A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PALESTINE POLICE FORCE

 

(With grateful thanks to Edward Horne, Esq. B.E.M. ,who wrote the book, "A Job Well Done" and from which, with his kind permission, most of the brief history written below, has been taken.)

 

Former Police Headquarters - Jerusalem as at 1973

 The life span of the Palestine Police Force is brief when set against the long history of Palestine but is vivid and vibrant in the memories of those who served in that beautiful country.

On 9th. December, 1917 Jerusalem surrendered to British and Commonwealth Forces under the command of Sir H.H. Allenby, G.C.B.,G.C.M.G., and on the 11th December, 1917 Allenby entered Jerusalem by way of the Jaffa Gate. By November, 1918 the First World War had finished with the defeat of Germany and her allies, including Turkey, and the whole of Palestine had been conquered. The question of administering the conquered territory now arose.

Policing Jerusalem at first, fell to the Assistant Provost Marshall who was assisted by the Military Police. The A.P.M.'s Headquarters was set up in the compound of the Russian Buildings, later to become Police Headquarters, along the Jaffa Road.

Initially, the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (O.E.T.A.) was established and Palestine fell within the District known as O.E.T.A. (South).

With the formation of a Civil Government on 1st. July, 1920 the Palestine Police Force was born.

The first Police Commander was Lt. Col. P.B. Bramley, O.B.E., with the title of Director of Public Security and with the rank of Commandant of Police and Prisons. The police establishment at this time was 18 British Officers supported by 55 Palestinian Officers and 1,144 rank and file. The duties of the Police were described as:-

"Besides fulfilling the ordinary duties of a constabulary, such as the preservation of law and order and the prevention and detection of crime, act as their numbers will allow as escorts for the protection of tax collectors, serve summonses issued by the judicial authorities, distribute Government notices and escort Government treasure throughout the country."

There was at this time some question as to the authority of the police to 'Act as Police' as the Police Ordinance 1921 was not promulgated as law until eight months after the formation of the Force. This lack of legislative authority was not challenged in the courts.

 

A Portent of things to come.

A foretaste of what was to come occurred in 1920 during the feast of Nebi Musa when Jewish youths, nearly all recent arrivals from Europe, paraded in Jerusalem professing the wish for a Jewish Defence Arm. The demonstration was organised by Vladimir Jabotinsky, an immigrant, and his friends. Reaction by Arab religious leaders and their inflammatory speeches resulted in an attack on Jews by Arabs in the Old City of Jerusalem resulting in a number of fatalities and numerous casualties. As the Police were heavily outnumbered, the military was called in to restore law and order.

It seems that it was at about this time that the foundations of the Haganna, a Jewish Defence Organisation, were laid. In the Spring of 1921 the Police had a further serious clash with the public when two opposing political parties of Jews arranged demonstration marches on 1st. May near the seashore between Tel Aviv and neighbouring Jaffa. On meeting, the two parties began fighting with each other. This was at first observed with some amusement by Arab onlookers but on the arrival of mob leaders, the Arabs were incited to join in the fighting and a number of people were killed and injured before order was restored on the following day.

Following the return of peace to the Urban areas, some of the surrounding Jewish settlements were attacked by Arabs. It became apparent from these incidents that complete impartiality by Arab or Jewish police constables was almost impossible to attain, Arabs favouring Arab offenders and severely treating Jews while Jewish constables favoured Jews and treated Arabs with severity.

Following the retirement on the grounds of ill heath of Lt. Col. Bramley, O.B.E. in 1923, A.S.Mavrogordato, Esq., O.B.E., took over the duties of Commandant of Police. Mavrogardato had previously served in the Cyprus Police and in the Sierra Leone Police Force.

At this time the security forces in Palestine consisted of the Palestine Police Force, the Palestine Gendarmerie, the British Gendarmerie and some Military Units. These various Forces were commanded by Major General Sir H.Tudor, K.C.B., C.M.G. holding the title of Inspector General of Police and Prisons. On his retirement in 1924 the post was taken over by Mavrogardato who thus commanded the Police Force, the two Gendarmeries and some military units.

 

Disbandment of the Gendarmeries and incorporation into the Palestine Police

In 1926 the two Gendarmeries were disbanded, their members transferring to the British and Palestinian sections of the Palestine Police while most of the remainder joined a new Corps, the Transjordan Frontier Force.

In the early years of the Force many Arab gangs operated in the hill areas of Palestine, their numbers varying from five or six to sixty or more members. One such gang, its leader wanted for the murder of two Warrant Officers of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment clashed with Police in the Bab El Wad area. A pursuit by Police lasting almost a week resulted in the arrest of the gang leader who was tried and convicted in Jerusalem. Such gangs operated across Galilee, Samaria and Judea and also behind Jaffa and in the Carmel Hills.

The first six years of the Force can be described as a period of foundation and consolidation but the reality was that the Jews wanted Palestine as a Jewish State and the Arabs intended to resist that aim. In the middle, was a small Police Force, trying to keep them apart. In the early spring of 1926 the strength of the Police Force was 114 Officers and 1,334 Palestinian other ranks. On 1st . April, 1926 a new British section was formed consisting of five senior officers and 212 other ranks who had transferred from the British Gendamerie.

At first, the British section of the Force was rather that of a riot squad within the Police Force and their training was designed with this in mind. Most of them were barracked at Mount Scopus, the Mount of the Watch, where the accommodation consisted of a collection of old Army Nissen Huts left over from the 1914 - 1918 War. This was to become the Depot and Headquarters of the British Section of the Force. There were smaller detachments of about thirty men of the British section stationed at Sarafand, near Jaffa, at Nablus and at Haifa, the latter to deal with emergencies up to the northern frontier and being billeted at Bat Galim.

This force was reasonably mobile being supplied with 'T' model Ford tenders and was used for mobile patrols consisting of an N.C.O. and six constables. Gradually these patrols were extended to foot patrols. These patrols sometimes visited Jewish settlements in the district, checking armouries which would then be sealed and would only be opened in the event that the settlement was attacked.

By this time, numbers had been issued to the British section of the Force, Arabic symbols being worn on the right and English symbols on the left. It may be of interest that the British Police Officer bearing the number "1" was an ex-Gendarmerie man, one Sergeant Ham.

On 11th. July, 1927 a severe earthquake occurred, many fine buildings in Jerusalem, including the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, being damaged. Nablus was worst hit and the village of Renah in Galilee was completely obliterated. The Police performed tasks of rescue work during this catastrophe receiving much praise for their efforts.

In the meantime, Haifa was growing into a large town, and became the centre for a large number of Jewish settlements. Nablus, ancient Shechem, was slower to develop being situated in the Samarian mountains which restricted expansion.

The period 1926 to 1929 was relatively peaceful and in 1928 the strength of the Police Force was reported as 114 officers and 1,334 other ranks plus five officers and 195 other ranks in the British section, the latter being mainly stationed at Mount Scopus with detachments consisting of one officer and 35 other ranks at Jaffa, Nablus and Haifa.

 

Bethlehem Town Police Station Circa 1941

 

The Wailing Wall

The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem has always been a source of potential trouble between Jews and Arabs. It is all that is left of the third temple built by King Herod the Great and destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. It is on the site of the western boundary of the Jewish temple built by King Solomon and is thus holy to the Jews. This area is also holy to Moslems as it is from this place that Mohammed is claimed to have ascended to Heaven upon El Buraq, his white horse.

While the Wall has been accepted as Moslem property by Jews and Moslems alike, it has been the custom for Jews to pray there freely. The Wall formed a boundary of the Haram esh Sharaf area, holy to the Moslems within which was the Mosque of Aksar and the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock.

Certain rules were understood by Jews and Arabs alike and incidents arose when these rules were infringed upon, sometimes with deliberate intent to cause trouble. When Moslems wanted to remove weeds from' their' Wall, Jews protested and when Jews attempted to place seats or screens near the Wall, Moslems protested.

On 24th. September, 1928, The Day of Atonement, an unpleasant incident was avoided when Police were ordered to remove screens which had been placed against the Wall by Jews. The authorities were attacked in the Press for their actions which had almost certainly prevented an incident from occurring.

 

The Hebron Incident

However, further incidents occurred which in August, 1929 led to rioting and conflict between Arabs and Jews. Tension between the two communities increased and in late August, 1929 a serious incident occurred in Hebron, El Khalil to the Arabs, and revered by both Arabs and Jews as being the resting place of Abraham. There was a community of 750 Jews at Hebron and the senior police officer was Assistant Superintendent Raymond Caffarata. Caffarata had a number of Arab police under his command but their dependability was suspect in inter racial conflict and sensing trouble, Caffarata sent to Jerusalem for British reinforcements.

His request was at first refused but a large party of Arabs invaded the Jewish quarter and began to murder any Jews they found. While some Arab police were reluctant to take action against their countrymen some Arab police did give shelter to Jews and Cafferata, by heroic actions, managed to protect and save some 700 Jews. In the meantime a small party of British Police, six in number, braved sniper fire and eventually managed to lift the siege of Hebron. Caffarata was later awarded the King's Police Medal for Gallantry. During the remainder of the British Mandate no Jews settled in Hebron. Alan Saunders, the Acting Commandant in the absence of his superior in Britain, was awarded the King's Police Medal for Meritorious Service.

There were outbreaks of violence in Nablus where in the absence of Jews, the Arabs attacked the police but the mobs were dispersed by gunfire. There was also trouble in Haifa, Jaffa and southern Galilee but law and order was soon restored and naval reinforcements from H.M.S. Barham and H.M.S Courageous which had raced to Haifa, helped to settle things down. There was one final tragedy at Safad where in spite of police efforts to protect them, a number of Jews were killed by Arabs.

By the time things had settled down casualties were 138 Jews killed and 399 wounded. 110 Arabs were killed and 232 wounded plus a further six who were killed by Jews.

 

The Gallant 120

During this troubled period, just 120 British Police Officers had prevented the country from descending into a state of anarchy and chaos.

A commemorative shield and medals were issued to the British Section in Jerusalem. the shield now being in the possession of a member of the Palestine Police Old Comrades Association.

In the aftermath of these riots, 100 ex members of the Brigade of Guards were recruited to the British section of the Force. On 8th. May, 1931 Mavrogordato left the Force and Alan Saunders became Acting Commandant pending the arrival of R.G.B. Spicer Esq., C.M.G., M.C.,who had been Commissioner of Police in Kenya. Spicer took up his duties on 16th. July, 1931 and adopted the title of Inspector General of Police.

Spicer set about to impose his personality on the Force and aimed for very high standards in everything he did and found. He could be ruthless and outspoken in attaining his ends. He propagated the idea that senior Colonial Police Officers should be recruited from the ranks of the British section and in fact, between 1933 and 1939 about 100 members of the British Section left to take up senior police appointments in other parts of the British Empire. He integrated the British section into the mainstream activities of the Force and British Police Officers began to serve in Police Stations and to carry out police duties as such.

Watch over the Jordan

In June, 1933 the first issue of the Palestine Police magazine was issued and thereafter was published monthly until the Arab Rebellion of 1938 curtailed publication to once a quarter. The magazine ended in 1942 due to a wartime paper shortage and reappeared for one year only in 1947.

In the autumn of 1933 Jewish immigration to Palestine increased, much to the anger of the Arabs and on 13th. October, 1933 a "peaceful" procession in protest at Jewish settlement was arranged to take place in Jerusalem. The procession rapidly deteriorated into a riot and was followed in Jaffa by further rioting on 27th. October. Both riots were suppressed, the latter by the use of mounted police and baton charges and also by the use of gun fire. Further disturbances took place in Haifa and Nablus and finally, once more in Jerusalem before things settled down.

In December, 1935, Alan Saunders, the Deputy Inspector General transferred on promotion to Nigeria but later, in 1937, returned to Palestine as Inspector General of Police.

 

The Arab Troubles

The years 1936 to 1939 saw the period of "The Arab Troubles" as the disturbances came to be known. The basic causes appear to have been the increasing and steady flow of European Jews into Palestine and apparent British indifference to Arab protests. The flash point of the disturbances seems to have occurred on 15th. April, 1936 when two Jews were murdered by Arab bandits on the Tulkarm-Nablus Road, an Arab area. Events escalated and on the following day two Arabs were murdered by Jews near Petah Tiqva. Some Arabs visiting Tel Aviv were attacked and this led to Arab mobs attacking Jews.

In Nablus the Arabs formed a 'National Committee' and declared a general strike. Similar 'Committees ' were formed in most Arab cities and in the larger towns. The Supreme Arab Committee endorsed the decision to strike until such time as the British Government changed its policy regarding Jewish immigration. They also sought an absolute prohibition of the transfer of Arab land to Jews.

On 18th. May, 1936 a further schedule of 4,500 Jewish immigrants had been approved and the threatened Arab strike took place. Some Jews were assaulted and the crops of some Jewish settlements were burned. On 28th. May, 1936 a British Constable was murdered by four armed Arabs in Jerusalem and on 12th. June an Assistant Superintendent of Police and a British constable were ambushed and shot at by Arabs in the Old City, the A.S.P. being wounded. Police Officers in Haifa were shot at and one Arab Detective Inspector was killed, a number of others being wounded.

Violent incidents increased, Arabs resorting to sniping, bombing and mine laying, a favourite target being the Palestine Railway system. A number of Arab leaders were arrested and detained at Auja el Hafr in the Neqeb desert near the Egyptian border and Emergency Regulations were published providing the death sentence or life imprisonment for shooting at a member of H.M.Forces or a member of the Police Force. Provisions were also made for the demolition of houses used for shootings or bombings.

A favourite Arab tactic was the ambush. On rounding a bend on a narrow mountain track, the security forces would find themselves stopped by a rock barrier across the road or track usually placed where it was impossible for their vehicle to turn. If they could turn and return the way they had come another hastily erected road block would be found barring their way. On attempting to remove one or other of the barriers, the patrol party would be subjected to sniper fire. Such patrols were armed with Lewis Guns and would return fire while the road block was removed.

 

The Diehards

Many such ambushes took place and probably the worst disaster for the police during the Arab troubles took place on 9th. September, 1936 when four British constables were ambushed near Rosh Pina in Galilee and were killed by an Arab gang estimated at about 70 strong. The police had been lured to the spot by a report that a Jewish vehicle had been ambushed there and although heavily outnumbered, defended themselves with great valour to the last man.

Acre Police Station was attacked during this period but was successfully defended and many other engagements took place. During July and August, 1936 road blocks and ambushes numbered some five per day.On 29th. July, 1936 a Royal Commission was formed to investigate Palestine's problems but did not arrive in Jerusalem until 11th. November.

On 10th. October, 1936 The High Committee called off the strike mainly due to the intercession of four Arab Sovereigns. The British Government announced that Jewish immigration would continue during the Royal Commission's enquiry and this resulted in the Arab High Committee boycotting the enquiry.

However, following the calling off of the strike things began to return to normal and the remainder of the year was fairly quiet. No British Policemen were killed in the lull between January, 1937 and July of that year.

 

Port and Marine. Motor Launch 1145. Circa April 1946

 

A recommendation for Partition

In July, 1937 the Royal Commission published their findings which included a recommendation that the partition of Palestine be considered, a recommendation that found no favour with either Arabs or Jews.

On 26th. September, 1937 the District Commissioner for Galilee and his bodyguard, a British Constable, were shot down by Arabs while leaving a church service in Nazareth. The authorities reacted but not very effectively and among other measures the Mufti of Jerusalem was deprived of his office in the Supreme Moslem Council. The Mufti took refuge in the Haremesh Sharif area in Jerusalem but disguised as a woman, managed to escape to Damascus.

From Damascus the Mufti recruited reliable subordinates to lead the Arabs. Probably one of the best commanders on the Arab side was the Arab Overall Field Commander, Fawzi ed Din Kauwakji. He divided Palestine into subordinate commands, Abdul Khallik being in command of north east Galilee where he and his gang caused tremendous damage and loss of life. Around Jenin, Yusuf Said abu Dorreh was paramount and he preyed upon local Arabs and resorted to torture and death to attain his ends. Near Tulkarm,Abdul Rahim el Haj Mohammed emerged as a leader. He was a very religious man, devoted to the Arab cause and an implacable enemy of Zionism. There were many other leaders and in some cases the various gangs broke up into independent sections, their numbers being augmented by volunteers from Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

The various gangs attacked Jewish settlements and blocked roadways and caused police to abandon small police posts which were then burned down.

In some evacuated areas so-called provisional Arab Governments were set up, imposed their own taxes and even issued their own stamps. On 8th. October, 1938 Jenin police station was attacked but the tiny police garrison managed to hold out until relieved by the Army. Jericho was evacuated and the police station was burned to the ground and while Ramallah was held, the surrounding countryside was dominated and ruled by its local gang. Jerusalem, Beersheba and Gaza came under gang rule but Nablus, Acre and Nazereth were held.

From the autumn of 1937 and through 1938 terrorist bombings increased and every day Arabs and Jews were killed and maimed indiscriminately. Railways were attacked as were Jewish settlements and the Iraq Petroleum Company's pipeline to Haifa was blown up every week. The Jewish settlements managed to defend themselves by the use of illegally obtained rifles although they were officially only allowed the use of Greener guns, a weapon useless for long distance fire. At this time there were two Divisions of the British Army in Palestine and slowly the security forces regained the initiative.

It was decided in Damascus that for political reasons the Fez or Tarbush should not be worn as headgear and in rural areas the traditional Arab head dress of headcloth and cords or Hatta wa Aqal was worn. Anyone wearing a Fez was likely to be assaulted and this practice became known to Police as "Fez bashing."

In November, 1937 Alan Saunders returned from Nigeria to command the Force in place of Spicer and at this time it was announced that the High Commissioner was leaving and that his replacement was Sir Harold MacMichael, K.C.M.G., D.S.O.

Throughout 1938 the disturbances continued and there were many instances of heroism and disasters but out of this grim period was born a sense of binding comradeship which is today, some fifty years after the standdown of the Force, reflected in the unique and select Palestine Police Old Comrades Association.

On 15th. October, 1938 the Old City of Jerusalem was taken over by the rebel Arabs and the gates were barricaded but shortly afterwards the City was recaptured by units of the Coldstream Guards and the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers guided and supported by members of the Palestine Police. Particular care was taken to cause no damage to the Holy places inside the Old City.

In 1939 there were signs of a break in the resolution to carry on with the revolt and a number of Arab leaders were captured or killed or returned to Syria and slowly the Arab Troubles came to an end. There were attempts by the Jews now, to work off old scores against the Arabs and their newly formed military wing, The Irgun Zvai Leumi (The National Military organisation) made several bomb attacks on Arabs. These attacks were eventually contained but were an omen of what was to come.

 

The Tegarts

On 21st. October, 1938, Sir Charles Tegart, K.C.I.E., M.V.O., arrived in Palestine to advise the Inspector General on matters of security. In due course he advised the construction of a large number of reinforced concrete police stations and posts which could be defended against attack and the construction of a Frontier fence along the northern border to control the movement of insurgents, goods and weapons.

His recommendations were accepted and something like fifty new Police forts or "Tegarts" as they came to be known were built throughout Palestine.

 

World War II

With the outbreak of World War II a large number of British members of the Force, many of whom were ex soldiers, wished to rejoin the colours.

The Inspector General of Police, while fully appreciating the feelings of his men, could not afford to denude the Force of large numbers of experienced police officers. Arab leaders pledged Arab loyalty to H.M.Government when war was declared upon Germany but German propaganda pointed out that there would be no Jewish problem in the event of a German victory. In these circumstances, the police force in Palestine could not be allowed to be run down and certain measures were taken to prevent this.

A number of officers, however, were determined to join H.M.Forces and refused to continue service in the Police Force. Some of those who took this action were arrested and charged and sentenced to three weeks imprisonment but thought it worthwhile to be able to join the Army on completion of their sentences. This practice was eventually prevented by heavier prison sentences but it is thought that better management could have prevented this episode which caused incalculable harm to the morale of the British section of the Force.

On 27th May, 1942 the Police became a military force liable to be employed on military duties in the defence of Palestine and some police officers became involved in military operations in Syria and Iraq. Eventually the war moved away from the Middle East and the police settled down to the business of policing.

 

Kishli. Jurusalem as at 1973

The Jewish Troubles

There were many Jewish political parties in Palestine during the period of the mandate but they can be classified into five main groups. There were two non Zionist parties, one of extreme religious views devoted to maintaining a strong religious life in Palestine and the other, a collection of small communist parties and neither of these two parties concerned themselves with Zionist aims and in fact, the latter party contained some Arab members.

The remainder were all Zionist parties and were dominated by the Labour Party known as Mifliget Poalei Eretz Israel or M.A.P.A.I. which was socialist and strongly Zionist. Slightly to the right of them was the Mizrachi movement, also Zionist but more religious. On the extreme right were the Revisionists or New Zionist Organisation.

There was a further ethnic division among the Jews themselves. There were the Shephardim or People of the Book, mainly originating in the Mediterranean countries and the Ashkenazim Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. The Koran contains a mandate to protect the Shephardim or People of the Book.

There was no great pressure upon the Shephardim to emigrate to Palestine but their cousins, the Ashkenazim suffered persecution and pogroms and were herded into ghettos in Eastern Europe and it is among this group that the greatest longing to return to Zion occurred although both groups regarded themselves as Jewish as each other.

It was to the Ashkenazim group that Theodore Hertzl directed his conception of political Zionism and it is from this group that almost all the Jews who arrived in Palestine prior to 1939 belonged.

On 14th. August, 1929 a Jewish Agency was established, ostensibly to assist the Government in Jewish matters but it soon came to be regarded as de facto Jewish government.

Hertzl had conceived of a Jewish nation extending from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates and when Britain set up the state of Transjordan many Zionists became angry. Vladimir Jabotinsky, mentioned at the beginning of this short history, sought to reverse this decision and formed the New Zionist Organisation. This organisation became a spearhead of activists for the remainder of the British stay in Palestine.

Jewish settlements had a system of guards which was necessary to defend their settlements against marauding Arab bedouin and this system developed into the Haganna (Defence). During the Arab troubles when it sometimes took the authorities several days to come to the aid of a settlement the Haganna acquired arms to defend themselves. These arms were deemed to be illegal and consequently were hidden away from the authorities. The Haganna was never a legal force but was tolerated by the Government as it was recognised that Jews had a right to defend themselves.

It is thought that in 1939 the Haganna had a strength of at least 10,000 with arms for half that number. By 1946 it is reckoned that its strength stood at about 75,000 with a spearhead of about 3,000 called Palmach their strength having been augmented by men trained by the British. Jabotinsky, however, realised that he could never rely upon the Haganna to attain his political aims so he formed his own military arm called the Irgun Zvai Leumi (I.Z.L.) or National Military Organisation. In the meantime, one Abraham Stern, who was even more extreme than Jabotinsky, adopted a mission against the Government of Palestine whom he blamed for not doing more to admit as many Jews as possible to Palestine. Unhampered by thoughts of Arab rights or British responsibilities he gathered around himself about forty young men and formed the Stern Gang, later called the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel.

Deterioration in Anglo-Jewish relations stemmed from the publication of the MacDonald White Paper on Palestine in 1939 which stated that 75,000 Jews per annum would be allowed to immigrate to Palestine for the next five years after which it would stop. Jewish reaction was understandable and all Zionist parties opposed what they saw as an injustice.

As early as 1938 the Stern Gang had taken to leaving bombs in market places with the intent to kill as many Arabs as possible and many women and children were victims to these bombs. On 11th. April, 1938 a British Police Sergeant and a British Constable were killed when trying to remove a bomb from a train crowded with Arabs in Haifa. These actions by the Stern Gang were abhorrent to the Jewish community. The Stern Gang, being short of money and weapons and having been rebuffed by the Haganna in a request for them took to raiding banks. In late 1941 it was discovered that the Gang had accepted money from the Italian Government, with whom their people were at war, in order to buy weapons and start a campaign against the Government of Palestine.

Jabotinsky died in 1940 and leadership of the I.Z.L. was taken over by David Raziel who in the confused events of the time was killed in 1941 in the Iraqi campaign fighting alongside British soldiers. Leadership of the Irgun was taken over by Menachem Begin.

Stern began his campaign in November, 1941 with the assassination of a Jewish Detective Constable and in 1942 a bank official carrying 1,000 UK pounds was attacked. The robbers were arrested but opened fire on police and in the process killed two innocent Jewish bystanders. A Stern Gang ambush killed a Jewish Deputy Superintendent of Police and after further incidents, Stern himself was arrested on 12th.February, 1942 but was later killed when attempting to escape. Stern became a martyr and the strength of the Stern Gang increased to about 100.

1942 was on the whole fairly quiet. The Criminal Investigation Department of the Palestine Police considered that the autumn of 1943 would see the opening of a terrorist campaign and sure enough on 31st. October, 1943 the terrorists engineered the escape of nineteen Stern Gang members from custody. On the night of 15th/16th. November, 1943 a remote police post at Givat Olga on the coast between Hadera and Nathanya was attacked and damaged although there were no police casualties. Tracker dogs led police to a nearby Jewish settlement where the inhabitants, augmented by bus loads of Jews from nearby Tel Aviv, attended by newspaper reporters and with the support of the Zionist Organisations decided to make a public spectacle of the affair.

While the police showed admirable restraint the Jewish press went into a paroxysm of anger over the incident leaving the observer with the feeling that terrorists had the right to attack government property but that no Jewish community should be subjected to investigation even after such an attack. It became obvious that if terrorism was to be crushed, it would have to be done without Jewish support.

This incident was followed by rioting in Tel Aviv and 1944 opened with an attack on the Department of Immigration Building by elements of the Stern Gang on 12th. February. Four days later two British police officers were murdered in Haifa and on 23rd. March Police Headquarters in the Russian Compound at Jerusalem was attacked by Stern Gang terrorists, an Assistant Superintendent of Police being killed and considerable damage being caused.

During the years from1944 to1948 incidents of Murder, arson, kidnappings, bombings of Police Stations and other Government Buildings continued but are far too numerous to be listed here in their entirety. In fact, between 1942 and 1946 over 4,000 terrorist attacks were recorded. Some of the worse incidents were the Murder of Lord Moyne, the British Resident minister of State in Cairo who was assassinated by elements of the Stern Gang and on 22nd.July,1946 the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, part of which was being used to house several departments of the secretariat and other Government Offices, was blown up by members of the I.Z.L. and 91 men and women lost their lives about a third of them being Jews.

On 18th. February, 1947, the British Government announced that the whole problem of Palestine would be placed before the United Nations and a partition plan was proposed for Palestine. On 11th. December, 1947 H.M.Government announced that it would evacuate Palestine on 15th, May, 1948. On15th. December, 1947 all British personnel were withdrawn from Tel Aviv, Petah Tiqva and Jaffa and on 15th. May, 1948 the mandate formally came to an end.

A small British enclave would continue around Haifa docks until 1st. August, 1948 to enable stores and vital property to be evacuated and was protected by a small contingent of British troops and 500 policemen.

Thus, the British Mandate to govern Palestine ended.

 The history of the Palestine Police Force is set out in the book, "A Job Well Done" written by Edward Horne, Esq., B.E.M. and the title of the book is taken from an address by His Majesty King George VI on 20th. July, 1948 to members of the British Section of the Palestine Police who paraded at Buckingham Palace prior to a final "Stand Down" when His Majesty was moved to say, "You can look back on a job well done." The book was first published in 1982 (ISBN 0 9508367 12) and was printed by the Anchor Press Ltd..

 Among the dedications is one to the memory of all those British, Arab and Jewish Police Officers who for one reason or another lost their lives in the service of the Palestine Police Force. 1920 - 1948.

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