The Three Faces/Phases of Palestinian Nationalism, 1948–2005

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VOL. 34


No. 4
P. 25
The Three Faces/Phases of Palestinian Nationalism, 1948–2005

This article takes a comparative look at the three main manifestations of Palestinian nationalism since 1948: the Movement of Arab Nationalists, embodying its pan-Arab phase; Fatah, its specifically Palestinian form; and Hamas, its religious (Islamic) variant. Tracing the origins of the three movements reveals that each arose as a consequence of its immediate predecessor’s perceived failure to achieve Palestinians goals. The differing ideologies and strategies of each group are explored, and the points of similarity and contrast highlighted. The place of armed struggle in each is given particular emphasis. Despite the considerable differences between the three movements, arising at approximately twenty-year intervals, each has followed a similar trajectory, beginning with maximalist goals and progressively scaling them back, explicitly or implicitly, under the impact of Israel’s overwhelming power.

Helga Baumgarten is professor of political science at Birzeit University and the author of Arafat: Between Struggle and Diplomacy [in German] (Ullstein, 2002) and Palestine: Liberation in a State: The Palestinian National Movement since 1948 [in German] (Surhkamp, 1991). She would like to thank Lisa Taraki (Birzeit University) and Martin Beck (German Orient Institute, Hamburg) for their critical reading of the original manuscript.