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By Yazīd Ṣāyigh, Institute for Palestine Studies (Washington, D.C.)

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8 The collapse of the revolt in 1939 was overshadowed by the outbreak of World War Two, during which Nazi Germany perpetrated its massive slaugh­ ter of the Jews and other peoples in Europe. In Palestine, meanwhile, the British army divided its attention between guarding against the threat of invasion by German or Vichy French forces and suppressing the Zionist military under­ ground. The Palestinian leadership was decimated, its main figures in hiding outside the country or exiled to detention camps in remote parts of the British empire.

However, organizational problems and political disunity afflicted the nationalist camp, as 'a broad alliance of peasants, workers and radical elements of the middle class . . began to implement social and political programs that challenged ayan (notable) leadership of the nation­ alist movement and began to threaten the bases of mercantile-landlord domi­ nance'. 8 The collapse of the revolt in 1939 was overshadowed by the outbreak of World War Two, during which Nazi Germany perpetrated its massive slaugh­ ter of the Jews and other peoples in Europe.

18 In this process lay the makings of country nationalism or state patriotism. The Arab and Palestinian experiences of state-building diverged almost com­ pletely. Any commitment by Britain to establish constitutional government or a colonial state in Palestine was to the Jewish community, not the Arab. In 1 922, the mandate authorities proposed the election of a mixed Jewish-Arab legisla­ tive council as a means of devolving responsibility for communal affairs, but remained opposed to Palestinian statehood .

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