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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Early "Palestinian" nationalists for a Greater Syria

L. King alerted me to an quote from James Gelvin's "The Israel-Palestine Conflict: 100 Years of War" of a pamphlet from 1920:
"The Decision of the Palestinian General Congress ( Feb 1920)

1. We confirm what we have always said, that Palestine is an integral part of Syria. We demand that it remain so, and shall use all measures to the last drop of our blood and the last breath of our children to achieve this end.

2. Because we come from all parts of Syria, we consider the Zionist danger to be directed against us and against our political and economic existence in the future. We shall therefore throw back the Zionists with all our force. If the allies continue to let them pursue their activities we shall oppose them by all means possible...

O Arab sons of Palestine:

The Syrian nation and the Palestinian associations are incensed that the [allies] would seek to detach Palestine from its motherland Syria, under the guise of establishing a national government. How can we accept the life of slaves to the Jews and foreigners and not defend our political and national rights? Raise your voice, protest this treachery and never fear threats of intimidation... If there exists a man among you who, bribed by gold or honors, rallies to the occupation government, stay away from him, boycott him, and show him your scorn, for he is a traitor to his country and his nation. Likewise, boycott the Jews, sell them nothing and buy nothing from them. Boycott those who sustain them and serve as underlings..."
Gelvin goes on to describe how most Arabs in Palestine preferred Syrian nationalism to Palestinian Arab nationalism, until France effectively shut down that possibility by separating Syria from Palestine (yet some still fought for Greater Syria even after that.)

The portions of the book that are available on Google Books are quite interesting.

L. King reviewed the book for Amazon here.

An earlier article on the pan-Syrian movement and the origins of the term "nakba" here.