History of Israel and The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Tutor- Fadi Mansour
What were the commonalities and differences of Zionism and Arab nationalism in Palestine?
In order to fully considerate the commonalities and differences between Zionism and Arab Nationalism a clear definition of both needs to be understood. A general definition of Zionism is; a movement that supports a Jewish national homeland in Palestine (Motyl, page 604, 2001) while Arab nationalism can be explained as an ideology that promotes the unity of Arab people and calls for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world (Dawisha, 2003). As this essay focuses on Palestine it is important to note that while Palestinian nationalism is somewhat similar to Arab Nationalism, it largely focuses on self-determination for the Palestinian people and for self-determination in and sovereignty over Palestine ( Waart, page 223, 1994).
The most important period of development for Zionism and Arab Nationalism in Palestine was laid in the nineteenth and twentieth century and although they began independently, it can be argued they developed and evolved as a response to each other which has led to both movements becoming intertwined and having inherent similarities and differences. As the nineteenth and twentieth century were the most significant era of development for Zionism and Arab Nationalism this essay will focus on these periods.
There are many commonalities and differences of Zionism and Arab Nationalism which cannot all be explored, but in this essay I will research how the roots of both movements are similar as well as how western influence largely supported Zionism and how fundamentally it allowed the success of the Jewish national home movement.
The first and main similarity between Zionism and Arab nationalism is the belief that their origins is in Palestine. Many Jewish Zionists state that their homeland is in Palestine as some intellects argue ‘Jewish nationality is inseparable from the inheritance of its ancestors, the holy land, and the eternal city, the birthplace of belief in the divine unity of life’ (Seltzer, page 688, 1980). From a Zionists point of view, Palestine belongs to the Jewish people and the creation of Israel was just the recognition of this. Khalidi writes that Palestinians believe that the land belongs to them as they have ties to the land, local loyalties’ and a religious history; all these factors in culmination created the Palestinian national identity (Khalidi, page 27, 1997).This similarity is important to note as the two national identities’ are rooted in this particular area and to put it simply, their belief that Palestine/Israel is their home is one of the main causes of conflict in the Middle East.
One of the commonalities that Zionism and Arab nationalism share is the circumstances that fuelled the creation of both movements. Both movements ‘asserted their identity without the trappings of an independent...