In 1936 the Holy Land erupted in rebellion against both the local Jewish population and the British Mandate authorities. The Arab Revolt would last three years, cost thousands of lives, and cast the trajectory for the Middle East conflict ever since. Incredibly, no general history of this seminal first Intifada has ever been published.
The revolt was the crucible in which Palestinian identity coalesced, uniting Arab society against a common foe. Yet it would ultimately turn on itself, shredding the social fabric, sidelining pragmatists, and propelling waves of refugees.
The Jews had a starkly different experience. It was then Zionist leaders abandoned illusions over Arab acquiescence to their enterprise. Thousands of Jews were trained and armed by Britain, turning their ramshackle guard units into the seed of a Jewish army. And it was then, as Hitler menaced Europe, that words like “partition” and “Jewish state” first appeared on the international agenda. Based on archival research on three continents, Palestine 1936 weaves history through extraordinary individuals on all sides: their love and hatreds, deepest fears, and profound hopes.