Last updated on: 5/16/2008 | Author:

Did Palestinian Nationalism Emerge in Reaction to Zionism?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)


This site was archived on Aug. 3, 2021. The two-state solution is no longer the most popular solution among the jurisdictions involved. A reconsideration of the topic is possible in the future.

PRO (yes)


Baruch Kimmerling, PhD, Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Joel S. Migdal, PhD, Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington, in their 2003 book The Palestinian People: A History, wrote:

“Had it not been for the pressures exerted on the Arabs of Palestine by the Zionist movement, the very concept of a Palestinian people would not have developed; and Palestinians quite accurately understand their society’s essential, existential status as the direct result of Jewish political rejuvenation and settlement.”



David K. Shipler, MA, author and journalist, in the 2002 edition of Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land, wrote:

“Their sense of distinctiveness as a Palestinian people has come not from an ancient source but largely in reaction to the creation and growth of Israel on part of the land where they lived. Their Palestinian awakening, even with its pre-state origins, was heightened by the upheavals of Israel’s birth in 1948 and the refusal of the Arab governments to accept the presence of the tiny Jewish state on the edge of Arab territory.”


CON (no)


Rashid Khalidi, PhD, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University, in his 1997 book titled Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, wrote:

“Important though Zionism was in the formation of Palestinian identity — as the primary ‘other’ faced by the Palestinians for much of this century — the argument that Zionism was the main factor in provoking the emergence of Palestinian identity ignores one key fact: a universal process was unfolding in the Middle East during this period, involving an increasing identification with the new states created by the post-World War I partitions.”



Deborah J. Gerner, PhD, Professor of Political Science at the University of Kansas, in her 1994 book titled One Land, Two Peoples: The Conflict Over Palestine, wrote:

“Despite the pan-Arab rhetoric of Syrian and Iraqi leaders, protection of Palestinian national rights was a lower priority for them than assuring their own local interests. For this reason, many scholars believe that a separate Palestinian national movement would have developed after World War I even without the incentive provided by Zionism, because the perceived need for an independent political identity existed as a discrete issue.”