From Law and Order to Pacification: Britain's Suppression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-39

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VOL. 39

2009/10

No. 2
P. 6
Article
From Law and Order to Pacification: Britain's Suppression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-39
ABSTRACT




This article examines British human rights abuses against noncombatants during the 1936–39 Arab Revolt in Palestine, contextualizing brutality in Palestine within British military practice and law for dealing with colonial rebellions in force at the time. It shows that the norms for such operations, and the laws that codified military actions, allowed for some level of systemic, systematic brutality in the form of “collective punishments” and “reprisals” by the British army. The article also details the effects of military actions on Palestinian civilians and rebels and describes torture carried out by the British on Palestinians. Finally, it highlights a methodological problem in examining these sorts of abuses: the paucity of official records and the mismatch between official and unofficial accounts of abuse during counterinsurgency.