Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Palestine" is ... Syria

Was "Palestine" a country?  A separate and distinct country?  One that actually once existed and did not belong to any other Middle East country?

I have dealt with this matter previously and more here) but return to it after discovering this journal, The Syrian World, from which I found these two articles:-

and this:

You noticed the dates?

1927 and 1931.

Palestine is a province of Syria and Jerusalem is a Syrian city.

No Palestinianism, no unique Palestine Arab nationalism.

Indeed, into the late 1920s and even early 1930s, the Arab inhabitants of Syria who had immigrated to America, the intellectuals, considered Palestine a province of Syria and Jerusalem, a Syrian city.

A further indication is the Syrian-Palestinian Congress which was

the first serious attempt at challenging the French and British Mandates in the Middle East. It was called for in Geneva by a group of Syrian, Palestinian, and Lebanese exiled nationalists, headed by Prince Michel Lutfallah and bankrolled by Sharif Hussein, the King of the Hijaz. From left to right: Suleiman Kanaan, Tawfic Fayed, Najib Shuqayr, Amin al-Tamimi, Taan al-Imad, Assistant Secretary General of the Congress Tawfic al-Yazagi, Secretary-General Emir Shakib Arslan, Vice-President Mohammad Rashid Rida, Congress President Prince Michel Lutfallah, Vice-President Tawfic Hammad, George Yousef Salem, Ihsan al-Jabiri, Shibli al-Jamal, Salah Izziddine, Riad al-Sulh, Wahba al-Issa.

Moreover, it had a direct ramification on the idea of a separate "Palestine":-

The Syrian-Palestinian Congress, also known as the Syria-Palestine Congress or the Syro-Palestinian Congress was an organisation founded in June 1921 in Geneva by a group of Syrian and Palestinian exiles. The main aim of the congress was to try to influence the terms of the proposed League of Nations mandate over the region...The addition of Palestine to the name followed the Franco-British boundary agreement of December 1920 which formally defined the territory of Palestine out of the region viewed by the Pan-Syrian nationalists as Greater Syria. On 21 September, after twenty-six days of discussion, the joint congress issued a public statement to the League of Nations demanding, among other things, recognition of the "independence and national rule (al-Sultan al-Qawmi) of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine"[1]

Note this from the NYTimes report:

Some relevant chronology of these "congresses" and other conclaves:


January: Paris Peace Conference decides conquered Arab provinces will not be restored to Ottoman rule.

January 27-February 10: First Palestinian National Congress, meeting in Jerusalem, sends to peace conference two memoranda rejecting Balfour Declaration and demanding independence. (Resolutions of the Jerusalem Congress were:
Palestine part of Arab Syria)

July 2: General Syrian Congress, held in Damascus and attended by Palestinian delegates, announces its rejection of Balfour Declaration.

April 25: Supreme Council of San Remo Peace Conference assigns Palestine Mandate to Britain without consent of Palestinians.

May: British prevent Second Palestinian National Congress from convening.

December: Third Palestinian National Congress, meeting in Haifa, elects the Executive Committee, which remains in control of Palestinian political movement from 1920 to 1935. (called for Palestine to be part of the independent Arab State promised in the MacMahon Correspondence. Calls for unity with Syria were dropped because it was recognised that the area was now under French control.)


May-June: Fourth Palestinian National Congress, convening in Jerusalem, decides to send Palestinian delegation to London to explain Palestinian case against Balfour Declaration. Syrian-Palestinian Conference held in Geneva.


February: Second Palestinian Delegation to London announces its rejection of Balfour Declaration to British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill, and demands national independence.

June 3: Churchill issues White Paper of 1922 on Palestine interpreting British concept of Jewish "national home," and excluding Transjordan from scope of Balfour Declaration.

June 30: U.S. Congress endorses Balfour Declaration.

July 24: League of Nations Council approves Mandate for Palestine without consent of Palestinians.

August: Fifth Palestinian National Congress, meeting in Nablus, agrees to economic boycott of Zionists.


September 29: British Mandate for Palestine comes officially into force.


October: Sixth Palestinian National Congress convenes in Jaffa.


June: Seventh Palestinian National Congress convenes in Jerusalem.

November: Islamic Conference, meeting in Jerusalem, demands protection of Muslim property rights at Wailing Wall, itself a Muslim holy site.


October: General conference convenes in Jerusalem to formulate Palestinian position on Wailing Wall controversy.


January 14: League of Nations Council appoints international commission to investigate legal status of Palestinians and Jews at Wailing Wall.

March 30: Fourth Palestinian Delegation arrives in London.

May: Fourth Palestinian Delegation to London announces British rejection of its demands for (1) cessation of Zionist mass immigration to and land acquisition in Palestine, and (2) establishment of democratic, representative government.

December: International Wailing Wall Commission recommends restoration of status quo ante, and confirms Muslim property rights at Wailing Wall.


December 16: Pan-Islamic Congress held in Jerusalem and attended by 145 delegates from all parts of Muslim world. (
In response to an invitation issued by Haj Amin al-Husseini, mufti of Jerusalem, 145 delegates from 22 Islamic countries attended the Pan-Islamic Conference. The conference voiced fears of rightwing Zionist encroachment on the Muslim holy places, and endorsed Palestinian demands for national independence.)



Anonymous said...

In traditional Arab/Muslim geography, al-Sham or Bilad ash-Sham means Syria or Greater Syria and included the Lebanon, Syria, Israel [including Judea, Samaria, Gaza Strip] and Jordan of today, roughly speaking. There was no territory named "filastin" or "palestine" under the Mamluk and Ottoman empires.

Anonymous said...

this material is interesting and very relevant. What these Arabs or "Syrians" were doing was just thinking in terms of their traditional geographical terms. It was Jews and Christians, certainly not Muslims, who thought of Israel [or the Holy Land] as a separate country distinct from Syria. The Quran uses the term Holy Land, btw, in Sura 5:20-22, but this was not usual Muslim Arab usage. In any event, according to Quran 5:20-22, Allah assigned the Holy Land to the people of Moses, elsewhere in the Quran identified as Jews.

Unknown said...

In the Bible the palestineans were known as earlier inhabitants of the Holy land before Abraham.It was under Roman empire rule for centuries.Islamic rule closely took place.Moslems consider Jerusalem'al Kods' their first Qibla(direct their face to prayer as the Jews and like Daniel) and their second sacred place after Mecca.Eversince this land has never been separated from the totality of the several successors of Islamic empires and sultanates.During the ottoman empire all the region of Palestine and Syria and Lebanon was known as El Sham.The inhabitants of the Holy land were known as Palestineans as a people and as in the Bible.