chapter  5
21 Pages

Political Islam and the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict

In the late twentieth century the resurgence of Islam, which in turn led to the emergence and rise of Islamist groups, thinkers and organizations, highlighted dimensions of a new political struggle to change the status quo in many authoritarian regimes in the Muslim world. The priority for such movements was to bring about, through revolution if necessary, the establishment of Islamic states based on the foundations of Islam and shaped by shari'a law. This new phenomenon was perceived widely, and more specifically in non-Muslim states, as a threat and challenge to the state and political systems of the Arab world, as well as other domains such as Afghanistan. The Middle East is important to the West both economically and strategically, and the prospect of a number of these states being ruled by political leaders in the name of Islam or states actually ruled by the clerical establishment is alarming. And while the achievement of the Islamist governance, through the framework of the state, has been limited to Iran in 1979, Afghanistan in 1980, Sudan in 1985 and the maintenance of states such as Saudi Arabia, the importance of political Islam in the late twentieth century lay in the way in which it was able to shape and alter societies at the grassroots.