The Balfour Declaration represented the first chapter in the Palestinian struggle with the Zionist movement. Balfour’s visit to Palestine and the trip of a Jewish delegation in search of Zionist aspirations in the country led to the mobilization of Arab groups and the formation of Islamic-Christian associations to resist colonialism. This would result in a series of conferences that reached an agreement to demand the complete independence of Palestine and the rejection of both the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate.1
- 1. Nijim, Ibrahim, Amin Aqel, and Omar Abu al-Nasr, ed. Walid Khalidi. Jihad Filastin al-‘Arabiyya [Palestine’s Arab Jihad]. Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2009, p. 167.
The ripples of the 1929 Buraq Uprising served as the most important factor in pushing the Palestinians toward revolt some seventeen years later, setting the parameters of their confrontation with the Zionists in the coming years. On August 15 1929, the Jews reached
- 1. Zuaiter, Akram. Mudhaqarat Akram Zuaiter: Bawakir al-Nidal [Akram Zuaiter’s Memoirs: The Harbingers of Struggle]. Beirut: al-Mu'assasa al-Arabiyya lil Dirasat wa al-Nashr, 1994.
- 2. Al-Hout, Bayan Nuwayhad. Al-Qiyadat wa al-Mu’assasat al-Siyasiyya fi Filastin 1917-1948 [Leaders and Political Institutions in Palestine 1917-1948]. Dar al-Huda, 1986.
In the meantime, with the escalation of economic and material suppression, Palestinians had reached a point of no return, concluding that armed engagement and military confrontation with the English was vital to sinking the Zionist project and reclaiming Arab rights. Various clandestine armed groups were beginning to form and emerge in the 1920s, with the absence of a unified political infrastructure capable of directing the struggle against colonialism.
The Qassam Revolution was one manifestation of these armed groups. It was founded by the
In 1930, Izzeddin al-Qassam founded a military organization that opposed the Zionists and the British under the name of al-Kaf al-Aswad, or “The Black Hand.”2 By 1935 the number of its trained members ranged between 200-800 fighters.3 This organization targeted Jews in the Northern regions4, and it was said that they sought to clean out informants and spies. High levels of secrecy characterized their work, consisting of groups where only a quarter knew one another, while others in it did not know the rest of the groups at all.5 Women also took part in al-Kaf al-Aswad, especially in Jerusalem, where the active women worked to send threatening letters to the police. A number of women were arrested, tried in military courts, and sent to prison. One of them was Munira al-Khalidi, who was sent to prison in 1937.6
- 1. Al-Mawsu’a al-Filastiniyya, p. 1948.
- 2. Yaari, Ehud. Strike Terror: the Story of Fatah. Sabra Books, 1970, p. 41
- 3. Segev, Tom. One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate. Macmillan, 2001, p. 360.
- 4. Kedourie, Elie and Sylvia G. Haim. Zionism and Arabism in Palestine and Israel. Taylor & Francis, 1982, p. 63.
- 5. ‘Arrar, Abdul Aziz. “Al-Qada al-Fallahun fi Ma’ma’an al-Thawra al-Filastiniyya 1936-1939 [Peasant Leaders in the Heat of the Palestinian Revolution 1936-1939]” Dunia al-Watan, 2011. http://pulpit.alwatanvoice.com/content/print/220579.html
- 6. Abdo, Janan. “Nariman Khurshayd wa Tanzim Zahratul Uqhuwan [Nariman Khurshayd and the Zahratul Uqhuwan Organization]” Jadaliyya, 2015. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/21776/-%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%8A%D9%...