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Nashashibi (Arabic: النشاشيبي‎; transliteration, an-Nashāshībī) is the name of a prominent Palestinian family based in Jerusalem. Many of its members held senior positions in the government/ rule of the Mamluks, Ottoman, British mandate, Jordan and quasi semi self-rule (PA) of Palestine. Post WWI Raghib al-Nashashibi was Mayor of Jerusalem (1920–1934). A branch of the family, Al Hassani, are reputed to have moved to Damascus in Syria, an other mini branch, the AKATTAN, is presumed to have been established in Turkey of the offspring of a major Nashashibi Ottoman officer who withdrew to Turkey after WWI and the fall of Palestine from Ottoman rule. Little is known about the whereabouts in Egypt of the presumed source of the family.


The Nashashibis are reputedly of Kurdish/Turkoman or Arab origin (as their name being the equivalent of fletcher in English may indicate). They first became notable and prominent in Jerusalem with the advent of Prince (of the army) Naser al-Din al-Nashashibi who migrated ( or led a military contingent ?) to Jerusalem from Egypt in 1469 AD. He was chosen to guard and be the custodian of Al HARAMIN (the two Sacred Shrines): the al-Aqsa Mosque and Cave of the Patriarchs/the Al Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Nasser Eddin is also credited for being the first official to bring "piped"/channelled water to Jerusalem from the Bethlehm (Al Khader) area. A gate to the esplanade of the Jeruslam Harem (The Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque) is named after him.

The family became one of the prominent Moslem families of Jerusalem as landowners, merchants, public/government officials and later as professionals. As a family of "notables" in Jerusalem a prominent elder of the family, Rashid, was one of two people chosen to represent Jerusalem, in the Ottoman Majlis. Despite their relatively favoured position with the Ottomans, some members of the family partook in the struggle against the Ottoman regime. The outstanding member of the family to oppose Ottoman rule was executed for his pan Arab/ nationalist agitation and advocacy: Ali Omar Nashashibi. Ali Omar is referred to in some history books as Bitar (Vet-Doc) Ali, having been a commissioned Veterinary Doctor and officer in the Ottoman army and a Founder of one of the earliest pan Arab nationalist movements: the Kahtani (QAHTANI) Society. He was executed by Jamal Pasha in Beirut at the Sahet Al Shuhada (Place des Martyres) in 1917 for conspiracy and political agitation within the Ottoman Army. They contributed to the Arab Higher Committee and were political rivals of the older al-Husayni clan. Currently some members hold prominent positions in the Palestine National Council and the Palestine Liberation Organization.[1]

British Mandate (1920-1948)[edit]

Nashashibi family, 1929. Raghib al-Nashashibi standing above the bride

The Nashashibi family had strong influence in Palestine during the British Mandate Period from 1920 until 1948. Throughout this period, they competed with the Husaynis, another prominent Arab Jerusalem family, for the leadership of the Arab political scene in Palestine. The views of these two families largely shaped the divergent political stances of all Arabs in Palestine at the time.[citation needed] The Nashashibi family was led by Raghib Nashashibi, who was appointed Mayor of Jerusalem in 1920. Raghib was an influential political figure throughout the British Mandate, and helped form the Palestinian Arab National Party in 1928 and the National Defense Party in 1934.[2] He also served as a minister in the Jordanian government, governor of the West Bank, member of the Jordanian Senate, and the first military governor of the West Bank in Palestine.


The Nashashibi family was considered to be politically moderate when compared to the more militant views of the Husayni family. The Nashashibis favoured political, rather than violent, opposition to the British mandate and Zionism.[3] They were also willing to compromise in some areas that many Palestinians were not. For example, the Nashashibi family favoured the partition proposed by Britain in 1937 and reservedly accepted the 1939 White Paper, though they backtracked when attacked by political opponents. Similarly, the Nashashibi also were in favour of Arab participation in the Legislative Council proposed by the British mandate, which would feature representatives of the various religious groups in Palestine at the time. Generally, the Nashashibi family and their political following advocated compromise with Zionists and the British Mandate. This fell in stark contrast to the views of the Husaynis, who advocated a total rejection of the Balfour Declaration policy.[4] The Palestine Arab Party, formed in 1935 by the Husayni’s in response to the formation of Nashashibi’s National Defense Party, believed in the maximalist dissolution of the Jewish National Home and creation of a solely Arab government.[5] The Nashashibis, however, felt that Arabs were most likely to achieve their political goals by working within the Mandate system, rather than fighting against it.[6]

Husayni-Nashashibi Rivalry[edit]

Throughout the British Mandate period, the Husaynis and Nashashibis were the two most powerful families in Arab Palestine and they constantly competed for power while under British rule. While the two families did not differ on their long-term goals (stopping the influx of European Jews and preserving the Arab Palestinian state), they disagreed on the best way to achieve those goals. The Husayni family rejected the British mandate and Zionism as a whole, while the Nashashibis felt that the best recourse was through political compromise. Politics as a whole in Palestine largely diverged along the rift created by these two families. This produced a state of factionalism among Arabs that often crippled them in fighting the forces of Zionism. Additionally, partisan bickering often resulted in one family blocking the policies of another family that genuinely may have been in the national interest. Unfortunately for Arabs, their ability to effectively negotiate was often hindered by their inability to present a united front on the issue of Zionism.

Arab Revolt (1936–1939)[edit]

The Arab Revolt was in some ways a rejection of the moderate policies of the Nashashibi family. Sparked by opposition to Jewish immigration, which had greatly increased due to anti-Semitism in Europe, the Arab revolt began to target members of the Nashashibi family as well as the Jewish community and British administrators. As a result, Raghib Nashashibi was forced to flee to Egypt after several assassination attempts ordered by the mufti, Hajj Amin al-Husayni.[7] Raghib’s nephew, Fakhri Nashashibi helped organized forces known as “peace bands” to fight insurgents and give information to the British.

Ties to Jordan[edit]

In 1947, the UN voted in favour of the partition of Palestine, but the Arab side did not accept it. A conflict was to erupt that would decide that the Zionists, with their superior leadership, training and arms received in WWII, would gain the partition and independent state they desired in Palestine.[8] However, during the time before the proclamation of the Jewish State, other Arab states staked their interest in helping the Palestinian Arabs. Egypt came to the aid of the Husayni mufti, and the Nashashibi’s supported King Abdullah of Jordan. Despite outside aid, events such as that at Dayr Yasin caused an Arab exodus, and the situation turned in favor of the Zionists, thus leading to the proclamation of Israel as a state by David Ben-Gurion in 1948.

Following Israeli statehood in May 1948, the mufti attempted to form from Egypt an Arab government of all of Palestine in Gaza, but Abdullah of Jordan prevented this and annexed the larger remaining Arab area of Palestine (now called the West Bank) to Transjordan, forming the Kingdom of Jordan. Raghib al-Nashashibi was then appointed the first military governor of Palestine, which along with the backing by Arab states (other than Egypt) signaled the defeat of the mufti.[9]

Notable members[edit]

  • Rashid Nashashibi : member of the Ottoman Majliss for Jerusalem,circa 1910
  • Raghib al-Nashashibi, Mayor of Jerusalem
  • Mohamed Zuhdi al Nashashibi, Fighter then officer in Jaish Al Inkath (Salvation Army),PLO and later PA signor financial officer
  • Nabila Ibrahim al Nashashibi, First female MD in the family and member of PNA (Palestine National Assembly)
  • Ibrahim Bakr al-Nashashibi:First Arab Moslem Electrical engineer in Palestine President Jordan Engineering Association
  • Mufid Nashashibi


  1. ^ The Nashashibis
  2. ^
  3. ^ [Smith, Charles. Palestine and Arab-Israeli Conflict. Sixth Edition. 2007. p.111-225.]
  4. ^
  5. ^ [Smith, Charles. Palestine and Arab-Israeli Conflict. Sixth Edition. 2007.]
  6. ^ Palestinian Arab and Jewish Leadership in the Mandate Period
  7. ^ [Smith, Charles. Palestine and Arab-Israeli Conflict. Sixth Edition. 2007. p.111-225.]
  8. ^ [Smith, Charles. Palestine and Arab-Israeli Conflict. Sixth Edition. 2007. p.199.]
  9. ^ [Smith, Charles. Palestine and Arab-Israeli Conflict. Sixth Edition. 2007. p.207.]