X hits on this document





328 / 367

  • -

    300 -

And thirdly, the combination of British officers and local other ranks was to create a conflict of double loyalty. This problem of double loyalty became acute in 1921, when Arab rioters attacked Tel-Aviv and the Jewish quarters of Jerusalem. Jewish soldiers of the Northern Battalion rushed to the assistance of their brethren without awaiting orders from the British military command in the country. These events led to the disbanding of the Palestine Defence Force.

However, since this was a solution to a political problem rather than to the security problem at hand, and since, on the one hand the British armed forces in the country were steadily dwindling, and on the other the newly organized Pales- tine Police Force was unsuited for the difficult job of combatting rioters, a spe- cial force, the Palestine Gendarmerie, was established in July 1921. The hard core of this efficient force were ex-"Black and Tans" transferred from Ireland.2 This force, in which a small number of Jewish constables saw service, was dis- banded in 1925 and is outside the scope of our paper.

From the very beginning a state of tension emerged in the Palestine Police Force which is primarily attributed to the regulation requiring "native" local of- ficers to salute British NCO's. Jewish officers protested and the British solution to the problem was to promote all British sergeants to the rank of officers. But this was not the only source for tension. There was a large difference between the salaries paid to British police officers and their local colleagues.

In the aftermath of the riots of 1921 an official Defence Committee was established by the British authorities as an advisory committee for the defence of the Jewish settlements. In order to provide the isolated settlements with enough power to resist attacks until the arrival of military units or Gendarmerie, the so- called "Sealed Armouries" were distributed. In larger settlements 20-50 Turkish or German rifles were contained in special weapon-crates; for smaller settle- ments'5-10 rifles were provided. These "Sealed Armouries" could be opened only in case of an emergency. This arrangement provided, however, a conven- ient camouflage for illegal weapons, which in fact were kept in every Jewish settlement, but, in times of insecurity, British authorities on the local level chose to look the other way. In 1924, rifles in these "Sealed Armouries" amounted to 817. One should add to the legal armoury of the Jewish community 218 rifles with governmental permits. However, in 1928, this arrangement of "Sealed Ar- mouries" came to an end. The mandatory authorities reached the conclusion that Palestine had regained a state of tranquility and, therefore, the weapon-crates were collected into the main police stations of the country.

Subsequently, the riots of 1929 found the authorities unprepared and the Jewish settlements without legal arms to defend themselves. The first official reaction was the redistribution of the "Sealed Armouries", but with one altera- tion: The rifles to be issued would not be of a military type, but rather the so- called "Greener" gun, a clumsy, inaccurate, shotgun-type weapon which, if ef-

Document info
Document views489
Page views489
Page last viewedThu Oct 20 21:55:45 UTC 2016