Armed struggle and the search for state: the Palestinian by Yazīd Ṣāyigh, Institute for Palestine Studies (Washington,

By Yazīd Ṣāyigh, Institute for Palestine Studies (Washington, D.C.)

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Extra info for Armed struggle and the search for state: the Palestinian national movement, 1949-1993

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The renewal of the Palestinian revolt prompted the British government to go much further in its official White Paper of May 1 939, in which it proposed a unitary state and full independence after ten years (subject to 'such relations between the Arabs and the Jews as would make good government possible'), coupled with severe limitations on Jewish immigration and landownership. The Palestinian leadership represented by the Arab Higher Committee again rej ected this offer, at the urging of Amin al-Husayni, although the rival Nashashibi camp came out in favour and opinion among the general public and 25 even within the committee itself was distinctly positive.

For most officers the primary quest was for social justice and redistribution of wealth, economic and administrative reform, and the dismantling of the liberal parliamentary politics inherited from the colonial era, which they considered to be controlled by corrupt and self-serving elites. The loss of Palestine, to the extent that it shaped their political outlook, reinforced the conviction that their foremost task was to remove the allies of colonialism within their own societies. Indeed, conflict with Israel would not only distract them from that task, but might even allow the colonial powers to restore their former clients.

British policy and Zionist ambition meant that the context for the political development of Palestinian society after World War One differed fundamen­ tally from that provided by the emerging national states in neighbouring Arab territories. 17 Resistance to the newly formed central governments was often strong among social forces seeking to preserve established political and economic privileges, but the superior military capability of the mandate authorities and their ability to manipulate the allocation of resources and office (as means of reward or punishment) invariably decided the outcome.

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