Great Palestinian Revolt

The first popular Palestinian uprising in modern Palestinian history. Also known as the Arab Revolt or the Great Revolt, the uprising lasted more than three years and was sparked by mass Palestinian protests against Colonial British Mandate policies. Specifically, Palestinians protested the ongoing influx of Jewish immigrants to Palestine and Britain’s sale of Arab lands to these Jewish settlers, which came at the expense of the Palestinian fellahin (farmers). As a result of these policies, which had been worsening the plight of Palestinians since Britain occupied Palestine in 1917, Palestinian workers went on a general strike across Palestine starting on April 19, 1936. During the strike, which lasted until October 1936, British Mandate forces violently repressed Palestinians. In turn, this caused a new wave of Palestinian resistance—led by Palestinian farmers—that lasted until the summer of 1939.

British Mandate forces ultimately suppressed the revolt, killing 3,832 Palestinians and injuring over 14,000. As a result of the revolt, the Palestinian nationalist movement was crushed, with several of its leaders, including Amin al-Hussaini, sent into exile. The revolt also led to Britain lending further support to Zionist militias like the Haganah, and to the weakening of Palestinian military power, including as a result of Britain’s seizure of much of their weapons. Indeed, the revolt was so traumatic for Palestinians, it directly impacted their ability to confront Zionist militias throughout the 1948 War.