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Title: A history of violence: The shooting in Jerusalem of British Assistant Police Superintendent Alan Sigrist, 12 June 1936
Authors: Hughes, M
Keywords: Abu Gharbiyah;Counter-insurgency;Imperial policing;Minimum force;Sigrist;Torture
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Sage
Citation: Journal of Contemporary History, 45(4), 725 - 743, 2011
Abstract: This article provides a narrative of the shooting in Jerusalem by two Palestinian gunmen — Bahjat Abu Gharbiyah and Sami al-Ansari — in June 1936 during the Arab revolt in Palestine of a British police officer, Alan Edward Sigrist. Abu Gharbiyah and al-Ansari specifically targeted Sigrist because of his violence towards Palestinians — an issue that has not been discussed fully in the literature. This study measures, against the contemporary record, Abu Gharbiyah’s account of why he shot Sigrist, using the shooting as a case study to open up debates on the British use of official and unofficial violence to maintain colonial rule, alongside one on the response of local people to such violence. While recognizing the partisan nature of Abu Gharbiyah’s memory of events in Palestine, the article gives voice to the Palestinians, explaining how and why rebels fighting British rule and Jewish immigration to Palestine used violence. Following the analysis of the shooting of Sigrist, the article details more general torture by British forces as recalled by Abu Gharbiyah, setting this against the extant evidence to test the traditional notion that Britain used ‘minimum force’ in countering colonial disturbances, tying Sigrist’s behaviour to that of British troops and police in Palestine more generally. Thus, while the article is narrow in its focus it has broader implications for contemporary imperial and military history.
Description: Copyright @ 2010 The Author. This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published article is available from the link below.
ISSN: 0022-0094
Appears in Collections:Politics and International Relations
Dept of Social and Political Sciences Research Papers
Dept of Social and Political Sciences Research Papers

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