On 16 September 1929, the influential Jaffa newspaper Filastin, which had resumed publication in March 1921 under the supervision of ‘Isa Da’ud al-‘Isa, started to publish a weekly English-language edition. The editors pointed out in the inaugural issue that such a publication would play a vital role in advancing the Palestinian national cause, since
our political opponents possess and run one of the most elaborate systems of propaganda the world has ever known … In almost every European and American Capital, especially in England, they either publish or subsidise newspapers and other periodicals which speak for them and persistently propagate their unlawful and unjustifiable greedy political ambitions in our country.
More important, the time was now ripe for the appearance of an English-language edition of Filastin: a month earlier, large-scale popular disorders had broken out, called by the Palestinians the al-Buraq Revolution (Thawra al-Buraq) and more commonly known as the Wailing Wall riots. ‘During the recent disturbances,’ the new paper's editors observed,
we met several English correspondents. Their first Question to us, separately, was composed almost of the same words[:] ‘So far all the news we have been reading are from Jewish sources. Our source of information is unilateral. For Heaven's sake give us your point of view.’
As soon as a modicum of order had been restored, the British government set up a formal committee of inquiry, known as the Shaw Commission, to look into the causes of the unrest. In the words of Tamir Sorek, the appointment of the Shaw Commission ‘created the impression that the destiny of Palestine was at stake and would be determined in the very near future’. It therefore seemed evident to the editors of Filastin that ‘the fact that we are on the eve of the arrival of the Enquiry Commission to this country [made September 1929] the very right moment for the publication of such a paper’, which adopted the slightly modified title Falastin.
In order to disseminate its message as widely as possible, the editors of Falastin announced: ‘we intend to send gratis hundreds of copies to all the leading newspapers, the political centres, and all the distinguished politicians of the world so that they may hear our voice and give it their full attention and consideration’.