Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Coverage of Sports News in Al-Difa’ 1934 – 1948

Issam Khalidi

      Anyone interested in elevating Palestinian journalism cannot possibly ignore the enormous heritage that Palestinian journalists have left, which is nowadays sadly collecting dust, if not being eaten by moths in some distant archives. The history of Palestinian journalism is as rich as it is diverse.[1] Although there are no fully reliable circulation figures for any Middle Eastern country for this period [British Mandate], the press obviously grew and expanded in direct relation to the expansion of literacy and education. In spite of its relatively small population, Palestine supported a remarkable number of newspapers and other periodical. Many were ephemeral or had a restricted number of readers, although the audience for a newspaper was often larger than might be imagined, and often considerably higher than the number of subscribers, because newspaper were commonly read out loud in homes, coffee shop, and other private and public gathering places, and were passed from hand to hand. The number of newspapers and periodicals established in Palestine from World War I to the end of the Mandate was striking: it totaled 200, with 48 founded by 1929, 85 in the 1930’s, and 67 between 1940 and 1948.[2] Palestinian journalism became the primary mechanism for developing a Palestinian narrative with which to address the Arab world. Testament to this is the fact that, with over 50 thousand issues per day, the leading Palestinian newspaper of the 1940s, Al-Difa’, was second only to Al-Ahram in its outreach to the Arab world.[3]

During the British Mandate in Palestine many national newspapers expressed national sentiments against the British Mandate and Jewish immigration. These included al-Karmel established in 1908 by Najeeb Nassar, Filastin in 1911 by Issa al-Issa, and Al-Difa’ in 1934 by Ibrahim al-Shanti. These newspapers were the pioneers of sports journalism in Palestine. Sports pages in contemporary Palestinian newspapers are an extension of sports columns in these widespread newspapers.

   Examining these newspapers we learn that prior to 1948 there were about 65 social athletic clubs in Palestine. About 55 of them were members of the Arab Palestine Sports Federation (APSF) which included athletic clubs from all over Palestine.[4] These newspapers are historical documents which refute the Zionist claim that the Palestinians lacked any cultural, social or athletic aspect; that the Zionists populated the region, and graced it with civilization and modernization, and brought sports and culture to the primitive people who had hitherto known nothing of either of these refinements.

Sports were inseparable from the political processes that swept Palestine after WWI until 1948. It was an element of Palestinian culture. Throughout its different stages it played a role in shaping national consciousness, and maintaining the Palestinian national identity.[5] Since its founding, Al-Difa’ took a harsh position against Zionism and Jewish immigration into Palestine. Its emergence coincided with  numerous Zionist attempts to dominate every aspect of life including sports. It came three years after the founding of the Arab PSF in 1931. Different from Filastin, Al-Difa’ emerged - in 1934 - when sports were in the process of growth and institutionalization.[6]

  This essay examines sports news in Al-Difa', and demonstrates the link between sports media and political conditions in Palestine from 1934 until 1948.

   Efforts to dominate athletics, marginalize the Arabs, and cultivate cooperation with the British at any price were the main traits that characterized Zionist involvement in sports.[7] In 1928, Palestine Football Association PFA was established by Jews British and Arabs, and continued to be dominated by the Jews. [8] It’s the Zionist domination that sparked the initial creation of the Arab Palestinian Sports Federation (APSF) in 1931 with Palestinians unwilling to legitimize Zionist colonization or serve as a fig leaf for a Zionist dominated institution. The APSF was founded at a time when the Palestinian national movement had to grapple with the fact that its traditional leadership was ineffective in the face of a refusal by the British mandatory administration to accord Palestinians the same degree of self-governance that it had granted other Arabs such as the Egyptians and the Iraqis.[9]

    The Palestine Football Association PFA, despite having been established as an organization that grouped teams regardless of religion and race, projected itself as one of the driving forces of Jewish sports in British-controlled Palestine. Palestine in its view was Jewish and British; Palestinians did not figure in its nationalist calculations. Its mother organization, the Palestine Sports Federation, adopted Zionism's blue and white colors while the PFA dropped Arabic as one of its languages within three years of its founding. The Zionist anthem "Ha-Tikva was played alongside Britain's God Save the King" at the start of official matches. The Palestine Olympic Committee followed a similar pattern with its nine members, seven of which were Jewish. [10]

   It's a matter of fact, that Arab sport lagged behind Jewish sport. The Jews came to Palestine from developed industrial societies. Definitely, they brought with them physical culture and the culture of sports. The yishuv, and the Zionist movement that represented it, in consequence received powerful external support, both from many of its coreligionist elsewhere and from the greatest imperial power of the day, as well as from the League of Nations. [11] All the gauges of the economic, social, and political advancement of the yishuv– the massive import of capital, the inflow of highly skilled human capital, the community’s predominantly urban nature, its high degree of ideological homogeneity, its unique social makeup and governing structures – when taken together, indicate its capacity for generating considerable state power.[12] 

1934 - 1936

   Without massive immigration, the Zionist movement could not hope to claim majority status, dominate the Palestinians demographically, and could build a Jewish national home in Palestine. The year 1935 alone, the high point of Jewish immigration before 1948, witnessed over sixty thousand Jewish immigrants, as many as the country's entire population in 1919. [13] The Zionists attempted to find the possible (legal and illegal) ways to increase the immigration. Since 1924, they have been trying to find new tricks for admitting more Jewish immigrants to the country; they have used smuggling and manipulation; they have pretended to submit to the restrictions of the immigration laws [while] transferring Jews to illegal resident status in Palestine by hiding them in the settlements. The Maccabiad was one of the ways of achieving these tasks.[14] Al-Sifri reports that for the three years following 1933, Palestine saw an average of 60,000 new Jewish immigrants each year. “The Zionist organizations used three ways of smuggling in these illegal immigrants: the Maccabiad, exhibitions and the power of absorption,” he claims. The Maccabiah Games and the Levant Fair were considered perfect opportunities to gain entry to the country, bypassing British immigration restrictions.[15]

  The Maccabiad was held in Tel Aviv in 1932 and 1935, hosting thousands of Jews from dozens of countries. The event stirred Jewish nationalism and provided a means of introducing Jews to the future homeland. It was also a means of normalizing the coming Jewish state in Palestine. Yakutieli, a leader of the Maccabee World Organization wrote in Ha'aretz on 29 March, 1935, “The recognition of Eretz Israel sports by the international federation can be seen as a direct result of the Maccabiah Games.”

   The second year after its founding, Al-Difa’ published a valuable article about the second Maccabiad (1935). A writer expressed his confusion in a courageous manner in an article that demonstrated the nationalistic stance which Al-Difa’ took directly after its founding:

    Beside the International Athletic Movement which many call the "International Olympic", the Jews created an athletic movement which they called the "Maccabiad". The first Maccabiad was held in Tel Aviv in 1932.  Many Jews from forty countries visited Palestine to attend these games. All of them were from the halutz youth [Halutz - Hebrew 'hulutz - pioneer scout, in Zionism, those who settled in rural areas, drained swamps and built the land]. As soon as the games ended many of them stayed in Palestine ..... We were informed by the illegal immigration that the halutz Jew arrives as a tourist, and he disappears as soon as Palestine absorbs him. For example a Jewish halutz arrives in Palestine pretending to be a lawyer. Having more than one thousand pounds, the government becomes certain that he is rich. Then the Jewish agency will get back the money which was given to him before arriving to Palestine. So what catastrophes fell on Palestine every day! Is there a nation that could tolerate what Palestine passed through! Is there a nation which could accept this fate! Is Zionism still satisfied with all this. Ask Sir Arthur Wachop!! …. Sir Cliff Lister!! …. the whole world. They will tell you that the “International Zionism” is worried about the restrictions on immigration. These restrictions does not only bother the Arabs, but also bother the Mandate. Zionism will be satisfied only by having “Erez Israel” to Israel.” [16]

    The use of press - including sports news - in the national and ideological struggle was a reaction against the British policy and the Zionist national project in Palestine. The Athletic leadership did not include sports as a part of Palestinian national-ideological system, rather by itself sports due to the political situations and the rejection to the Zionist project became part of this system.

     At that time, with Filastin, Al-Difa' did not only cover the sports news, rather they offered their columns to readers in order to take part. Sport news were published spontaneously, they were not subjected to regulations and rules. They were spread randomly, as well as commentaries by editors and readers. They reflected the lack of awareness of the importance and role of sports in different aspects - health, social, political etc. At that time Al-Difa’ published news about Arab athletic clubs, games (with British and Jewish teams) and British sports. It followed the activities of the Arab Palestine Sports Federation which  since 1933 started to organize a tournament called Dir’ al-Malek Ghazi (Armor of King Ghazi – after King Ghazi of Iraq).

    Al-Difa’ was the mouthpiece of the Istiqlal Party which was known for its nationalistic and  Arab unity orientation. In September 1934, the club of Shabab al-Arab (The Arab Youth) was founded in Haifa by Mu’tamar Ashabab (The Youth Congress). It enthusiastically followed the details of this occasion, unleashing the reasons behind its emergence:[17]

  The readers remember that there was a club in Haifa known as the Salisi (Salesian) [Salezianسالزيان]. It included elite of Haifa’s intellectual youth. During the celebration something happened that touched the national dignity. The youth got upset, they left the Salesian and established a club which was named Shabab al-Arab [the Youth of Arabs]. Members of this club asked to be under the auspice of the Youth Conference which accepted their request to strengthen the links between the youth.[18]

  At the time when Filastin brought news about the Orthodox clubs in Palestine, on the other hand, Al-Difa’ focused in its news on Islamic Sports Club in Jaffa probably for two reasons: first, both headquarters were in Jaffa, second: Al-Difa’ viewed Filastin's support for the Orthodox  clubs (in support for the Orthodox issue) as a sectarian cohesion (for Filastin's editor, Issa al-Issa was a Christian Orthodox) , so Al-Difa' (owner and editor -Al-Shanti was a Moslem) decided to show its support for the Jaffa ISC. However, the support of these two journals to these two clubs eventually was a boost for Palestinian sports in general.

    Political situations had their impacts on the relation between Arabs and Jews. The sentiments of hatred dominated different aspects including sports. It is important to understand in this regard that Palestinians did not see Jewish immigrants to Palestine primarily as refugees from persecution, as they were seen by most of the rest of the world. They saw them instead as arrogant European interlopers who did not accept that the Palestinians were a people or had national rights in their own country, believed that Palestine instead belonged to them, and were coldly determined to make that belief into reality.[19] Athletic competitions did not go without conflict. Al-Difa’ brought this news in November 1934, which constituted the degree of hostility between the two communities when  students of the Scottish College team in Sarafand and the Arab Sports Club - from one side - fought with the players of the second Maccabi and Hapoel teams in Tiberias because the former refused to stand a minute of silence for the death of the Baron Rotchild before a game between the Scottish College and the second Maccabi-Hapoel team.[20]Most of this news was intentionally directed to demonstrate the sentiments of rejection toward Zionism.

   Far from  political conditions and conflicts, it is worth mentioning that in many cases Arabs and Jews showed desire for sportsmanship,  friendship and good intentions in competing with each other. However, in general, Jewish sports in Mandate Palestine were operated to achieve Zionist national goals (Kaufman), while the Arabs exploited sports in order to face these goals as  great dangers.

    The Zionist officials viewed establishing athletic federations and committees as a means of achieving overall Zionist goals of establishing and legitimizing Zionist claims to Palestine. These official organizations helped represent Palestine as "Jewish," both regionally and internationally, and were seen as instrumental in achieving the leadership's national and political goals. In 1933 the Zionists applied for the membership in the International Olympic Committee, accepted in 1934. In June 1935, under the title (Palestine and the Olympic Games) Al-Difa’ stated that:

    In Athens, the Greek capital, a Mediterranean Olympic Games from 28th through 30th of this month will be held. The news showed that “Palestine” will participate in these Games, with a delegate that represents all kinds of sports. We have been informed that twelve Jewish athletes will travel to participate in these Games; claiming that they represent Palestine. We will not be surprised if we will be informed that these young people had raised the Zionist Flag, claiming that it represents the flag of Palestine. Who is responsible for delivering this information about these people to the Greek government?[21]

     The Zionists were not against the use of sports for political purposes if it was in their interests, on the other hand they were against it if it constituted a threat to them or to their interests. Ironically, a Jewish journalist Shimon Samet writing: "Perhaps at first a small group of Arab sportsmen would be found, a group that would listen to our voice and claims that sport and politics should not be mixed and that the good and mutual relationship between sportsmen of both nations could bring about the improvement in the friendship in general,"[22]

     Definitely, the lag of Arab sports behind the Zionist sports, and the lack of the awareness of the High Arab Committee HAC (whose main focus was on national- political issues, rather than other issues) about the importance of sports were responsible for such misinformation. Unfortunately, many including politicians,  intellectuals and even editors of Palestinian newspapers (including al-Difa’) were not aware about the potential and importance of sports; they viewed them as an entertaining activity that has no content or goal.

Many towns and villages suffered the lack of sports football fields. Al-Difa’ published few articles by its editor and readers calling the Municipality of Jaffa to allocate a land for building a football court:

   The Lebanese Government agreed to establish a soccer field in Beirut which will cost 25.000 Syrian Liras and will be paid by the municipality. We could ask the following question: What did our municipality board do to establish a soccer field?  Did it enlist this issue in its budget! Why would it neglect such important issue at the time when the city of Jaffa is in a desperate need for a soccer field.[23] 

It is worth mentioning that boxing, wrestling and weightlifting started in Palestine in the twenties in social-athletic clubs such as Islamic Sports Club and Orthodox Club in Jaffa and Carmel Club in Haifa. These sports developed rapidly in the thirties and forties.[24] The first boxing club was established in September 1933 – The Club of Boxing and Sport in Haifa [Nadi al-Mulakama war-Riyadah] (later the name was changed to al-Ghazi Club). This club was founded by the famous boxing champion Adib Kamal (or Adib Turki) he was the champion of Syria Lebanon and Palestine. In order to encourage and promote sports in this club Al-Difa’s correspondent wrote:

     At this club I met with a group of selected athletes, I heard gratitude words about the Ghazi Club. I met with the head of this club Mr. Adib Bey Kamal, I found him enthusiastically concerned about establishing this club especially boxing in Haifa. The citizens were fascinated by the performance of the players in the game which took place a week before, in which Adib Kamal defeated Khawaja Kransisco the Romanian champion. [25]

   The visits and reporting about different clubs by the correspondents of this newspaper (and Filastin) was popular at that time and continued until 1948. It was intended to encourage and promote clubs performance and activities. However, these reports were characterized with exaggeration and rhetoric style.

Athletic Scouts Exhibition – July 1935

   The period 1931-1936 witnessed remarkable cooperation between youth, scouting and sports movements in Mandate Palestine. The youth component was the common denominator among these three activities. Issa al-Sifri points out that a historian of the national movement needs to address the Palestinian youth movement, because it was the first organized youth movement in an Arab country.[26]

  The Arab Palestine Sports Federation in coordination with the scout leadership and the Youth Congress, decided to hold an athletic skills exhibition on al-Bassa esplanade in Jaffa in July 1935. One of the main challenges the organizing committee faced was the negative attitude the British Mandate had toward this exhibition, at the same time when it was supporting and facilitating the Jewish sports.

    Concerning the manner in which the exhibition challenged British authorities, the day after the games al-Difa' newspaper suggested how "masculinity," defense, and sportsmanship were related:

     What we intended to do is to develop sportsmanship and military training in the young generation. This spirit raises us from the low level (at which we live) to a world of ethical orientation (nobility of character). They deprived us of military training yet permitted it to themselves. They closed the doors to physical strength and wellbeing.....[27]

1936 - 1944

     Due to the consequences of the Great 1936-39 Revolt, the sports activities became semi-paralyzed; some clubs were exposed to closure, their members were arrested. The Orthodox Club in Jaffa was confiscated, its building became a headquarters for the British troops.

   A group of British soldiers and police invaded the Islamic club in Jaffa, before going up, they ordered the soldiers to surround the building from all sides in order to prohibit the passers to enter or exit the building. Two officers carrying guns went up and ordered everyone not to move and to raise their hands for searching. After searching the police arrested everyone who has been in the club. They closed the doors and stamped it with the red wax.[28]

    Expressing its sympathy with the Orthodox Club, the Islamic Club in Jaffa offered its supports through a letter that was published in Al-Difa’:

    Dear Brothers, Head and Members of the Orthodox Youth Club (OYC) , The Board of the Islamic Sports Clubs (ISC) in Jaffa offers its apology for the decision of the government taking your club as a dorm for its  soldiers, which could hinder your activities in the field of sports and cultural. We had the honor to cooperate with the Orthodox Club – which had a supreme position and respect among other national clubs in Palestine. It is unfair that this club to be ended by such a decision taken by the government. The board of our club conveyed and decided to send a letter of protest to the Governor of the south province. Thus, the Islamic Club welcomes all the members of the Orthodox Club asking them to consider the IC as their club; they have all the privileges as members until the board of the Orthodox Club could follow up and end this case. The board of the IC will offer the OC a room especially for its meetings.[29] 

    Despite the tough political situations, the PSF continued existing. Al-Difa’ continued publishing reports and news about some games here and there.  The function of PSF was totally paralyzed at the end of the 1930's. Few of its members joined the Jewish-dominated Palestine Football Association  such as Shebab al-Arab, Islamic Sports Club Haifa, Qawmi Club in Jaffa, and Orthodox Club in Jerusalem. At that time when football suffered the absence of the PSF, boxing (though not connected to  PSF), was promoted to take place among other sports. Al-Difa’ brought tons of news about matches  in boxing. At the same time that Jewish sport was making progress by exploiting the opportunities presented by the 1936–1939 Revolt -- by increasing its matches and competitions with the British Mandate teams -- Arab sports and sports coverage suffered a recession. 

    Al-Difa’ participated in supporting the victims of the floods in Syria in September 1937. It published news about the Arab Workers Union in Haifa and its organization of a match in boxing and wrestling between Jam’yyat al-Ummal al-Arabiya (The Workers Union), Islamic, Orthodox, Shabab al-Arab and Urouba Club. The income of these matches had been allocated for supporting of the victims in Syria. [30]

    Due to the stagnant conditions of Palestinian sports at that time, and the extinction of the Arab PSF, some of Arabs athletic clubs such as Shabab al-Arab, Islamic Sports Club and Tirsana in Haifa, Qawmi Sports Club in Jaffa, Orthodox Club and Arab Sports Club in Jerusalem joined the Jewish-dominated Football Association. With the outbreak of WWII and introduction of new emergency laws, the British ordered the closure of almost all Papers. Only Filastin and Al-Difa’ were able to survive by adopting a moderate nationalist tone and publishing closely censored news (Musallam, 2008).[31]At that period, a tangible change occurred in the sports news in Al-Difa’, the challenging nationalistic tendency in criticizing the Jewish domination disappeared, sports news became more informational than analytical and critical. It is worth to mention that Filastin was submitted at the same time to the same pressures as Al-Difa, but it maintained its national attitude toward the Jewish domination in sports by publishing more challenging articles.

1944 - 1948

    By 1944, aspirations of bringing Arab clubs under one umbrella were coming together. The clubs were many and varied. The Palestine Sport Federation (different than the APSF which was mentioned previously) in Haifa, for example, included 43 teams from different kinds of sports. Coincidentally, a football match was planned between the Egyptian army team and the Jewish-dominated PFA. But the Egyptian team refused to visit Palestine unless the Arab clubs also organized a team to play against them. This motivated the Arab clubs to establish their own regional federations so they could also compete against the Egyptian team, like  Jaffa, Jerusalem and Haifa federations. In May, a team was formed to compete with a selected British Army team (which defeated the Arab Selected Team 1-0). Those small federations in different regions and different kinds of sports could be considered a nucleus for the future (re-established) Arab Palestine Sports Federation.

    The re-establishing of the Arab PSF in September 1944 is considered to be the main stimulator for the sports media. Sports news started to be organized in Zawihat al-Difa' Al-Riyadiyya (Al-Difa' Sports Column). It became comprehensive, inclusive and well organized. Full coverage was given to the PSF, its activities, and its meetings by regional and branch committees.[32]  It followed the news about all the matches and the championship tournaments. Al-Difa' published news about the visits of the Arab teams from Arabic countries to Palestine; in turn it gave full reports about the visits and matches of Palestinian teams and athletes to these countries. This kind of news reflected the national cohesion and interdependence between the teams in Palestine and neighboring Arab countries. 
     PSF attempted to bring the British Mandate teams to its side, gaining the opportunity of the worsening of their ‘relations’ with the Jewish teams because of Jewish frustration and anger at the British authorities’ refusal to allow Jewish Holocaust refugees from Europe to enter the country, a fierce armed struggle, agreed upon by most of the community’s circles, was conducted against the Mandate regime’s representatives.[33]These matches intensified during the period 1945 - 1947, and had been reported in Zawiyat Al-Difa' Al-Riyadiyya (Al-Difa' Sports Column). They were described with sentiments of pride, as if competing with British Mandate teams was one of the main goals of Palestinian sports. Unfortunately, many Arabs viewed the British more as friend than opponents.

   Before the re-establishment of the Palestine Sports Federation sports column started to be edited by Khaireddin Abu Jibeen. It became accommodated to numerous and various information. [34] A quantitative and qualitative changes occurred after the re-establishment of PSF. Sports news were published comprehensively, on a daily bases. It included reports about PSF meetings, its activities and decisions. A strong link between PSF, athletic clubs and this column was clearly noticed. The column became a mirror which reflected the nationalistic sentiments in sports until the end of 1947. In order to maintain the national links between Palestine and Syria.  Palestinian athletes did not hesitate to offer aid to their brothers in Syria. Al-Difa’ participated in this process by calling the clubs to make contributions – donations to the Syrian people (when French troops occupied the Syrian parliament in May 1945 and cut off Damascus's electricity. Training their guns on Damascus's old city, the French killed 400 Syrians and destroyed hundreds of homes).[35]

   Al-Difa' expressed its frustration when the Jewish-dominated Olympic Committee - as a representative of Palestine - received an invitation to participate in the Olympic Games in London in 1948: 

   We have been informed that the general secretary of the government of Palestine received and official invitation for Palestine's participation in the next Olympic Games which will be held in London the next year. It has been mentioned that his honor transferred  this application to Palestine Olympic Committee. We ask,  whom this committee is consisted from? Do the Arabs have a part in it? Or the Jews alone will represent Palestine in these games. We have the right to take part in it, because we represent the majority of the population in this country.[36]


Palestinian national sentiments and activities were manifested in many aspects of Palestinian life including sports.  Al-Difa' intentionally reflected these sentiments. It could  demonstrate the development of sports in Palestine, and manifest the link between sports media and political conditions in Palestine.

In general sports reports in Arab journalism in the thirties and the beginning of 1940's were similar to their Jewish counterparts: short, random and shoved to the newspaper margins. From a content aspect, the majority of notices were merely partial reports of soccer game results. Similarly prominent is the absence of news on international world sports. The newspapers' political character and partisan attribution clearly reflected upon the way they treated sports teams.[37] However, after the re-establishment of APSF in 1944 sports reports took new turn. A new sports column was organized, it included domestic and regional news with no  international reports. The development of sports news in Al-Difa'  was dependable on the development of sports and the media in general.

     The detaining of most of the Palestinian documents after 1948 by the Israeli authorities caused a huge problem in registering history as well as conducting historical research on this subject. Therefore, Al-Difa’ (beside Filastin, Carmel and others) could be regarded as a substantial source for writing sports history in British Mandate Palestine.

Issam Khalidi, an independent scholar living in Monterey, California, is author of “History of Sports in Palestine 1900-1948” in Arabic, “One Hundred Years of Football in Palestine” in Arabic and English, Soccer in the Middle East - edited (Routledge), as well as various articles on the subjects of sports included at www.hpalestinesports.net


[1]Mujar Al-Bahri, A Quick Journey into Palestinian Journalism, This Week in Palestine, issue 196, August, 2014. http://www.thisweekinpalestine.com/details.php?id=1739&ed=115
[2]Yusuf Khuri, ed, Al-Sihafa al-‘arabiyya fi Filastin, 1876 – 1948 [The Arabic Press in Palestine, 1876 – 1948] (Beirut: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1976).Quoted in Rashid Khalidi, The Iron Cage, The History of the Palestinian Struggle For Statehood, (Boston: Beacon, 2006).
[3]Mujar Al-Bahri, A Quick Journey into Palestinian Journalism.
[4]IssamKhalidi, “Body and Ideology: Early Athletics in Palestine: 1900 – 1948,” Jerusalem Quarterly 27 (2007): 44 – 58.
[5] Issam Khalidi, Al-Akhbar al-Riyadiyyeh fi Sahifat al-Difa',  Sports news in Al-Difa’, Hawliyyat al-Quds 9 (2010): 27 – 38.
[6]Historians of Palestinian journalism before the end of mandate Palestine in 1948 have identified three distinct periods or stages of evolution in this industry: the 1920s, the 1930s and the period between 1940 and 1948. According to political and sports developments in Palestine, the evolution of sports news in Al-Difa’ could be divided into three stages: 1934 – 1936, 1936 – 1943, 1944 – 1948.
[7] Issam Khalidi, Body and Ideology: Early Athletics in Palestine (1900 – 1948).
[8]The Zionist leadership viewed establishing athletic federations and committees as a means of achieving overall Zionist goals of establishing and legitimating Zionist claims to Palestine. These official organizations helped represent Palestine as "Jewish," both regionally and internationally, and were seen as instrumental in achieving the leadership's national and political goals. For example, in 1924, the leadership of the Jewish Maccabi athletic organization attempted to gain membership in the International Amateur Athletic Federation. This initiative ended in failure as it was determined that Maccabi did not represent Arab, British and Jewish sportsmen in Palestine equally.However, this unsuccessful attempt did not discourage Maccabi leader Josef Yekutieli, who in the beginning of 1925 attempted to gain Maccabi membership in the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Yekutieli decided to employ a different tactic this time: he first established the Palestine Football Association PFA. The federation's inaugural meeting was convened in the summer of 1928. Immediately, after being accepted in FIFA, the Jewish leadership started to dominate the Palestine Football Association by ensuring that Jews were the majority in it. This was accomplished by such strategies as imposing the Hebrew language and incorporating the Jewish flag in the federation's logo.
[9] Mustafa Kabha, "The Palestinian press and the general strike, April - October 1936: Filastin as a case study," Middle Eastern Studies, 29:3 (2003), 169-189.
[10] James Dorsey, "Constructing National Identity: The Muscular Jew VS the Palestinian Underdog"April 9, 2015. https://www.rsis.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/WP290.pdf
[11]RashidKhalidi, The Iron Cage, The History of the Palestinian Struggle For Statehood, (Boston: Beacon, 2006), p. 9.
[12]Rashid Khalidi, The Iron Cage, p.21.
[13]RashidKhalidi, The Iron Cage,  p.11.
[14]Issa Al-Sifri, Filastin al-Arabiyya baina al-Intidabwal-Sahyouniyya [Arab Palestine between the Mandate and Zionism], Jaffa, 1937. p.
[15] Issa Al-Sifri, Filastin al-Arabiyyabaina al-Intidabwal-Sahyouniyya.p. 215-216.
[16]Al-Difa', 28 June 1934.
[17]The Arab Palestinian Youth Congress (Mu’tamar al-Shabab al-‘Arabi al-Filastini) was established in Jerusalem in 1931. It was active in youth, scouts, sports and political activities, and was famous for its nationalistic trends. It had its first conference in 1932, the second in 1935. See ‘Isaal- Sifri. Filastin al-‘Arabiyya bayn al-Intidabwal-Sahyuniyya [Arab Palestine between the Mandate and Zionism] (Jaffa: Maktabat Filastinal-Jadida, 1937), 194–201.
[18]Al-Difa, 25 September 1934.
Salisi Club was belong to the Salesian schools founded by the Salesian Fathers, a Catholic convent founded by St. John Bosco in Turin in Italy in 1840.In an interview with Khalid Ijjawi (Tarikh al-Haraka al-Riyadiyya al Falastiniyya fi al-Shatat, Damascus, 2001), Jabra Az-Zarqa explained the reason behind this separation: After one of its winnings, the leader of the team asked the players to shake hands first with the Italian consul and then with Ya'coub al-Ghusein - president of the Youth Congress." They felt that Salisi Club was more attached to the Catholic convent and to Italy than to Palestine.
[19]Rashid  Khalidi, The Iron Cage, p.120
[20]Al-Difa’, 20 November, 1934.
[21]Al-Difa',15 June, 1935.
[22]  Shimon Samet, Ha'aretz, April 17, 1936. Quoted in Haggai, Harrif, Galily, Yair, “Sport and Politics in Palestine, 1918-48: Football as a mirror reflecting the Relations between Jews and Briton”. Soccer and Society, Vol. 4, No.1, Spring, 2003, pp.41-56
[23]Al-Difa', 13 August 1935.
[24]What was noticed at that time that Al-Difa’ published few reports about horse racing, which was popular at that time. However, it did not warn about the dangers of this kind of sports as Filastin did.
[25]Al-Difa', 21 October, 1934.
[26]Issa Al-Sifri, Filastin al-Arabiyyabaina al-Intidabwal-Sahyouniyya. p. 194.
[27]Al-Difa', 15 July 1935.
[28]Al-Difa', 27 August 1936.
[29]Al-Difa' 25 October 1936.
[30]Al-Difa’, 6 October 1937.
[31] Adnan Musalam. Turbulant Times in the Life of the Palestinian Arab Press: The British Era, 1917 – 1948. http://admusallam.bethlehem.edu/publications/Turbulent_Times.htm
 With the outbreak of the Arab rebellion in 1936, emergency regulations required that all papers submit galley proofs for censorship (Musallam, 2008).
[32] The branch committees included soccer, basketball, heavy games (weight lifting, box and wresting), table tennis, track and field, and tennis.
[33] Haggai Harrif, GalilyYair, “Sport and Politics in Palestine, 1918-48: Football as a Mirror Reflecting the Relations between Jews and Briton”. Soccer and Society, Vol. 4, No.1, Spring, 2003, pp.41-56
[34]Khaireddin Abu Ajibin was born in 1924, graduated from Rashidiyya School in Jerusalem, and then from Arab College in Jerusalem. He worked as a teacher in Kulliat Athaqafa in Jaffa then in Hasan Arafa School in Jaffa. He was a member of the Jaffa committee of the PSA. In 1944 he became the editor of  Zawiyat al Difa’ al-Riyahdiyya (Al-Difa' Sports Column). He was one of the founders of the Najadah organization (a semi military organization, fought in 1948 against  Zionist military groups). After 1948 he left to Egypt, then to Kuwait.
[35]Al-Difa', 8 July 1945.
[36]Al-Difa', 28 May 1947.
The Palestine Olympic Committee was founded in 1933, and joined the International Olympic Committee in 1934. The Committee was controlled by Maccabi  sports organization and oversaw only sports in the Jewish sector, which was a minority in Palestine in those days.
[37]IlanTamir, Yair Galily, The Human Factor in the Historical Development of the Media: Israeli Sports Pages as a Case Study, The International Journal of History of Sport, Volume 28, 2011 - issue 18.

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