Zionist Ambitions and Palestinian Suffering

  September 13, 2021   Read time 1 min
Zionist Ambitions and Palestinian Suffering
With the creation of Israel in 1948, a wide shock of humiliation reverberated across the Muslim world. The Jews occupied more than two-thirds of Palestine and Jerusalem, and were but a few steps from the al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Arabs had been outmanoeuvred by Zionist might and its British collusion. This defeat was astounding, and the disgrace cut deeply into the psyche of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. Since then, Islam has at times been called upon as an indigenous ideology entrenched throughout Muslim society, which could be used as a rallying point of mobilization in the battle against the enemy and its state as erected in Palestine.

In the 1950s and 1960s Arabs and Palestinians were strongly influenced by nationalist and Marxist ideologies in their campaign to fight Israel and liberate Palestine. As a result, in Palestine and the surrounding countries bordering Israel – Egypt, Syria and Jordan – as well as in more distant countries such as Iraq, Libya and Algeria, Islamist tendencies were sidelined and Islam as an ideology of mobilization was relegated to the back seat.

Another, and even more mortifying, defeat was looming for the Palestinians and the Arabs in 1967, when Israel launched devastating attacks on Egypt, Syria and Jordan, annexing more land from all of them: Sinai and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank with East Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque from Jordan. With this collapse of the Arab armies, nationalist and Marxist ideologies started to give way to the gradual rise of Islamist movements and political Islam. Starting from the mid-1970s Palestinian Islamists, in the current usage of the word, started establishing stronger footholds in Palestinian cities. With the victory of the Iranian revolution in the late 1970s, and the defeat of the PLO in Lebanon in 1982, the Palestinian Islamists were steadily on the rise. Their main nationalist rival, the National Movement for the Liberation of Palestine (Fatah), had started its long decline. Islam was once again being recalled to the heart of Palestinian politics.