Idit Zertal, Israel's Holocaust and the Politics of Nationhood (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005).


In this context it is worth emphasizing that my aim here is not to illustrate the relative salience of Palestinian particularism but to show the important role of calendars and martyrs in the attempts to cultivate this collective identity. It is noteworthy as well that I do not intend to analyze the sociopolitical developments that led to the emergence of Palestinian nationalism, as these processes have been discussed in detail elsewhere. See Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007); Baruch Kimmerling and Joel Migdal, Palestinians: The Making of a People (New York: The Free Press, 1993); Meir Litvak, Palestinian Collective Memory and National Identity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); Muhammad Y. Muslih, The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988); Yehoshua Porath, The Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement, 1918–1929 (London: Cass, 1974). Gerber, Haim. Remembering and Imagining Palestine: Identity and Nationalism from the Crusades to the Present. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).


On the importance of calendars for the construction of collective identities, see Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989); David Cressy, Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); Eviatar Zerubavel, “Easter and Passover: On Calendars and Group Identity,” American Sociological Review 47, no. 2 (1982), pp. 284–89; Eviatar Zerubavel, “Calendars and History: A Comparative Study of the Social Organization of National Memory,” in J. K. Olick, ed., States of Memory: Continuities, Conflicts, and Transformations in National Retrospection (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), pp. 315–37; Yael Zerubavel, Recovered Roots: Collective Memory and the Making of Israeli National Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995). On the importance of martyrs in modern nationalism, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso, 1991); G. L. Mosse, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990); W. Lloyd Warner, The Living and the Dead: A Study of the Symbolic Life of Americans (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1959).


Although the shrine was most likely constructed by the Mamluk sultan Rukn al-Din Baybars (1223–77), the poplar Palestinian narrative ascribes the initiation of the Nabi Musa holiday to Saladin (1138–93). Some scholars believe in the historical accuracy of this narrative (Gerber, “Remembering and Imagining Palestine, pp. 63–68) while other see it as part of a wider modern mythology related to Saladin that was created as a response to the mounting challenges Middle Eastern and Islamic societies confronted in the nineteenth century. (Awad Halabi, “The Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival in Jerusalem, 1917--1937: From Local and Islamic to Modern and Nationalist Celebration,” University of Toronto, 2007.:91). At all events, there is a consensus that the Nabi Musa holiday in modern times has been popularly associated with Saladin and the struggle against the crusaders.


Halabi, “Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival,” p. 91.


See journal entry for 10 April 1920 in Khalil Sakakini, Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini: Yawmiyyat, rasa'il wa-tammulat: Al-kitab al-thalith, ikhtibar al-intidab wa-asi'lat al-hawiyya, 1919–1922, ed. Akram Musallam (Ramallah: Markaz Khalil al-Sakakini al-Thaqafi: Mu'assasat al-Dirasat al-Muqaddasiyya, 2004), p. 219.


Halabi, “Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival,” p. 149.


Halabi, “Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival,” p. 168.


Halabi, “Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival,” pp. 212–15.


Halabi, “Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival,” p. 266.


The flag was the green, red, black, and white Arab national flag from the 1916–18 Arab Revolt and that later became known as the Palestinian flag. See Tamir Sorek, “The Orange and the Cross in the Crescent: Imagining Palestine in 1929,” Nations and Nationalism 10, no. 3 (2004), pp. 269–291.


Roger Friedland and Richard Hecht, “The Nebi Musa Pilgrimage and the Origins of Palestinian Nationalism,” in Bryan Le Beau and Menachem Mor, eds., Pilgrims and Travelers to the Holy Land (Omaha, NE: Creighton University Press, 1996), p. 100.


Halabi, “Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival,” p. 217–39.


Halabi, “Transformation of the Prophet Moses Festival,” p. 201.


“The birth of the honorable Arab prophet,” al-Karmil, 21 October 1921, p. 1.


“Mihrajanat al-mawasim wa-istighlaluha,” Filastin, 2 April 1936, p. 1.


Sakakini, Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini, vol. 3, p. 128.


Ernest J. Renan, “What Is a Nation?” in G. Eley and R. G. Sun, eds., Becoming National: A Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 41–51.


Yuval Ohana-Arnon, “Mifleget al-Istiqlal: Reshito shel radiqalism Falastini: 1930–1937,” Katedra 12 (1979), pp. 91–109.


Following the British takeover of Palestine in 1918, about fifteen political clubs were founded by upper-class Muslims and Christians in the major Palestinian towns. They formed a national body, the Palestine Arab Congress, which opposed the Balfour Declaration and Zionist immigration. Some scholars consider these associations to be the first manifestations of a national movement among the Arabs in Palestine. See Bayan N. al-Hut, al-Qiyadat al-mu'assasat al-siyasiya fi Filastin, 1917–1948 (Beirut: The Institute of Palestine Studies, 1981); Abd al-Wahab Kayyali, Palestine: A Modern History (London: Croom Helm, 1978); Porath, Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement.


See journal entry for 3 May 1919, Sakakini, Yawmiyyat Khalil al-Sakakini, vol. 3, p. 142.


Elie Podeh, “Shonut betokh mifgan shel ahdut: Hagigot yovel ha-zahav le-hatsharat Balfour (1967) be-Yisrael,” Yisrael 17 (2010), pp. 59–90. In the first few years after the declaration, the celebrations included public rallies as well.


W. B. Quandt, P. Jabber, and A. M. Lesch, The Politics of Palestinian Nationalism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), p. 26.


“Al-Ijtima‘ al-kabir fi Yafa,” Filastin, 2 November 1923, p. 1.


The Arab Executive was elected by the third Arab Congress in 1920 and played a role in leading the Palestinian national struggle until 1934.


Thomas M. Ricks, “Khalil Totah: The Unknown Years,” Jerusalem Quarterly 34 (2009), pp. 51–77.


The Department of Public Works was an engineering unit of the British government in Palestine, responsible for paving roads and building bridges and ports. Its priorities were biased on Zionist needs, and Filastin frequently complained about the preference it gave to Jews as employees and providers.


Al-Jami‘a al-‘Arabiyya, 2 November 1931, p. 1.


The Palestinian Arab party was established by the Husayni family in 1935 and was dismantled during the revolt.


Al-Difa‘, 3 November 1946, p. 1.


David Cook, Martyrdom in Islam (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); K. Lewinstein, “The Revaluation of Martyrdom in Early Islam,” in M. Cormack, ed., Sacrificing the Self: Perspectives on Martyrdom and Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 79–91.


Musa Budeiri, “The Palestinians: Tensions between Nationalist and Religious Identities,” in Israel Gershoni and James Jankowski, eds., Rethinking Nationalism in the Arab Middle East (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), pp. 191–206.


For a discussion of the prevalence of the Islamic notion of martyrdom in the discourse of the Palestinian national movement in the 1960s and 1970s, see Nels Johnson, Islam and the Politics of Meaning in Palestinian Nationalism (London: Kegan Paul International, 1982).


The theme of crucifixion would continue to be evident in Palestinian national poetry, including in the text of poets with Muslim origins and a secular world view, such as Mahmud Darwish, Muin Bseiso, and Tawfiq Zayad. See A. Davies, The Crucified Nation: A Motif in Modern Nationalism (Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2010), p. 89–107.


Michelle Campos, Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Early Twentieth-Century Palestine (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), p. 66.


Campos, Ottoman Brothers, p. 77–80.


Michelle Campos, “‘Shared Homeland’ and Its Boundaries: Empire, Citizenship and the Origins of Sectarianism in Late Ottoman Palestine, 1908–1913” (PhD diss., Stanford University, 2003), p. 57.


Kayyali, Palestine. For details on the Palestinians who were executed in 1915 and 1916, see al-Hut, al-Qiyadat al-mu'assasat al-siyasiya fi Filastin, pp. 46–52.


According to Bayan al-Hut, they were not commemorated in Palestine; see al-Hut, al-Qiyadat al-mu'assasat al-siyasiya fi Filastin, p. 48.


James L. Gelvin, Divided Loyalties: Nationalism and Mass Politics in Syria at the Close of Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 175–81.


Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the Mandate (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2000), p. 106.


According to popular mythology, Ya‘rub (a name that appears in Islamic genealogies) is the forefather of the Arabs. Mentioning him in this context is probably a way to emphasize the Arab identity of Palestine.


Kayyali, Palestine, p. 50.


Khalidi, Palestinian Identity; Porath, Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement.


Filastin, 14 May 1921, p. 1.


Filastin, 11 June 1921.


Al-Yarmuk, 18 June 1930.


Yehoshua Porath, The Palestine Arab National Movement: From Riots to Rebellion (London: Frank Cass, 1977), p. 6. Porath mentions that a later letter to the same addressee, in which Hijazi denied the charges and begged the Arab Executive to lobby for his pardon, was not published at the time. The selective publication of Hijazi's letters was part of the conscious production of martyrological myth.


A telegram sent by the officer administering the government of Palestine to the secretary of state for the colonies, 30 July 1930. British National Archive, CO733/181/5.


Porath, Palestine Arab National Movement, p. 5–6.


A. Abu-Ghazaleh, “Arab Cultural Nationalism in Palestine during the British Mandate,” Journal of Palestine Studies 1, no. 3 (1972), pp. 37–63.


One prominent exception was an article by As‘ad Shuqayri, “The Mufti of Acre,” published in Mirat al-Sharq in June 1931 (quoted in “Rosh ha-oppozitsia ha-muslemit neged qidush rotshim,” Davar, 25 June 1931, p. 4). Shuqayri argued against considering the three to be martyrs, since they did not actively sacrifice their lives. It is noteworthy that both al-Shuqayri and the newspaper Mirat al-Sharq had received money from the Zionist movement for publishing pro-Zionist articles (see Hillel Cohen, Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917–1948 [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008], pp. 29, 117) and therefore it is possible that this article was one of them. At the same time, unlike most of the “articles by request,” this one was signed by its author.


Avner Ben-Zaken, “Communism as cultural imperialism: The affinities between Eretz-Israeli communism and Arab communism 1919–1948” [in Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Resling, 2006), p. 236.


See “The crucifixion conspiracy,” al-Yarmuk, 23 June 1930, p. 1; “On the cross,” al-Jami‘a al-‘Arabiyya, June 26 1930, p. 1; “The situation in Palestine and the Arab countries before the crucifixion of the three martyrs of Palestine,” Filastin, 26 June 1930, p. 2.


Appeared in black frame on the first page of al-Jami‘a al-‘Arabiyya, 26 June and 27 June 1930.


Al-Jami‘a al-‘Arabiyya, 25 June 1930.


Al-Jami'a al-'Arabiyya, 28 July 1930, p. 3.


Filastin, 17 June 1931, p. 1.


Al-Difa‘, 17 June 1934.


Mustafa Kabaha, “The Role of the Press and Its Discourse in the Arab-Palestinian National Struggle” [in Hebrew] (PhD diss., Tel-Aviv University, 1996), pp. 131–32.


Samih Hamuda, al-Wa‘i wa-l-thawra: Dirasa fi hayat wa-jihad al-Shaykh ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam (Jerusalem: Dar al-Shuruk, 1986); Johnson, Islam and the Politics of Meaning; Ghassan Kanafani, The 1936–39 revolt in Palestine, (Washington D.C.: Committee for Democratic Palestine, 1972).


Falastin, 22 November 1935.


Kanafani, The 1936–39 revolt in Palestine, p. 33.


Johnson, Islam and the Politics of Meaning.


Noah Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification: Palestinian Christians in Mandate Palestine, 1918–1948,” (PhD diss., New York University, 2010), p. 206.


Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification,” p. 35.


Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification,” p. 35; Porath, Palestine Arab National Movement, p. 142.


Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification,” p. 205.


Filastin, 20 November 1935.


Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification,” p. 205.


Al-Difa‘, 7 February 1936.


Ted Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt: The 1936–1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past (Minneapolis, MN, and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1995).


Johnson, Islam and the Politics of Meaning.


For detailed statistics, see Walid Khalidi, ed., From Haven to Conquest, appendix 4 “Note on Arab Casualties in the 1936–1939 Rebellion” (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1971), pp. 846–52.


‘Isa al-Sifri, Filastin al-‘Arabiyya bayna al-intidab wa-l-sihyuniyya (Jaffa: Matba‘at Maktabat Falastin al-Jadida, 1937). Bold letters in original.


“The unknown martyr,” Filastin, 20 November 1936, p. 2.


The national committees were established across various localities at the beginning of the Palestinian revolt in 1936 and were subjected to the Highest Arab Executive but kept a large degree of autonomy.


“Al-Shahid al-majhul,” al-Difa‘, 3 December 1936, p. 4.


Swedenburg, Memories of Revolt.


Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification,” pp. 227–68.


Bayan N. al-Hout, “The Palestinian Political Elite during the Mandate Period,” Journal of Palestine Studies 9, no. 1 (1979), pp. 85–111.


Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification,” pp. 227–68.


Ami Ayalon, Reading Palestine: Printing and Literacy, 1900–1948 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004), p. 143.


Aida Ali Najjar, “The Arabic Press and Nationalism in Palestine, 1920–1948” (PhD diss., Syracuse University, 1975), p. 82.


Najjar, “The Arabic Press and Nationalism in Palestine,” pp. 82–99.


Najjar, “The Arabic Press and Nationalism in Palestine,” pp. 100–103.


Najjar, “The Arabic Press and Nationalism in Palestine,” pp. 153–57.


Tamir Sorek, Arab Soccer in a Jewish State: The Integrative Enclave (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 14–30.


Still, newspapers found indirect and subtle ways to highlight the importance of 17 June. On 17 June 1936, Filastin republished the cartoon that appeared on Balfour Day in 1932, and except for the accurate date, the entire first page looked like it appeared on Balfour Day.


Susan Slyomovics, The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998) p. 184–87.


Samih Shabeeb, “Poetry of Rebellion: The Life, Verse and Death of Nuh Ibrahim during the 1936–39 Revolt,” Jerusalem Quarterly 25 (2006), pp. 65–78.


Nimr Murqus wrote in his memoirs that as a child in Kafr Yasif he was taught the poems of Nuh Ibrahim and other poets. Also, when Murqus was in third grade, Nuh Ibrahim himself came to their classroom. Nimr Murqus, Aqwa min al-nisyan: Risala ila ibnati (Kafr Yasif: Nimr Murqus, 1999), pp. 37–38.


Haiduc-Dale, “Nationalism and Religious Identification,” pp. 231–33.


Shabeeb, “Poetry of Rebellion.”


Khalid ‘Awd, Nuh Ibrahim: Sha'ir thawrat 1936–1939 (Nazareth: ‘Ayn Abl l Association, 1995); Nimr Hasan Hajab, al-Sha'ir al-sha‘abi al-shahid Nuh Ibrahim (Amman: al-Yazuri, 2006).

This content is only available via PDF.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview