By abdelaziz a. ayyad
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Additional resources for Arab nationalism and the Palestinians, 1850-1939
Although the societies defined themselves as ‘literary’ in their declared purposes, they were primarily politically oriented. Indeed, their formation could be viewed as a preparatory step in the process of political activism. Al-Jam’iyyah Al-’Ilmiyyah As-Suriyyah (the Syrian Scientific Society) was formed in 1847. Born as a literary society, its main activities involved the holding of symposia and the giving of speeches by its members, whose lectures concentrated on the Arabic language and heritage.
The other trend was Arab nationalist and was comprised mainly of Arab nationalists who obtained their education from both ahliyah (popular) schools and private schools, namely, Al-Ulliyyah AlUthmaniyyah Al-Islamiyyah (the Islamic Ottoman College), which was known for its role in supporting and enhancing Arab nationalism. This political group supported the idea of having Lebanon as part of the Arab ummah. 14 The two major newspapers issued in Palestine prior to World War I and after, namely Al-Karmel and Filistin, represented the two existing intellectual and political tendencies.
41 Al-Hut, op. 168. 31 The common elements between Palestinian nationals and Arab nationalists that placed the former among the latter were social background and origin. The Palestinian leadership in the late 19th and early 20th Century and the high-ranking Arab nationalists of the same period all descended from A’yan families whose families had historically suffered greatly as a result of the Ottoman implementation of reforms in the mid-19th Century. This development necessitates a serious evaluation of the Palestinian Arab struggle with Zionism up to 1939.