Palin Report

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Extract from the Palin Report [FO 371/5121, E 9373, Enquiry into Rioting in Jerusalem in April 1920]. Huneidi, p.302.


69. The following are the considered opinions submitted by the Court:

1. That the causes of the alienation and exasperation of the feelings of the population of Palestine are:-

(a) Disappointment at the non-fulfilment of promises made to them by British propaganda.
(b) Inability to reconcile the Allies' declared policy of self-determination with the Balfour Declaration, giving rise to a sense of betrayal and intense anxiety for their future.
(c) Misapprehension of the true meaning of the Balfour Declaration and forgetfulness of the guarantees determined therein, due to the loose rhetoric of politicians and the exaggerated statements and writings of interested persons, chiefly Zionists.
(d) Fear of Jewish competition and domination, justified by experience and the apparent control exercised by the Zionists over the Administration.
(e) Zionist indiscretion and aggression, since the Balfour Declaration aggravating such fears.
(f) Anti-British and anti-Zionist propaganda working on the population already inflamed by the sources of irritation aforesaid.

2. That the Zionist Commission and the official Zionists by their impatience, indiscretion and attempts to force the hands of the Administration, are largely responsible for the present crisis.

3. That the Administration prior to the riots on the whole maintained under difficult circumstances an attitude of equal justice to all parties and that the allegations of bias put forward by both sides, Arab and Zionist, are unfounded.

4. That the Administration was considerably hampered in its policy by the direct interference of the Home Authorities, and particularly by the fact that the late Chief Political Officer, Colonel Meinertzhagen, acted as a direct channel of communication with the Foreign Office independent of the High Commissioner and submitted to the Foreign Office, advice, not only independent of the High Commissioner, but at times contrary to the latter's considered opinion.

5. That the non-publication of the Foreign Office declaration of policy, though rejected for serious reasons, was an error.

6. That although the deliberation over a policy of accepting the Emir Feisal as titular King of Palestine might have aggravated the local situation, had it become publicly known, there is not sufficient evidence to show whether it did so become known to other than the Zionists, who undoubtedly were alarmed at it.

7. That the Military Governorate of Jerusalem failed to make adequate preparations for a possible disturbance at the Nebi Musa Pilgrimage in spite of the receipt of warnings and ample knowledge of the situation, such failure being probably due to over confidence induced by the success of the police authorities in handling earlier demonstrations.

8. That in spite of the prohibition of political demonstrations no definite instructions were issued by the Military Governorate to the police to prevent the delivery of inflammatory speeches on the occasion of the Nebi Musa pilgrimage.

9. That the decision to withdraw the troops from inside the city at 6 a.m. on Monday, April 5, whoever was responsible for it, was an error of judgment.

10. That the Military were slow in obtaining full control of the city after Martial Law had been proclaimed.

11. That the situation at present obtaining in Palestine is exceedingly dangerous and demands firm and patient handling if a serious catastrophe is to be avoided.

(Signed) P. C. Palin, Major General, President, G. H. Wildblood, Brigadier General, Member, C. Vaughan Edwards, Lieutenant Colonel, Member, A. L. McBarnet, Judge Courts of Appeal, Egypt, Legal Adviser, Port Said. 1st July, 1920.


  • Huneidi, Sahar "A Broken Trust, Herbert Samuel, Zionism and the Palestinians". 2001.