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Monday, December 13, 2010

Is the ultimate goal a Palestinian Arab state - or a pan-Arab state?

One of the revelations in the National Archives report I posted about yesterday was this one:
Husseini, however, was a believer in a Pan-Arab state.
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who became a supposed convert to Palestinian Arab nationalism from pan-Arab nationalism in 1920 in the wake of the 1920 San Remo Conference, really remained a pan-Arab nationalist but used the idea of "Palestinian" nationalism - something virtually nonexistent before San Remo - as a way to expel the Jews from Palestine.

And he is not the only one.

The original PLO charter written in 1964 does not explicitly call for a Palestinian Arab state! It is filled with phrases like
The Palestinian people firmly believe in Arab unity, and in order to play its role in realizing this goal, it must, at this stage of its struggle, preserve its Palestinian personality and all its constituents. It must strengthen the consciousness of its existence and stance and stand against any attempt or plan that may weaken or disintegrate its personality.
In other words, Palestinian national identity is essentially a fiction that was created and maintained by Arab leaders as a means to destroy Zionism. Before the 1960s, most Palestinian Arabs identified far more with the Arab nation - and their own clans - than with "Palestine," and indeed practically none of them fought in 1948 for anything outside their own villages.

But we can go further, as the Hamas charter says this rather explicitly as well, although in terms of pan-Islamism rather than pan-Arabism:A
s for the objectives: They are the fighting against the false, defeating it and vanquishing it so that justice could prevail, homelands be retrieved and from its mosques would the voice of the mu'azen emerge declaring the establishment of the state of Islam, so that people and things would return each to their right places and Allah is our helper
. Only as a strategy is Palestinian Arab nationalism mentioned, not as a goal:
Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. "Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know."...

The question of the liberation of Palestine is bound to three circles: the Palestinian circle, the Arab circle and the Islamic circle. Each of these circles has its role in the struggle against Zionism.
The very first article in the 2003 Palestinian Constitution says:
Palestine is part of the large Arab World, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation. Arab Unity is an objective which the Palestinian People shall work to achieve.
Given this, it becomes even clearer that the antipathy towards Israel is from an Arab perspective as an encroacher of eternally Arab or Islamic land, not primarily for the purpose of establishing a independent state of "Palestine." On the contrary, a state of Arab Palestine is simply a tactic towards the goal of a huge, united Arab nation. Even though that goal is illusory, it shows that Palestinian Arab nationalism is an artificially created paradigm and not a natural national group.

In other words, Palestinian Arab nationalism is a fiction created for Western consumption, where people are sympathetic to arguments for self-determination. Today, of course, due to oppressive Arab discrimination specifically against Palestinian Arabs, they have coalesced into a people united by their misery - misery that is a policy-level decision made by their brethren, calculated to inculcate hate against the people who really do have a legitimate national historic ties to the area of Palestine.