On 26th. September, 1937 the acting District Commissioner for Galilee. Lewis Andrews, and his bodyguard, B/C Peter Robertson McEwan, were shot down by Arabs while leaving a church service in Nazareth.
As a result, the authorities issued regulations authorizing the High Commissioner to outlaw associations whose objectives he regarded as contrary to public policy and allowing the Government to detain political deportees in any part of the British Empire.
The local National Committees and the Arab Higher Committee were disbanded. The police arrested five Arab leaders who were deported to the Seychelles. A sixth fled the country. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was deprived of his office in both the Supreme Moslem Council and the General Waqf Committee. He avoided arrest by taking refuge in the Haremesh Sharif area in Jerusalem. The police kept guard outside the gates of the temple compound but on a night when his supporters created diversions throughout Palestine, the Grand Mufti escaped disguised as a woman. Chief amongst the diversions were setting alight the fuel tanks at Lydda Airport, rolling blocks down a gorge to block a troop train so they could pepper it with fire from the top of the gorge and derailing the Haifa to Cairo 'express'.
The mufti succeeded in reaching Damascus. Too late the administration closed all frontiers with Palestine, cut off telephone connections to neighbouring countries,introduced press censorship and opened a special concentration camp near Acre.
From Damascus,the Mufti recruited reliable subordinates to lead the fight against the British. Probably one of the best of these was the Chief Arab Field Commander, Fawzi ed Din Kauwakji.
( The photo shows Fawzi ed Din Kauwakji taking a salute from his men on their way to Palestine from Syria )
Fawzi Kauwakji divided Palestine into subordinate commands. Abdul Khallik was in command of north east Galilee where he and his gang caused tremendous damage and loss of life. Yusuf Said abu Dorreh, who, commanded the terrotory round Jenin preyed upon the local Arabs, resorteing to torture and murder to attain his ends. Abdul Rahim el Haj Mohammed, a very religious man, devoted to the Arab cause and an implacable enemy of Zionism, commanded the Tulkarm area.
There were many other leaders. The various gangs broke up into independent sections, their numbers being augmented by volunteers from Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Bandits took advantage of the situation to loot and murder indiscriminately.
The oil pipeline from Iraq to Haifa was blown up every week.
The Arab insurrection succeeded so well that in some areas the police withdrew from smaller wooden police posts after ordering Jews to evacuate local settlements. The Arab insurgents burned down the abandoned police posts and set up provisional Arab Governments, imposing their own taxes and even issuing their own stamps. On 8 th October 1938,the more substantial Jenin police station was attacked but the tiny police garrison managed to hold out until relieved by the Army.
Jericho was evacuated and the police station there burned to the ground. Although Ramallah station survived,a local gang ruld the surrounding countryside was dominated. The police, with army help, held onto Nablus, Acre and Nazareth but Beersheba and Gaza came under gang rule.
Next- The Irgun Retaliate.