the Boer War, without bothering to point out the major differences between the two.


War Hero
blonde_guy said:
I daresay next she'll wheel out the old chesnut how the Nazis got the idea for concentration camps from the British in the Boer War, without bothering to point out the major differences between the two.

you muddling the water, my dear. i have no interest in tarnishing the british image just for the sake of tarnishing it, picking any british wrong doing throughout history. all i want to know is your views to the events that shaped directly our life here. can't be balanced any more than you do. after all, history is the way we choose our angle, what we take and what we choose to ignore, our pick of accusations, legends, or myths. why your view is more balanced?
Well Warrior_Poet its a moot point......our camps were literally just to "concentrate" families from surrounding areas into one place so we could fight the boers...

Not like the Nazi ones which included Gas chambers and the such.


War Hero
Sartorius said:
Just a little reminder. When the Israelis captured Jerusalem in 1967 they bulldozed the whole of the Moroccan quarter of the old city to make way for the plaza that now leads to the Western (wailing) wall. The chief Rabbi to the forces suggested dynamiting the Mosque on the dome of the rock (third most holy site for Muslims) as well but this was vetoed by Moshe Dayan.

The things we Brits teach 'em.

You've never heard about the Jewish ethnic cleansing by the British-command Transjordanian Army. Maybe because it plays to the pandering perception they were "settlers" so who cares, well they weren't. They were anti-Zionist or non-Zionist orthodox Jews, divided between Ashkenazi-European Jews who didn't help the war effort from "ideological" reasons, and the Sepharadim, the oriental Jews indigenous much more than the Arabs can claim, who did assist the Haganah (The Israeli embryonic army), but the Haganah which tried costly to defent them, couldn't do alot, and signed a defeat. Remember they faced by 200 British offficers commanding that "Jordanian" army, against UN order and its own "declared" policy . ( But in Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, the Brits were defeated by the Irgun-led force, and the Arabs were the one who fled. "Ethnic cleansing"!)


After 1948, the quarter, with the rest of the Old City, passed into the hands of Jordan. The "Jews were denied access to the wall, in violation of the 1949 armistice agreement, and buildings were constructed within a few meters of the wall" ...

The Western Wall (or "Wailing Wall"), a remnant of Solomon's temple, has been an important place of pilgrimage for Jews since the temple's destruction. Access to it was through a blind alley within the Moroccan Quarter, sometimes leading to tensions between the Jewish visitors, wanting easier access and more space, and the residents, who complained of the noise.

In 1948 its population of about 2,000 Jews was besieged, and forced to leave en masse. The quarter remained under Transjordanian occupation until its capture by Israeli paratroops in the Six-Day War of 1967. The quarter had been completely sacked, with ancient synagogues destroyed and the Western Wall used as a dumping ground. his/Jerusalem_history.htm

The most heart breaking failure was the defense of the Jewish quarter of the old city. The few hundred Haganah personnel sent to defend the mostly non-Zionist Jews of the Old City were finally unable to resist the concerted attack of the British officered Transjordan Legion, and the Jewish quarter of the old city fell on May 28, 1948. The remainder of the Jews of the old city of Jerusalem, numbering over 2000, were ethnically cleansed by the Transjordan Legion on May 28 1948. The Legion illegally occupied the old city of Jerusalem in violation of the UN internationalization decision, with the aid of its British officers and the tacit support of the British government.

The illegal Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem and of the West Bank, constituting acquisition of territory by force, was nonetheless given international recognition by acceptance of the terms of the 1949 armistice agreement, supposed to be a temporary measure. Virtually every vestige of Jewish life was erased from the Old City. Fifty eight of the 59 synagogues that had stood there for hundreds of years were destroyed. The cemetery in the Mt of Olives was desecrated systematically. Gravestones were turned into paving stones for paths to Jordan Legion latrines. In violation of the armistice agreement, Jews were not allowed to worship in the old city of Jerusalem. Hadassah hospital was in Jordanian territory and lost to the Jews. The Mt Scopus campus of the Hebrew University was likewise closed, but periodic access was allowed to maintain the records of students that were stored there.

evacuation of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem 1948.


Jewish Quarter
The Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is one of the four traditional quarters of the Old City. It lies in the southeastern sector of the walled city, and stretches from the Cardo to the Western Wall.

The quarter has had a rich history, with a continual Jewish presence since Roman times. In 1948 its population of about 2,000 Jews was besieged, and forced to leave en masse. The quarter remained under Transjordanian occupation until its capture by Israeli paratroops in the Six-Day War of 1967. The quarter had been completely sacked, with ancient synagogues destroyed and the Western Wall used as a dumping ground.

After 1948, the quarter, with the rest of the Old City, passed into the hands of Jordan. On June 7, 1967, Israel took it over in the Six Day War. Four days later, on June 11, Israel demolished the Moroccan Quarter, consisting of 135 houses, two mosques, and two zaouias. On April 18, 1968, it officially expropriated the land of the quarter for public use, along with the Jewish Quarter. In the Moroccan Quarter's place, it built a large plaza in front of the Western Wall.

The quarter has since been revived—the population now surpasses 5,000, and many large educational institutions have taken up residence.

The Western Wall (or "Wailing Wall"), a remnant of Solomon's temple, has been an important place of pilgrimage for Jews since the temple's destruction. Access to it was through a blind alley within the Moroccan Quarter, sometimes leading to tensions between the Jewish visitors, wanting easier access and more space, and the residents, who complained of the noise. With the onset of Zionism, these tensions increased. In 1918, Chaim Weizmann sent a letter to the British Foreign Office asking for the quarter to be removed and the wall placed under Jewish ownership; however, the British maintained the status quo ante, and the wall as well as the Moroccan Quarter remained Waqf property, while Jews retained their longstanding right to visit it. After the disturbances of August 1929, a League of Nations commission was appointed to settle the issue, and again reaffirmed the status quo ante, while placing some restrictions on the timings of loud prayers.

May 28, 1948 – Fall of the Jewish Quarter

Note the Tiferet Israel Synagogue in background and general destruction as Jewish Quarter is pounded by heavy artillery, while the Arab Legion blocks attempts of Israeli forces to save the beleaguered defenders and residents. After 13 days of continual house-to-house warfare, a surrender agreement is signed, allowing for the evacuation of residents and the taking of prisoners by the Arab Legion.
The Jewish Quarter is not the only Jewish area to fall, but it is the most painful of the War of Independence and the most controversial.

The Quarter's Jews number 1700 at the time of surrender, down from 2000 at the time of partition.

The highest number of military defenders in the Jewish Quarter at any time in 1947-1948 is 200, including men, women and children. Beginning in mid-May the strength of the Arab Legion increases incrementally from 1,000 upward with added regiments, supplemented by irregulars from the local Arab population and surrounding countries.


Hate to reply to Mora - but want to present a balanced view - Devil's advocate and all that.

She states that the Western Wall was used as a 'dumping ground'. In fact it was worse than that, the Jordanians allowed the construction of a urinal along the wall so that visitors could 'express' their opinion at the Jewish holy site. Inexcusable in anyone's book but doesn't justify relocation/ethnic cleansing of the hundreds of inhabitants of the Moroccan Quarter.

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