The Rise and Fall of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, 1948–1993
Palestine and the Palestinians have had a long and eventful history. At the crossroads of the Old World and of three continents, Palestine was often the destination of conquerors and the center of conflict, for it is as well a Holy Land for three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Palestine was Arabized and Islamized beginning in the seventh century but experienced severely disruptive European interventions in three important periods of its history: the Crusades in the early medieval period, imperialism in the nineteenth century, and Zionism in the twentieth century. After nearly two centuries of rule by feudal European Christian kings, Palestine was restored to its Islamic and Arab heritage by the victory of Saladin over the Crusaders in Hittin in northern Palestine in 1187. And despite the four centuries (1517–1917) of Ottoman Turkish dominion over the country, it remained Arab and, of course, Islamic in its culture, but with a unique and important Christian Arab presence.