Last updated on: 5/16/2008 3:30:00 PM PST

What Were the Early Palestinian Congresses, and How Were They Related to the Emergence of Palestinian Identity?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Baruch Kimmerling, PhD, Professor of Sociology at Hebrew University, and Joel S. Migdal, PhD, Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington, in their 2003 book The Palestinian People, wrote the following:

"In January, 1919, the leading Palestinian families organized a Palestinian Arab conference under the auspices of the Jaffa and Jerusalem Muslim-Christian Associations. Despite some sentiment for Palestinian autonomy under British guidance, including that of Jerusalem's Arif al-Dajani, who presided over the proceedings, a consensus emerged to support Faysal's ambition [to be king of greater Syria]. Zionism was strongly rejected; Palestine would remain an Arab country as part of a federated, Faysal-led Syria...

At the Third Arab Congress, held in Haifa in December, 1920, they [Palestinian notables] revived the plan that Arif al-Dajani and some of the other older notables had proposed in the country-wide conference of January, 1919. That plan had stressed the autonomy of the Palestinian Arabs and their unique circumstances."

2003 - Joel S. Migdal, PhD 
Baruch Kimmerling, PhD 

Benny Morris, PhD, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, in his 2001 book Righteous Victims, wrote:

"The first [Palestinian Congress] which met in Jerusalem in January 1919, had voted for unity with Syria. 'We see Palestine as part of Arab Syria,' it resolved, 'and it should not be separated from the independent Syrian Arab government.' A so-called Second Congress never actually took place. The third, meeting in Haifa in December 1920, called upon the British to establish a 'native government' and representative assembly. It made no mention of 'Southern Syria' and dropped the demand for unity of Palestine and Syria. The Fourth Congress, meeting in Jerusalem in May 1921, spoke of 'the Arab people of Palestine' with no mention of southern Syria -- though subsequent congresses generally paid lip service to the idea of Arab unity... Alongside Syrians, Iraqis, and Egyptians, a Palestinian people was emerging."

2001 - Benny Morris, PhD