1st Edition

Palestine's Christians and the Nationalist Cause The Late Ottoman and Mandatory Periods

Edited By Erik Freas Copyright 2025
    368 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides an historical overview of Palestine’s Christian communities and their role in the Palestinian nationalist movement during the late Ottoman and British mandatory periods.

    More than being a history of Palestine’s Christian Arabs, the book focuses on Palestine’s Christians during the formative period of Palestinian Arab national identity, attentive to the broader topic of the relationship between nationalism and religion—in this case, between Arab identity and Islam. Whereas until recently historians have tended to assume that national and religious identities are distinct and mostly mutually exclusive things, more recent scholarship has addressed the fact that often there exists considerable overlap between the two, though it should be noted, often in ways that are not by any means inherently exclusive of those not belonging to the majority faith, as is the case here. The relationship is also an ever-changing one, hence the final chapter of the book, which functions as something of an epilogue regarding the current status of Palestine’s Christians vis-à-vis their place in the nationalist cause and relationship with the broader Muslim population.

    The book will be of interest to historians and scholars focused on the modern Middle East, Palestinian history, Muslim-Christian inter-communal relations, and the relationship between nationalism and religion.

    Introduction – On Nationalism and Religion

    1. Palestine's Christian Communities at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

    Erik Freas

    2. Zionism and Palestinian Arab National Identity

    Erik Freas

    3. “The Great Danger”? Palestinian Christian Journalists and Zionism in Late-Ottoman Palestine

    Emanuel Beška

    4. Building Communalism in Palestine: Muslim-Christian Relations under British Rule

    Nicholas E. Roberts

    5. When is a “Christian” Really an Arab? Or a Peasant? Intersecting Identities and Interreligious Relations

    Noah Haiduc-Dale

    6. Brothers in Suffering: Palestinian Christians and the Great Revolt, 1936-39

    Charles Anderson

    7. Orthodoxy and Solidarity: Niqula Khoury’s Journey to the League of Nations

    Sarah Irving and Karène Sanchez Summerer

    8. Testimonies of Christian Arab Leaders Before Investigative Committees in British Mandate Palestine, 1917-1948

    Johnny Mansour

    9. Baraka without Boundaries: The Christian-Muslim Encounter at Shared Shrines in West Bank Palestine

    Elizabeth Marteijn



    Erik Freas is the author of several peer-reviewed articles on late-Ottoman and British mandatory Palestine, as well as two scholarly manuscripts, Muslim-Christian Relations in Palestine during the Late-Ottoman Period and The Exclusivity of Holiness: The Role of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in the Formation of National Identities.

    "In Palestine’s Christians and the Nationalist Cause, scholars rigorously analyze the intricate dynamics of religious identity, national allegiance and historical narratives. This insightful work illuminates the pivotal role played by Palestine’s Christian communities within the Palestinian Arab nationalist movement, challenging simplistic dichotomies and offering profound insights into the complexities of communal identities in the region. The authors’ nuanced exploration, amidst shifting political landscapes and external influences such as Zionism, provides invaluable contributions to understanding the multifaceted nature of identity formation."

    Roberto Mazza, Visiting Lecturer Northwestern University, Executive Editor Jerusalem Unplugged

    "In nine compelling chapters, the authors of Palestine’s Christians and the Nationalist Cause offer a nuanced and timely reading of Muslim-Christian relations in late Ottoman and Mandate Palestine, illuminating the entangled history of individuals, relationships and events."

    Maria Chiara Rioli, Researcher, University of Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée