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Clash of Worlds : Britain and Palestine Part 6 **

Orde Wingate Square in Jerusalem's Talbiya neighbourhood. Photo:Yoninah

Clash of Worlds : Britain and Palestine Part 6

Part 6 of “Clash of Worlds” Britain and Palestine deals with Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, Charles Tegart, and Orde Charles Wingate.


Izz ad-Din al-Qassam – عز الدين بن عبد القادر بن مصطفى بن يوسف بن محمد القسام

Izz ad-Din Abd al-Qadar ibn Mustafa ibn Yusuf ibn Muhammad al-Qassam (1882 – 1935)  was a Syrian Muslim preacher, and a leader in the local struggles against British and French Mandatory rule in the Levant, and a militant opponent of Zionism in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1930  al-Qassam had recruited numerous hand-picked followers and organized them into about a dozen different circles.The guerrilla bands became known as the Black Hand, an anti-Zionist and anti-British militant organization. By 1935, al-Qassam had recruited several hundred men—the figures range from 200 to 800—organized in cells of five men, and arranged military training for peasants. The cells were equipped with bombs and firearms, which they used to raid Jewish settlements and sabotage British-constructed rail lines. The British police manhunt eventually surrounded al-Qassam in a cave near Ya’bad, in the village of Sheikh Zeid. In the long ensuing firefight, al-Qassam and three of his followers were killed on 20 November.



Izz ad-Din al-Qassam
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam – Public Domain

To the surprise of the Palestine Police Force, al-Qassam’s funeral attracted at least 3,000 mourners. His coffin and those of his slain comrades were draped in the flags of Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, the only three independent Arab countries at the time. In reaction to al-Qassam’s death, strikes were held in Haifa and several Palestinian and Syrian cities. Al-Qassam is buried at the Muslim cemetery at the former Palestinian village of Balad al-Sheikh, now Nesher, a Jewish suburb of Haifa.

Al-Qassam's grave in Balad al-Sheikh now Nesher, 2010 Photo: Tiamut
Al-Qassam’s grave in Balad al-Sheikh now Nesher, 2010
Photo: Tiamut


Palestine Narative of  the Legacy of Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam (“Al Jazeera” pro-Palestinian propaganda)

The Qassam rockets are named after Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.


Sir Charles Augustus Tegart (1881 – 6 April 1946) was a British colonial police officer in India and Mandatory Palestine. He has variously earned praise for his industry and efficiency. He advised the construction of 77 reinforced concrete police stations and posts which could be defended against attack, and of a frontier fence along the northern border of Palestine to control the movement of insurgents, goods and weapons. His recommendations were accepted and 62 new “Tegart Forts“.

Charles_Tegart Photo: תמר הירדני
Photo: תמר הירדני

Orde Wingate

Orde Charles Wingate (26 February 1903 – 24 March 1944) was a senior British Army officer. In 1936, Wingate was assigned to a staff officer position in the British Mandate of Palestine, and became an intelligence officer. From his arrival he saw the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine as being a religious duty, and immediately put himself into absolute alliance with Jewish political leaders.

Orde Wingate in Palestine
Orde Wingate in Palestine – Public Domain

He formulated the idea of raising small assault units of British-led Jewish commandos armed with grenades and light infantry small arms to combat the Arab revolt. In June 1938, he created the Special Night Squads, armed groups formed of British and Haganah volunteers. The Jewish Agency helped pay salaries and other costs of the Haganah personnel.

Wingate trained, commanded and accompanied them on their patrols. The units frequently ambushed Arab saboteurs who attacked oil pipelines of the Iraq Petroleum Company, raiding border villages the attackers had used as bases. In these raids, Wingate’s men sometimes imposed severe collective punishments on the villagers, which was criticised by Zionist leaders as well as Wingate’s British superiors.

In May 1939, he was transferred to Britain. Wingate became a hero of the Yishuv (the Jewish Community), and was loved by leaders such as Zvi Brenner and Moshe Dayan, who had trained under him and who claimed that Wingate had “taught us everything we know.”

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