Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals (Feb 2007)

The Division of the Palestinians: Secular Nationalism versus Islamist Nationalism. From Islamism to Islam-Nationalism: The Case of Palestinian Hamas

  • Javier Travin

Journal volume & issue
no. 76
pp. 219 – 240


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When we refer to the Palestinians, generally we do so in relation to the conflict they have with Israel. However, within Palestinian society, another dispute, of a politicoideological nature, maintains the duel between the Islamist movement of Hamas and the once all-powerful and hegemonic Fatah. This intra-Palestinian conflict, less virulent and less prominent in the media than the inter-Palestinian one, but of extreme violence from one minute to the next, is what is analysed in this article. The insertion of the Islamistmovement into the Palestinian political picture, above all since its victory in the first national election it presented itself in, completely changed the political scene, dominated up until then by the secular nationalists of Fatah. It also changed the tactics of Hamas, in resorting to the ballot box to win an election and govern an institution created by the Oslo Accords, which the group opposed when they were drawn up. This change in tactics demonstrates the evolution of Hamas, from a missionary islamism to a political one. Thepolitical action of Hamas, restricted to the land of Palestine and without disallowing its social and religious labour and its armed struggle converts the Islamism it represents into a Palestinian nationalist Islamism.