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Law and Order in Palestine before 1948 (Nakba), British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine: Volume II - Page 581. Chapter XV
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Posted on October 28, 2007
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British Mandate: A Survey of Palestine
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Since the British occupation, there have been but few intervals when the problem of internal security has not been a major preoccupation of the Administration of Palestine. This will no doubt have been apparent from the sad chronicle of events in chapter II. What will not necessarily emerge from that record is the continuing need, over the quarter of a century covered , of extensive measures not only to deal with actual disruptions of public security but also as precautions against threats to it and equally the need to provide for the day to day maintenance of law and order. It should be made clear from the outset that this note deals solely with the protection of the citizen from internal disorders of varying kind and degree; the external protection of the country has been a matter for His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. At the same time, the point should not be overlooked that world politics, notably the reflection of Italian colonial ambitions and German trouble-making, have had a disturbing effect in relation to the maintenance of public security in Palestine.

2. In his report on the administration of Palestine, 1920-1925 (Colonial No. 15), Lord Samuel wrote:-

"The first of all the conditions necessary for the welfare of any country is public security. Palestine is a small territory, but it is broken up by hills and mountains, over a greater part of its area, into rocky slopes and valleys, difficult of access. Its frontiers to the north and east are open at. almost any point. The country as a whole is thinly populated; the majority of the people are illiterate, placid, and, as a ru1e, easily led by men in whom they place confidence; they are prone to fierce personal and family quarrels, and, like other Oriental peoples, are occasionally liable to be swept by passion or panic into excitement and unreasoning violence. Strangely credulous as they often are, the most improbable and unfounded stories may find a. ready acceptance and give rise to sudden riots. Here and there. . are to be found individuals who are attracted by the adventure and the profit of a life of brigandage; some of these develop into dangerous criminals".

3. This quotation, touching on the characteristics of the country and its people at the beginning of the mandatory administration, indicates the initial difficulties which had to be faced in bringing into being a system of policing and of justice. The situation was