Assassination in Jerusalem: Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah and Sami Al-Ansari’s Shooting of British Assistant Superintendent Alan Sigrist 12th June 1936
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Introduction

At midday on Friday, 12 June 1936 by Lions’ Gate just outside the Old City of Jerusalem, two armed Palestinians, Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah and Sami al-Ansari, both teachers aged respectively twenty and eighteen, ambushed a car containing British acting Assistant Superintendent Alan Sigrist and his guard, British Constable Edmund Doxat. The assailants’ primary target was the senior officer, Sigrist, not Doxat. This was after almost two months into the Arab revolt in Palestine during which Palestinian and Arab rebels targeted British officials, in protest against Britain’s policy of supporting Jewish immigration and settlement to the country. Sigrist was on his regular tour of the British police guarding the gates of the Old City but as it was also the day for Friday prayers, British security was tighter than usual. As a young a cousin of al-Ansari, Serene Husseini, recalled: “as the time for noon prayers drew closer. The streets were heavy with anger. As men and women entered the gates of the al Aqsa Mosque their faces betrayed worry and sadness.”1

Sigrist was driving a left-hand drive car on the right side of the road as cars had been introduced to Palestine in the Ottoman era, before the British – who drive on the left – arrived in 1917.2 Doxat sat to Sigrist’s right in the passenger seat armed with a British Army-issue Lee-Enfield rifle as well as a Service revolver pistol. As the two men drove away from St. Stephen’s Gate following Sigrist’s visit to the police picket there, the assassins, who had been tracking Sigrist’s daily schedule, struck on the Jericho road just outside, shooting Sigrist as he was returning to Herod’s Gate on the incline by the Muslim cemetery a few meters before the turn at the northeast corner of the Old City walls. Sigrist being on the road-side of the car meant that the two assassins had to step into the middle of the road to shoot him, and as both men aimed at Sigrist this left Doxat temporarily free to return fire. The assassins had chosen this spot as Sigrist’s car slowed on the incline before the turning; Abu Gharbiyah’s memory is that both men were “calm and in full control of the situation” when they launched their attack.3

In June 2009, Abu Gharbiyah, now ninety-three, consented to an interview with this author at his home in Amman, Jordan.4 His recollections supplemented by contemporary records provide a useful counter-narrative to the traditional British account of undiluted rebel terrorism, and one that this essay will go on to describe in an attempt to explore the contested terrain of who used violence in Palestine at this time and for what purpose. Using the shooting of Sigrist as a case study opens up wider debates on official and unofficial aggression, complementing recent academic studies on Britain’s use of force in Palestine at this time, and giving voice to what Edward Said has described as the “invisible and inaudible” Palestinians who fought the British in the late 1930s.5 That said, oral history and memory have their pitfalls. Thus, a British Palestine police contemporary of Sigrist (and present at his funeral some twenty years ago) read this author’s account of Sigrist’s activities in Jerusalem and remembered Sigrist as a “pleasant chap and a bit of a scholar,” a description that jars with the account that follows of Sigrist’s violence directed at Palestinians, as readers will discover.6

The shooting of Sigrist gets little mention in the literature, not surprising considering the large number of attacks on British officials during the revolt in Palestine. In Tom Segev’s One Palestine, Complete (2000), the outrage is recorded simply as, “a young Arab [al-Ansari] opened fire on the car of a Jerusalem police officer, wounding him. A British soldier returned fire; the Arab was hit and later died.”7 The Palestine Post reported that the two assassins had hidden below the side of the Jericho road before the attack, a claim refuted by Abu Gharbiyah who later wrote that they were both walking openly in the street; other accounts have the men jumping on and, in one case, into the car.8 Abu Gharbiyah hid his weapon under his tarbush while al-Ansari’s was in his pocket – both men had automatic pistols, Abu Gharbiyah an Italian Beretta and al-Ansari a French Lafayette.9 Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari fired together from about a meter away at Sigrist who was inside the car, shooting him twice in the chest and shoulder (or, more likely, one round caused both wounds), the latter a serious wound. The secondary target, Doxat, sat alongside his superior officer struggling with his rifle inside the confined space of the car. Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari had agreed to fire slowly but Doxat managed to return fire with his pistol that he had previously drawn on seeing the two men loitering in the area, so al-Ansari shouted at Abu Gharbiyah to shoot more rapidly.10 Doxat was quick to react as he was returning fire at the same time or even before the two assassins opened up with their weapons on Sigrist, shooting at first to his left across his comrade and through his open window, a decisive reaction that would surely have deafened Sigrist.11 Doxat and the assassins also exchanged bullets through the shattered windscreen. In the mêlée, al-Ansari emptied his pistol and ran off, wounded, shot by Doxat in the fire-fight. His direction of flight is uncertain, either to the south and east towards Gethsemane and the Kidron valley, or to the north towards Wadi el-Joz, according to Abu Gharbiyah.12 Abu Gharbiyah fired off his last rounds at Doxat, some or all of the bullets deflected by the car’s (reinforced) glass or bodywork, aware that by chance an Army-escorted Jewish Potash Company convoy was approaching from the southeast. Sigrist had slumped back when shot, releasing his feet from the car’s pedals, so Doxat had shot al-Ansari while inside a vehicle rolling backwards, under fire, pulling on the hand-brake, and alongside his badly wounded superior officer – no mean feat.

Recounting the Events

The history of the Palestine police recounted that Doxat was able to “leap out” of the car and shoot al-Ansari; a contemporary newspaper report states that he “whipped out” his revolver and fired through the windscreen at one of his assailants.13 The car rolled backwards off the road over a thirty- to fifty-foot drop into a rocky wadi landing upright with Sigrist and Doxat inside, both badly bruised, the engine still running.14 Abu Gharbiyah’s recollection is that Doxat had exited the vehicle before it went over the edge into the wadi.15 Filastin [Palestine] newspaper noted that Doxat was wounded in the thigh but this does not appear to have been a gunshot; the Palestine Post credited Doxat with a “slight” neck wound in addition to some “other injuries” sustained when the car fell into the valley.16 A private car took Sigrist to the Government Hospital in the main British headquarters at the “Russian Compound” in west Jerusalem, where Doxat soon joined him. On 14 June, Sigrist and Doxat were reportedly “cheerful” in hospital after the incident and both recovered but Sigrist never returned to police work in Palestine. Sigrist was still “cheerful” on the 15 June, in true British style; by September 1936, he was back in England.17 Sigrist eventually returned to police duties, but not in Palestine; he died peacefully on 1 March 1983, outliving al-Ansari but not Abu Gharbiyah.

The crew and soldiers of the Potash Company convoy tracked the wounded al-Ansari and a police search with a dog quickly uncovered him hiding in a nearby house; he died on the way to the hospital or “later” in hospital of his wounds.18 Meanwhile, Abu Gharbiyah had made his way to Wadi el-Joz and returned to his family home inside the Old City near the Haram al Sharif via the Musrara neighbourhood and the New Gate in time to go off to Friday prayers at the al-Aqsa mosque with his brother, alive to the gossip spreading about the recent outrage.

How did al-Ansari die? Doxat had shot him in the chest – if Doxat was using a Webley Service pistol, this fired a powerful round19 – but al-Ansari was alive when captured and being tended in a house by two local men, both of whom the British also arrested. Abu Gharbiyah maintains that al-Ansari was “conscious” when he reached the hospital.20 In the end, al-Ansari ended up in Government Hospital alongside Sigrist and Doxat. Abu Gharbiyah details British soldiers throwing al-Ansari onto the back of a lorry and denying him first aid, after which in hospital he told police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers who had rushed to interview him that he had acted alone, which they must have known was untrue.21 The Palestinian educator and writer Khalil al-Sakakini recorded how soldiers beat al-Ansari, with rifle butts, in the lorry on the way to the hospital.22 This could be true as across Palestine during the revolt the police allegedly tortured and assassinated suspects.23 For instance, British Palestine policeman Sydney Burr told his parents that colleagues who were tired of the legal system carried out extra-judicial assassinations and “shot out of hand” suspects.24 John Briance, a police officer who later became the head of CID in Palestine, confessed to his mother, of colleagues’ shooting on the spot an arrested rebel in 1938.25

Why did Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari target Sigrist?

As already stated, during the revolt Palestinians attacked British police officers, soldiers and officials, including high-profile victims such as British police Inspector-General R. G. B. Spicer who in 1937 had a narrow escape when a would-be assassin emptied his pistol into his car at point-blank range as he was being driven through the gates of the Russian Compound in Jerusalem.26 On 28 May 1936, inside Jerusalem’s Old City, rebels killed British Constable Robert (or Ronald) Bird with three shots from the window of a building, one of which went through his heart.27 At the same time as the Sigrist shooting, rebels tried to kill J. A. M. Faraday, Deputy Superintendent in Nazareth.28 Certainly, being a British official made someone a target but the rebels also discriminated, picking on particularly hated authority figures such as the pro-Zionist Assistant District Commissioner in Galilee, Lewis Andrews, who was shot dead leaving church in Nazareth on 26 September 1937. In Jenin on 24 August 1938, an assassin shot nine times and killed acting Assistant District Commissioner W. S. S. Moffat, “known for his bad behaviour,” a man who, Abu Gharbiyah claims, lined up Palestinian villagers during the revolt and shot every fifth man when hidden rifles were not produced for the authorities.29 In Moffat’s case, the British quickly apprehended the assassin after the murder – he was, apparently, a blond hunchback and so rather visible – after which in the tradition of al-Ansari he died in custody, trying to escape, despite his disability and being surrounded by fit, young British soldiers.30 “Shot trying to escape” is a recurring phrase in British files. Then again, the Arabs nicknamed Moffat’s assassin, “Mohammed,” “gazelle” because he was so swift.31 (Jewish files in the Haganah archive tell the remarkable tale that Moffat’s assassin, ‘Ali Muhammad el-Mahmoud, dressed up as a hunchback, leaving Jenin’s genuine hunchback to face the music. British soldiers shot the innocent “real” hunchback.)32

Similarly, in Abu Gharbiyah’s memoirs, he recalled how some forty days after the attempt on Sigrist he attacked two Royal Air Force (RAF) servicemen, near the same spot as the 12 June assault, shooting them with a pistol hidden inside his tarbush.33 This is a reference to the shooting by an “unknown assailant” of Aircraftsman C. D. White and a colleague on the Jericho road near Gethsemane on 10 August 1936.34 White died; the other man was wounded. Significantly, Abu Gharbiyah claimed that he had picked the two men because of the RAF’s aerial bombing of rebels in the countryside of Palestine. Indeed, before attacking them, he had considered targeting a Jewish carpentry shop in the Old City, near al-Ansari’s house, but had subsequently changed his mind, “since the English were the main enemies.”35 “The target had to be English as they were responsible for the killing.”36 Again, with Constable Bird’s death on 28 May 1936, one of the men arrested for the crime was a “near relative” of a Jerusalemite shot by British police the previous week at St Stephen’s Gate.37 The suggestion here is that Bird’s death was a planned revenge attack Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari actively targeted Sigrist because he was especially brutal towards Arab Jerusalemites.38

Sigrist's Tactics

Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari acted alone rather than as hit-men for the Arab Higher Committee. Their assault was a collective revenge attack by Jerusalemites against an officer who was notorious across the city for his savage truncheon-wielding attacks on Arab townsfolk – until “their bodies were broken” – including beating up the staff of al-Difa‘ [The Defence] newspaper office on 31 May 1936. Sigrist launched indiscriminate assaults on Arab passers-by, including on a well-dressed Arab District Officer who was outside the Damascus Gate by the Schmidt school (but in 1936 a government office, Abu Gharbiyah recalls) and who refused to pick up nails left by rebels hoping to puncture vehicle tyres.39 Sigrist and his men wounded dozens in their attack on the office of al-Difa‘, breaking a man’s nose with a truncheon so badly that the victim was hospitalized, dripping with blood and in a “perilous state.”40 At the same time, they also smashed in the windows at the Arab Sports Club. On another occasion, one of Sigrist’s blows left a man with concussion. Jerusalemites cleared the streets when they heard the hum of Sigrist’s Morris car, fearful of the assault that they were sure would come their way if they were caught in the open. One sixteen-year old Palestinian girl learned to remember the name “Sickrest, as it hissed down every street,” a man who attacked people so “ferociously” that he would break their arms.41 In groups of seven or eight, Sigrist’s men would force their way through the narrow streets of the Old City, pushing local people aside and making them salute the police in “humiliation operations.” At the Old City gates officers slapped and kicked Arabs passing through. Abu Gharbiyah remembers Sigrist to have been an “abnormal,” “crazy” man who broke one man’s jaw and “destroyed his looks.” Moreover, Sigrist had ratcheted up his brutality after the killing of Constable Bird on 28 May, which might explain the subsequent attack on the office of al-Difa‘.42 There were so many local protests about Sigrist that the leaders of the Istiqlal (Independence) party met J. H. Hall, the Mandate Chief Secretary, to make a complaint about the goings-on but there was no response to these petitions so Jerusalemites “condemned” and “sentenced” Sigrist to death and it was for this reason that Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari had teamed up and were together in the Muslim cemetery by St Stephen’s Gate at around 11.00 a.m. on 12 June 1936 watching Sigrist’s car approaching from the direction of St Stephen’s Gate.43

But personal pique – what Roy Baumeister in his study of evil has categorized as “egotism and revenge” – also played its part in Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari’s decision to target Sigrist.44 Policemen had badly assaulted al-Ansari and Sigrist had beaten and humiliated Abu Gharbiyah on three or four occasions. In one encounter, Sigrist had caught Abu Gharbiyah in the street in Jerusalem and while remaining in his car had searched Abu Gharbiyah through the lowered window, patting him down while he stood on the pavement. Sigrist asked Abu Gharbiyah what he did for a job, and then he got out of the car saying “please” so that Abu Gharbiyah would step out of the way to allow the door to be opened. Sigrist then searched him again while also trying to punch and slap Abu Gharbiyah’s face and head. When Abu Gharbiyah protected himself from the blows, Sigrist kicked him and then tried to strike or “box” him again. (The use of the rather archaic verb “to box” in the records might be the result of the passion for this sport in the British Army and police at this time; Abu Gharbiyah was also a boxer.)45 With his tarbush knocked to the ground, Abu Gharbiyah retreated back along the pavement, so Sigrist put his hand on his revolver and said, “go away or I’ll shoot you.”46 As al-Ansari died and left no record, unlike Abu Gharbiyah, his personal motivations can only be surmised but he had a history of violence, having murdered three Jews in an attack at Jerusalem’s Edison cinema on 16 May 1936, an attack in which Abu Gharbiyah was supposed to have participated in but from which he was kept away by the official curfew in force at the time in the Old City.47 Abu Gharbiyah’s memory is that the Edison cinema attack was retaliation for the killing of a close friend, Mahmoud al-Tamimi, murdered outside his house by Jewish assassins.48

Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari were, of course, also young men, not an insignificant point when it came to their decision to use direct physical force and part of a wider tradition of energized youth clashing with its more conservative elders on how best to achieve political ends – in this case within the Palestinian nationalist movement, and relevant not just in 1936 but also today in the context of the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In 1936, al-Ansari had visited his relatives and neighbours, the Husaynis, in the Musrara neighbourhood where they all lived, and confronted his uncle, Jamal, who was to leave for London to talk with the British to resolve the Arab revolt. In this exchange, as recorded by Serene, Jamal’s daughter, in her memoirs, al-Ansari blurted out:

’Uncle Jamal, we are fed up with your politics. You go to London and try your negotiations there. But we will try ours here, in the land of Palestine.’ My father was shocked. He turned pale, but, smiling nervously, asked: ‘And who are “we”?’Sami [al-Ansari], now as pale as my father, responded defiantly: ‘We are the youth of this country.’49

Had al-Ansari lived, he and Abu Gharbiyah would surely have made further violent attacks as a team and they would have become what a later generation would call “urban guerrillas” fighting to save their nation and eschewing the political moderation of their elders, their political cause justifying any assaults on British officials and Jewish settlers.

Conclusion

Sigrist was one of the men who maintained imperial rule in Palestine in the late 1930s as Britain successfully faced down Palestinian resistance to colonialism. Regardless of his behaviour, Sigrist as a British police officer was a rebel target but his brutality towards local Palestinians vastly increased his chances of being attacked by two assassins, Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari, who, spurred on by personal animosities and youthful energy, had followed Sigrist, noting his movements, before picking him off on 12 June 1936. Sigrist’s violence begot more violence, this time directed at himself. Sigrist’s shooting was not a target of opportunity – one based on vulnerability, chance and the ease with which an operation could be executed – but his was a pro-active attack against a hated local official by two determined men. Abu Gharbiyah and alAnsari’s assault on Sigrist was motivated by a mix of personal revenge and a desire to rid Jerusalem of a violent British official. The backdrop was the daily violence of rebels and British servicemen, the violence of the latter more systematic, unpleasant and ingrained than is allowed for in the official record. We should not be surprised by the actions of those such as Sigrist, Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari as they used violence to achieve their respective ends. For the Palestinians, this violence failed in its aim of ending Jewish immigration and British rule, even if Sigrist’s shooting did give Jerusalemites permanent respite from his assaults. For the British, their violence succeeded as they defeated the Arab revolt by 1939, leaving them free to deploy their troops for the coming war in Europe with Germany, after which they very quickly lost the empire – including British-run Palestine – which men such as Sigrist had fought so hard to keep.

 

Endnotes

1 Serene Husseini Shahid, Jerusalem Memories (Beirut: Naufal, 2000), p. 94. For a fuller account of the shooting of Sigrist, readers are directed to: Matthew Hughes, “A History of Violence: The Shooting in Jerusalem of British Assistant Police Superintendent Alan Sigrist, 12 June 1936,” Journal of Contemporary History 45/4 (October 2010).

2 The Cowley car plant in the UK produced the Morris cars issued to the Palestine police with right-hand drives but Sigrist was driving, Abu Gharbiyah recalls, a left-hand drive vehicle, not impossible as Austin produced such cars and they were on the roads of Palestine in the 1930s. Author interview with Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, Amman, 21 June 2009; correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009. Abu Gharbiyah’s poor eyesight meant that subsequent correspondence (by e-mail) went by way of his son who was present at the initial interview with this author on 21 June 2009. New York Times photographs from the 1920s and 1930s show British forces using a mix of left- and right-hand drive vehicles: Palestine: New York Times Paris Bureau, RG 306 NT, Boxes 1181, 1184, National Archives and Records Administration II, College Park, Washington DC.

3 Correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009.

4 Author interview with Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, Amman, 21 June 2009.

5 Matthew Hughes, ‘The Banality of Brutality: British Armed Forces and the Repression of the Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936-39,’ English Historical Review, 124, 507 (April 2009), 313-354; Matthew Hughes, ‘The Practice and Theory of British Counter-Insurgency: The Histories of the Atrocities at the Palestinian Village of al-Bassa and Halhul, 1938-39,’ Small Wars and Insurgencies, 20, 3 (September 2009), 528-50. Quotation from Edward Said’s introduction to Shahid, Jerusalem Memories, p. xi.

6 Correspondence, Edward Horne (formerly of the Palestine police) to author, 5 September 2009.

7 Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete (New York: Holt, 2000), pp. 365-66.

8 Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal al-‘arabi al-filastini: mudhakkarat al-munadil Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah [In the Midst of the Struggle for the Arab Palestinian Cause: The Memoirs of Freedom-Fighter Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah] (Beirut: IPS, 1993), pp. 72-77 ; author interview, Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, Amman, 21 June 2009 (and subsequent correspondence); Palestine Post, “A.S.P. Sigrist Shot, Escapes Death,” 14 June 1936, pp, 1, 4; Khalil al-Sakakini, Kadha Ana Ya Duniya [Such Am I, Oh World!] [1955] (Beirut: al-Ittihad etc., 1982), pages covering 13 June 1936; Akram Musallam (ed.), Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini: Yawmiyyat, Rasa’il, ta’amulat [Diaries of Khalil al-Sakakini: Diaries, Letters and Meditations] (Jerusalem: Institute of Jerusalem Studies, 2006), vol. vi, pp. 262-63; Shahid, Jerusalem Memories, p. 94.

9 For pistol makes, see correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009. The issue of headdress during the revolt is of more than just sartorial interest as the rebels insisted that all Palestinians should ditch the tarbush popular amongst more urbane town-folk and don instead the rural kufiya (or hatta or igal) turban-style head-wear so that rural rebels operating in the towns could more easily blend in with the populace. It was an act of “sartorial patriotism.” The return of the tarbush in 1939 was a visible sign that the revolt was ending. See T. Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt: The 1936-39 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past (Minneapolis: UP Minnesota, 1995), pp. 30ff.

10 Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal, p. 74.

11 Correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009.

12 Ibid.; Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal, pp. 74-76.

13 Edward Horne, A Job Well Done [1982] (Sussex: Book Guild, 2003), p. 212; Palestine Post, 14 June 1936, p. 1.

14 Palestine Post, 14 June 1936, p. 4.

15 Correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009

16 Filastin [Palestine] (Jaffa), 13 June 1936; Palestine Post, 14 June 1936, p. 1.

17 Palestine Post, 14 June 1936, p. 4, 15 June p. 5 and 14 September 1936, p. 3.

18 Ibid., 14 June 1936, p. 4; Filastin, 13 June 1936.

19 The police were armed with Webley, Enfield or Smith and Wesson revolver pistols. Policemen favored the Smith and Wesson over the Webley: correspondence, John Foster (Palestine Police Old Comrades’Association) to author, 25 July 2009.

20 Correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009. See also, Haaretz [The Land] (Tel Aviv), 14 June 1936, morning issue.

21 Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal, p. 75

22 al-Sakakini, Kadha Ana Ya Duniya, pages covering 13 June 1936.

23 See Note 5 above.

24 Letter, Burr to Parents, 19 Dec. 1937, Burr papers, 88/8/1, I[mperial] W[ar] M[useum D[ocuments] London.

25 Letter, Briance to Mother, 14 May 1938, Briance papers, in possession of Mrs Prunella Briance.

26 Geoffrey Morton, Just the Job: Some Experiences of a Colonial Policeman (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1957), p. 57.

27 Palestine Post, 29 May 1936, pp. 1, 9.

28 Davar [Issue] (Tel Aviv), 14 June 1936.

29 Akram Zua‘ytir, Al-Harakah al-Wataniyah al-Filastiniyya, 1935-39: Yawmiyyat Akram Zua‘ytir [The Palestinian National Movement, 1935-39: Diaries of Akram Zua‘ytir] [1980] (Beirut: IPS, 1992), p. 438; Haaretz, 2526 August 1938; Davar, 25 August 1938; interview, Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, Amman, 21 June 2009. Morton, Just the Job, p. 73 dates the Moffat attack to 23 August 1938.

30 Telegram to Secretary of State, n.d., S25/22762, Central Zionist Archive, Jerusalem; Haaretz, 26 August 1936. Andrews and Bird are buried, along with so many other policemen, in the Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion; Moffat is in the smaller, poorly tended British cemetery in Haifa.

31 Zua‘ytir, Al-Harakah al-Wataniyah, p. 438.

32 Intelligence Report, 3 January 1939, p. 174, 8/ General/2, Haganah Archive, Tel Aviv.

33 Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal, pp. 78-79; correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009.

34 “RAF Man Killed Outside of Old City,” Palestine Post, 11 August 1936.

35 Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal, pp. 7879.

36 Correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 29 July 2009.

37 Palestine Post, 29 May 1936, pp. 1, 9.

38 Unless otherwise stated, the information in this paragraph and the next one is from author interview, Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, Amman, 21 June 2009 and Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal, pp. 72-75.

39 al-Sakakini, Kadha Ana Ya Duniya, pages covering 13 June 1936; al-Sirat al-Mustakim [The Right Path] (Jaffa), 1 June 1936.

40 al-Sirat al-Mustakim, 1 June 1936.

41 Shahid, Jerusalem Memories, pp. 91-2.

42 al-Liwa (The Province) (Jerusalem), 1 June 1936; al-Sirat al-Mustakim, 1 June 1936.

43 Davar, 14 June 1936; Haaretz, 14 June 1936, morning issue.

44 Roy Baumeister, Evil: Inside Human Cruelty and Violence (New York: Freeman, 1997), pp. 128ff.

45 This might explain the rather anachronistic phrase in Hebrew current into the 1980s, and perhaps picked up from the British: ani etten lekha box (“I”ll give you a box”).

46 Correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 7 August 2009.

47 Segev, One Palestine, Complete, pp. 365-66; Musallam (ed.), Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini, vol. vi, p. 263; Abu Gharbiyah, Fi Khidamm al-nidal, pp. 68-71. The police arrested three other men for the Edison crime: Palestine Post, “Edison Cinema Investigations,” 29 May 1936, p. 9. Copies of British curfew orders of the time are exhibited today inside the American Colony Hotel, Jerusalem.

48 Correspondence, Sami Abu Gharbiyah (son of Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah, present at the interview on 21 June 2009) to author, 7 August 2009 and 10 December 2009.

49 Shahid, Jerusalem Memories, p. 93.

Author biography: 

Matthew Hughes is Reader in the Department of Politics and History at Brunel University. From 2008 to 2010, Dr Hughes held the Major-General Matthew C. Horner Chair in Military Theory at the US Marine Corps University.

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