This timely study of Arab and Palestinian nationalism offers a penetrating look at the soul of Syria, the loyalties of other Arabs, and issues related to the strategic control of neighboring lands since 1948. Syria's relationship to the Palestinians is an old one, prompting modern Syrians even today to refer to Palestine as Southern Syria. Genuine philosophic differences separate the two nationalisms, one defined in the post-Ottoman period, the other in the post-Israeli period. Ghada Talhami delineates the phases of this relationship following the ideological transformations of Palestinian leadership under Haj Amin al-Husseini, Shuqeiry, Habash, and Arafat. She examines Habash's Arab Nationalism Movement and its struggle to keep alive a radical and Arab form of nationalism, emphasizing the contributions of some noted Palestinians to pan-Arabism before and after Arafat. She also illustrates the pitfalls of the Syrian-Palestinian confrontation over Lebanon and the problematic nature of the PLO's strategic goals in that conflict. Using the National Archives of Syria, memoirs of the principal actors, and historical accounts in Arabic, Talhami has constructed a contemporary history of Syria and Palestine that reflects a new stage of scholarship on the Middle East.
Ghada Hashem Talhami is D. K. Pearsons Professor of Politics at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois. She is the author, most recently, of Palestine and the Egyptian National Identity and The Islamic Mobilization of Women in Egypt (UPF, 1996).