Palestinian Religious-Nationalism


Palestinian Religious-Nationalism represents the pairing of the Muslim Brotherhood’s strand of Islam with Palestinian nationalism. While subscribing to most of the Palestinian nationalist worldview, its adherents, in the footsteps of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banah, also see the emergence of a Palestinian state which applies Islamic law as a stage toward the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate over all the territories Muslims ever ruled. As long as Mandatory Palestine falls under non-Muslim rule and does not enter a treaty of nonaggression or peace with Muslims, it is deemed to be part of Dar al-Harb (House of War), an area which must be liberated of non-Muslim rule, including through violent means. Palestinians holding this worldview comprise roughly 30 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza.

Conflict Resolution Challenges

Core narratives

By virtue of surrounding the al-Aqsa Mosque, the land of Mandatory Palestine is an Islamic Waqf, an endowment for Muslims which should be ruled only by Muslims. Non-Muslim rule over the land must come to an end. In its stead a Palestinian state should be established, which will apply Islamic Law (Sharia). Ultimately, the State of Palestine would become part of a Caliphate – a single state ruled by a Muslim ruler (Caliph), extending across all territory ever ruled by Muslims, from the Philippines in the East to Morocco and southern Spain in the West.

Primary Legal System

Sharia as ruled by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic authorities. Secondarily, international law, with an emphasis on anti-colonial tenets and on the primacy of the right for national self-determination.

Desirable Trajectory

Advance application of Islamic law in all Arab and Muslim countries with an eye toward their unification under a single Caliphate.

Prominent Stakeholders

Hamas. The Southern Islamic Movement in Israel. The Northern Islamic Movement in Israel. Many members of the Muslim Brotherhood.


Sheikh Yassin, a Hamas founder and spiritual leader, offered a Hudna as an alternative, interim framing for a peace treaty, instead of a final status agreement which he deemed mutually exclusive with the desirable trajectory of Palestinian religious-nationalism. A Hudna is a truce for a specific, potentially renewable period from a broader religious struggle (Jihad). Hamas remained committed to this offer after Yassin’s death. Sheikh Abdallah Nimer Darwish, a founder of the Islamic movement within Israel, ruled that the sanctity of life supersedes the sanctity of the land. The Southern Islamic Movement in Israel operates in light of this ruling, and has consequently been supportive of a permanent two state solution.

Meet Sheikh Faluji: Palestinian Religious-Nationalism

Sheikh Faluji: on the Conflict