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Arab Christians in British Mandate PalestineCommunalism and Nationalism, 1917-1948$
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Noah Haiduc-Dale

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748676033

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676033.001.0001

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1917–1923: Balancing Religion and National Unity

1917–1923: Balancing Religion and National Unity

(p.19) 1 1917–1923: Balancing Religion and National Unity
Arab Christians in British Mandate Palestine

Noah Haiduc-Dale

Edinburgh University Press

While Arabs’ first response was to identify themselves along national lines, British policy and international pressures altered the options available to Arab Christians. While the British sought to uphold the “status quo” concerning interreligious relations, by which they meant the reestablishment the Ottoman Empire’s millet system, they instead restructured society according to an imagined past. The British weren’t the only ones influencing societal structures in such a way: foreign clergy dominated the Greek Orthodox and Latin Catholic communities and sought to harness the laity in an effort to increase their own political power in the Holy Land. Despite such efforts to organize society along religious lines, Arab elites created the Muslim Christian Association, a political organization that stressed Muslim and Christian unity and sought to advance nationalism at the expense of religious identification. The chapter also examines variations in Christian perspectives by highlighting the views of three prominent figures from the period, Najib Nassar, ‘Isa Bandak, and Khalil al-Sakakini.

Keywords:   Muslim Christian Association, Greek Orthodox, Millet, Ottoman Empire, Najib Nassar, ’Isa Bandak, Khalil al-Sakakini

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