This week in Jewish history | Palestine Post building bombed by Palestinian terrorists - World Jewish Congress

This week in Jewish history | Palestine Post building bombed by Palestinian terrorists

This week in Jewish history | Palestine Post building bombed by Palestinian terrorists

Palestine Post building after being bombed by Palestinian terrorists (c) Jerusalem Post archives

On 1 February 1948, Palestinian terrorists bombed the building housing The Palestine Post (later known as The Jerusalem Post) killing three and wounding thirty.

The terrorists drove a stolen British police car loaded with explosive and pulled up to the front of the building. Moments later a second car arrived and one of its passengers lit the fuse before driving off. The bombing occurred at around 11 p.m.

The three-story building remained mostly intact, likely because it was built in 1933 following an earthquake, and the owner had invested in reinforced steel construction, according to historian Alexander Zvielli, who survived the attack. However, flying pieces of lead, shattered glass, and an ensuing fire resulted in subsequent casualties.

The attack took place several months after the United Nations had adopted the Partition Plan, and only months before Israel would declare itself an independent, sovereign state.

Reporting the day following the attack, a Haaretz political correspondent wrote that "the attack on The Palestine Post and its staff is viewed by Jews, Arabs and foreigners alike as a departure from the routine violence now taking place here, and is seen as being political in nature."

After taking care of the wounded, Zvielli, and other staff members who survived the explosion, met deputy editor Ted Lurie’s wife on Ben Yehuda Street, who gave them hugs and encouragement, before telling them “All right, we’re putting out a paper.” The newspaper was put out early in the morning the next day, albeit in an abridged format. By the end of the week the newspaper was functioning normally again.  

The terrorists behind the attack were never apprehended. Arab leader Abd al-Kadir al-Husseini claimed responsibility for the explosion, but some maintain that two deserters of the British army were also involved. According to historian Uri Milstein, the bomb was made by Nazi-trained Fawzi el-Kutub, who was known as "the engineer."

The attack would be one of many during the build-up to Israel’s War of Independence, when Arab nations rejected the establishment of a Jewish state and attacked it. 

While the nascent State of Israel would eventually win the war, it was not before thousands of Jewish soldiers and civilians were killed or injured.  The Palestinian Arabs failed to create their own state, and much of the territory allotted to them by the United Nations was occupied by Jordan and Egypt or incorporated into the Jewish State.