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Key Point to Note, Dr. Pipes.

Reader comment on item: Some Common Sense in Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Submitted by Aymenn Jawad (United Kingdom), Dec 25, 2009 at 04:20

Dr. Pipes:

I disagree that 'nationalism' was ever the main source of anti-Zionism in the Muslim world. Indeed, you yourself have stated:

'Ultimately the Arab-Israeli conflict rests on a Muslim assumption that territory that has been ruled by Muslims must not be ruled by non-Muslims, that it is permanently Muslim territory. That a non-Muslim people should come, take it over, and rule it is deeply inimical.

That said, there have been four different stages of the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past century, four different stages of Arab approach. The first was pan-Syrian, to create a greater Syria; the second was pan-Arab, to create a greater Arab state, the third was Palestinian nationalist, and now the fourth is Islamist. There could be a fifth and a sixth. The key here is not the approach which changes every few decades, but rather the deep belief among Muslims that Israel is an illegitimate state because it is in a territory that for over a millenium was controlled by Muslims.'

Therefore, the true source of this anti-Zionism has always been Islamic theology. Also, you are wrong that 'pan-Syrian' nationalism was ever an approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Pan-Syrianism has been espoused only by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party: never in a position of political power. It should also be added that pan-Arabism and Palestinian nationalism have merely been facades for the true source of this anti-Zionism. For proof of this, see the speeches made by the likes of Nasser (especially before the Six Day War), the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini (who, when recruiting Bosnian Muslims to slaughter Yugoslav Jewry, appealed to the notion of a common 'umma', for example). Also, here is a quotation from Zuhair Mohsen, a high ranking member of the PLO in 1977:

"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

"For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan."

All this said, I agree that amongst Palestinian Christians the main source of anti-Zionism has always been a form of Palestinian nationalism.

Yours faithfully,

Aymenn Jawad

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