Levant History: Former Ottoman Areas -- Violence and Disorder (1919-21)

Figure 1.--Here are Jewish Boy Scouts at Tel Hai in the northern Galilee which had been attacked by Arab militias. It was one of the first actions by Jewish self defense forces in Palestine (1920). The small outpost had to be abandoned, but as the security situation improved the Jewish settlers retuned (1921). The boys here may be involved in creating a make-shift memorial to the Jews killed in the fighting there. The photograph looks to be taken soon after the Jews retuned in the early-1920s. We are not sure what the Hebrew writing says.

Following the War the future of the Ottoman Arab Lands was in doubt. The Arabs in Palestine appear to have generally accepted British rule. The situation in Syria was more in doubt and a conflict developed between the French and Arab forces -- the Franco-Syrian War. The Egyptian Expeditionary forces of Edmund Allenby after defeating the Ottoman forces in Palestine entered Damascus (September 30, 1918). The Hasemite Dynasty from Saudi-Arabia King Faisal attempted to establish the Arab Kingdom of Syria. Faisal with Allenby's approval announced the establishment of an Arab constitutional government in Damascus (October 5, 1919). Negotiations with French Prime-Minister Clemencau did not go well (January 1920). The Alawite rose up (July 1919). The Arabs began attacking French forces throughout Syria. The Arab Syrian Congress met to declare Faisal the King of Syria (March 19, 1920). The Nananu Revolt began in the north (April 1920). The Arab forces were mostly irregulars that had fought the Ottomans with the British aided by local bedouins. The British and French refused to recognize Feisal, The Laeague of Nations called the San Remo Conference (April 1920). Several attacks were launched by the Arab militias. King Faisal not wanting a war with France surrendered (July 14, 1920). A follower Yusuf al-'Azma refused to surrender and with a group of poorly armed irregulars fought the well-armed French Army of the Levant at the Battle of Maysalun (July 24). The border between Syria and Palestine at the time and the fighting spilled over into northern Palistine--the Gaillee. It was there that one of the Arab actions took place at Tel Hai when Arabs militias from nearby villages attempted to seize a small Jewish outpost in the northern Galilee (March 1). Historians consider it to be the beginning of the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine. The Jewish settlers including the women were armed. It was first notable action by self defense forces that Jewish settlers had begun to organize. Soon after the situarion stabilized, the British partioned Palestine and turned the eastern area over to Hshemites, Abdullah I bin al-Husseinthe second of three sons of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca. It became Trans-Jordon, essentially Palestine beyond the Jordan. Abdullah had playd a key role with Lawrence in the Arab Revolt (1916-18). Jews were excluded from Trans Jordan.


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Created: 12:38 PM 3/22/2017
Last updated: 1:57 PM 3/26/2017