chapter  9
28 Pages

On a Collision Course

ByIsaiah Friedman

The extremists took advantage of Emir Feisal's absence and seized the reins of power in Damascus. This chapter discusses the events after this incident. Prominent among the extremists were members of the al-Muntada al-Arabi and, particularly, al-Nadi al-Arabi Clubs, which were dominated by Palestinian activists. The Palestinians were furious at the idea that Palestine was to be separate. It was therefore logical for Feisal to turn to another source of power in Syria which he had formerly ignored—the conservative core of Damascus notables—the great landlords, the merchants, and businessmen. He began to patch up his differences with them and gave his unstinting support to the formation of the al-Hizb al-Watani party. Strong objections to Feisal's coronation were raised by Herbert Samuel, then on an official tour on behalf of the British Government to investigate the economic and political conditions in Palestine.