Nashashibi Family

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notable muslim palestinian family that established itself in jerusalem during the fifteenth century.

The Nashashibi family is said to be of Circassian or Kurdish origin It gained prominence during the late nineteenth century when some of its senior members served in the administration of the Ottoman Empire. Uthman al-Nashashibi was elected to the Ottoman parliament as deputy of the Jerusalem sanjak (province) in 1912. Throughout the mandate years, the name Nashashibi denoted opposition to al-Hajj Muhammad Amin al-Husayni, a founder of Palestinian nationalism and the leader of the Palestine national movement until 1948. The leadership of the Nashashibi family was also well known for its advocacy of a policy of compromise with the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the British Mandate authorities. This position did not receive the same degree of support enjoyed by the Husayni program, which was based on the total rejection of the British government's Balfour policy. After 1948 the political influence of the Nashashibi family sharply declined, as did the influence of some other notable Palestinian families.

Raghib Nashashibi (18831951) was elected to the Ottoman parliament in 1914. During the British Mandate, Raghib became the most influential figure in the family and head of the anti-Husayni ("Opposition") camp. Ronald Storrs, governor of the Jerusalem district, appointed Raghib mayor of Jerusalem in 1920 as a reward for not participating in the anti-British demonstrations during the alNabi Musa celebrations in Jerusalem on 4 April 1920. Since the post had been occupied by Musa Kazim al-Husayni, who was dismissed for allegedly inciting the al-Nabi Musa celebrants, Raghib's acceptance of the mayoralty raised questions about his nationalism and exacerbated the Husayni-Nashashibi rivalry. Raghib helped form the Literary Society in 1918 and the Palestinian Arab National Party in 1928. In 1934, after he had lost his position as mayor to Dr. Husayn Fakhri al-Khalidi, Raghib formed the National Defense Party. Although the party's main source of support was the mayors and elites of the larger towns in Palestine, it was also able to reach the peasantry through the network of prominent families that supported the Nashashibi camp. He also served on the Arab Higher Committee from 1936 to 1937. After Israel became a state in 1948, Raghib served as minister in the Jordanian government, governor of the West Bank, and member of the Jordanian senate.

Raghib's nephew Fakhri Nashashibi (18991941) was a colorful and controversial political organizer and, from late 1920 until his assassination in Baghdad, the family's strong-arm man. After holding a number of posts in the mandate government, including aide-de-camp to High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel, he became Raghib's chief aide. Fakhri was a principal organizer of opposition to alHajj Amin and, at the peak of the Palestine Arab Revolt of 19361939, he organized the "Peace Bands," with help from the British military and the Zionist movement, to protect the Nashashibi camp from the campaign of intimidation launched against it at al-Hajj Amin's bidding. Fakhri favored a compromise settlement with the British and the Zionists.

Isʿaf Nashashibi (18821948), son of Uthman and a writer known throughout the Arab world, was described by contemporaries as an "Arabic dictionary that walks on two feet." Ali Nashashibi co-founded in 1912 a decentralization party for the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire; in 1916, Cemal Paşa executed him on charges of treasonable political activities. Nasir al-Din Nashashibi (1924), a journalist and political writer living mostly in Egypt, served for some time as League of Arab States representative in Europe. Muhammad Zuhdi Nashashibi (1925), a politician, started his political career as a Baʿth party figure in Syria after 1960. He has occupied senior positions in the Palestine Liberation Organization, including membership on its Executive Committee, head of the Economics Department, and chair of the Palestine National Fund. He has also served the Palestinian Authority through membership in its Higher Council for Refugee Camps and as finance minister.

see also husayni, muhammad amin al-; khalidi, husayn fakhri al-; palestine arab revolt (19361939); palestine liberation organization (plo); palestinian authority.


Nashashibi, Nasser Eddin. Jerusalem's Other Voice: Ragheb Nashashibi and Moderation in Palestinian Politics, 19201948. Exeter, U.K.: Ithaca, 1990.

Porath, Y. The Emergence of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement, 19181929. London: Cass, 1974.

Porath, Yehoshua. The Palestinian Arab National Movement: From Riots to Rebellion, vol. 2, 19291939. Totowa, NJ; London: Cass, 1977.

muhammad muslih
updated by michael r. fischbach