The role of the Bedouin in the Great Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936–1939

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This article focuses on the Bedouins’ part in the Great Arab Revolt in Palestine–during the time of the British mandate; what motivated some clans/tribes to join a given side, and why others chose to remain neutral–and it also refers to the later implications of these different choices. The article briefly overviews the social and political developments that led to the Revolt, explains the unique status of the Bedouin within the Arabic-speaking population in the area, and describes the internal diversity among Bedouin groups and the different alliances they made with the British Mandatory authorities and with other segments of the population. The article refers to the development and extension of Arab nationalism, its impact on political developments in the area, and the violent outbursts of 1936–1939 resulting from the above-mentioned factors. Rather than presenting an overview of the Arab Revolt and its general historical impact, it focuses on the involvement of the Bedouin in certain incidents or Events, and explains the reasons why some Bedouin groups chose to join a specific side, while other Bedouin groups chose to refrain, an aspect that has not been investigated in depth until now. It explains the diversity among the Bedouin and the reasons why they have no set political views and behavioral patterns; as a result, each Bedouin group/tribe adopted a policy that suited its particular interests. This article lists and describes the Events in which specific Bedouin groups were involved, in their historical order, and provides information regarding the militia groups founded or joined by the Bedouin: their areas of operation, the details of their commanding officers, tribal affiliation and alliances, relations between specific Bedouin tribes and other segments of the population: the Arabs in Palestine (both the urban and rural sectors), the Christian population, the Jewish population and the British authorities, and how these relationships affected the actions and political views of various Bedouin groups. In retrospect, it seems that ties and alliances formed between the various Bedouin groups and other components of the population during the era of the Ottoman regime affected the political position adopted by these groups at the time, positions that later determined the civil status of the Bedouin in modern Israel.




Suwaed, M. (2020). The role of the Bedouin in the Great Arab Revolt in Palestine, 1936–1939. Middle Eastern Studies, 57(1), 72–89.

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