Arab Politics and the Rise of Palestinian Nationalism
In the past, analyses of the development of Palestinian nationalism have tended to overemphasize the role played by Zionism and underrate the internal Arab factors that led to the rise, not only of Palestinian national- ism, but of other local Arab nationalisms as well. In the case of Arab writers, those who embraced nationalism-whether its local (wataniyyah) or pan-Arab (qawmiyyah) variety-were inclined to blame the problems and contradictions of the Arab national movements on the forces of European imperialism. They tended to regard the political forces that emerged in the Arab lands east of Suez after the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire as the result of a struggle with an alien power or movement. On the other hand, Zionist writers, preoccupied as they were with the local Palestinian scene, often overlooked the larger Arab arena in which Palestinian politics evolved.
Muhammad Muslih teaches in the Department of Middle East Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. This article is based on a chapter of his book The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism (Columbia University Press and Institute for Palestine Studies, forthcoming).