1929 Riots

Also known as the Western Wall Disturbances, these were the first large-scale occurrences of fighting among Arabs, Jews, and the British mandatory administration of Palestine. Though the deeper causes can be linked to growing tensions over increasing Jewish immigration, the fighting began over Jewish access to the Western Wall, known as Al-Buraq Wall in Arabic or HaKotel in Hebrew, an important holy site to people of both faiths. Rumors of a Jewish plot to seize control of the holy site began to spread in the late 1920s, and violence erupted in August 1929 when a group of Jews organized a demonstration at the Western Wall, raising the Zionist flag and singing the Zionist anthem. A week later, some Palestinians murdered a group of Jews in Jerusalem’s Haredi neighborhood of Meah She’arim. The riots spread and religious Jewish communities (particularly in Hebron and Safed) were violently attacked, with retaliatory Jewish riots taking place as well. 133 Jews and 116 Palestinians were killed (some from Jewish rioters, but most from British troops/police). The British set up a commission of inquiry known as the Shaw Commission, which found that the fundamental cause of the riots was "the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews consequent upon the disappointment of their political and national aspirations and fear for their economic future. ... The feeling as it exists today is based on the twofold fear of the Arabs that by Jewish immigration and land purchases they may be deprived of their livelihood and in time pass under the political domination of the Jews." See "Ad hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question, Communication from the United Kingdom Delegation to the United Nations," United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine, October 2, 1947.

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