This article concerning the Great Revolt of 1936–39 is based on archival research conducted in England and Israel in 2011–12. It argues that British resort to harsh repressive measures during the 1936 phase of the revolt began earlier, endured longer, and occurred more frequently than scholars have hitherto recognized. It contends further that this oversight is an instance of a broader trend in the scholarship: namely, the internalization of the pervasive tendency in British and Zionist archival materials to characterize the rebellion as a crime wave, to which the Mandate merely responded, rather than provoked.
Matthew Kraig Kelly is a historian of the modern Middle East, and dean’s lecturer on social research in the Department of History at UCLA. He is presently completing a book on the Palestinian Great Revolt of 1936–39.