PP badge link to homepage Pre-Mandate Palestine

Intro Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Jan-May 1947
Section 12
May-Nov 1947
Section 13
Dec 1947-April 1948
Section 14
Evacuation 1948
Stand Down
July 1948

Section 1

Occupied Enemy Territories Administration (OETA)

i Introduction

ii. Situation Prior to August 1914

iii. WW1 Protecting the Suez Canal

iv. WW1 Promise 1

v. WW1 Promise 2

vi WW1 Promise 3

vii. WW1 The Conquest of Palestine

viii. O.E.T.A.

viii. O.E.T.A.

ix. 1919 Paris Peace Conference

x. Nebi Mussa Riots

xi. The Heroification of Trumpeldor

xii. St Remo Conference

OETAWhen war ended, the question arose of what to do with the conquered territories. Following the defeat of the Turks the Allies occupied the Levant and Mesopotamia, and split them into several administrative sub-units.

A temporary Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (O.E.T.A.) was established until an allied conference could decide on the matter.

France administered OETA North consisting of the sanjaks of Beirut, Lebanon, Lataqiya plus several sub-districts.>
Prince Faisal, continued to administer OETA East, much to the disapproval of the French, who viewed his temporary appointment as a British attempt to take over Syria.
Britain, via General Allenby, administered OETA South, consisting of the sanjaks of Jerusalem, Nablus and Acre.

OETA South was exhausted by war, and over run by bandits. Its population was depleted by military conscription, starvation and disease.

General Allenby inherited an Ottoman judicial system and modern local police forces with a police station in every district.

Ottoman police had been responsible for bringing criminals to justice through up to date detective work and forensics, keeping order at religious festivals, and controlling political demonstrations.

There was also a gendarmerie, a paramilitary force responsible for putting down riots, protecting tax collectors and keeping travelers safe.

Side by side with most police stations were detention centres. These were used to house short term prisoners and suspects awaiting trial.

General Allenby appointed his military Provost Marshall as head of security and placed both police and local gendarmerie under his command. A military officer was placed in each district as commander of the local police.

Townspeople were in severe distress; commerce had long been at a standstill. In rural areas hitherto cultivated land was untilled; stocks of cattle and horses had fallen; woodlands had almost disappeared; orange groves had been ruined by lack of irrigation.

A Military Administration system, established to govern the country, laboured for nearly two years at its restoration.

Revenue authorised by Turkish law was collected and spent on the country's needs. The government lent a considerable sum, advanced by the Anglo-Egyptian Bank, in small amounts to the agriculturists, which enabled them to purchase stock and seed, and partly restore their cultivation. Philanthropic agencies in other countries came to the relief of the most needy.

Commerce began to revive, encouraged by the new military railway connection with Egypt and assisted by the military construction of a net-work of good roads.

The country showed signs of gradually returning life.

HashomerThe Jewish settlements had their own armed security forces, the Hashomer. The photo shows a unit of Jewish Hashomer in 1909.

In July 1919 Major-General Sir Harold Watson, now chief adminstrator of OETA South, anticipating that the ongoing Paris Peace Talks would end with OETA being changed from military to civil administration, appointed the Police Deputy Inspector General of the United Provinces of India, Lt. Col.Percy B. Bramley OBE. to unify all Palestine's urban police forces.

Lt. Col.Percy B. Bramley LT Col. Bramley posted the best of the Ottoman police officers to train recruits from Arab villages and newly arrived Jewish immigrants. He also found officers from Egypt willing to volunteer for the local police. These were sent on a quick training course in Ismailia. One such officer, a Copt named Salim Basta was later to become a distinguished detective who rose to become an ASP in Haifa before he was assassinated.

Bramley then conducted some research to find a suitable but not too expensive uniform to replace the police attire that varied from location to location. For headgear, he chose the kalpak, traditional police headwear in many parts of the middle east, but not worn by most Palestinian Arabs. The winter uniform became dark blue with white buttons and shoulder titles. Summer uniform was khaki drill tunics over khaki trousers in the evening and khaki shorts during the day. ( in the photograph Col. Bramley is shown as wearing the kalpak as did all the other British officers.

Next - Paris Peace Talks