Dr. Itamar Radai
"Jewish-Arab Relations in Jerusalem under the Mandate: A Reappraisal"
The relationship between Jews and Arabs in Mandatory Palestine was the subject of research from a political, economic, and sometime even social (mainly working relations) point of view. According to the existing research, this relationship was characterized by constant deterioration and repeated bursts of violence (1920, 1921, and 1929, 1936-1939, 1947-1948) that culminated in a horrendous war. Some regard the 1929 riots as a watershed in the conflict; others set it as early as the beginning of the 1920's, following the Balfour declaration (1917).
This research aims to challenge the subject from a new vantage point, which was so far mainly neglected in research, despite its centrality to understanding of the factors which promote or delay peace and tolerance: Social relations between Arabs and Jews, and its implications on mutual perceptions and inter-communal relations. Jerusalem was chosen as a test case due to its size and significance for communities, as well as its symbolic religious and national importance, and its "tradition" of tense Jewish-Arab relations. Alongside these traits, Jerusalem also demonstrated patterns of friendship, cooperation and sometime even comradeship between Arabs and Jews. My hypothesis, based on initial findings, claims that as opposed to the common held view, social relationship between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem under the Mandate were mostly stable throughout the period, except breaks in 1929 and during 1936-1939, after which came a recovery. To demonstrate it I will use a variety of sources: archival British, Zionist and Arab documents, Hebrew and Arabic press of the time, diaries and memoirs, alongside the existing research.