Subhi Sa'id al-Khadra (Arabic: صبحي الخضرا, 1895-1955) was a Palestinian Arab politician, lawyer, and newspaper columnist. As an Istiqlal leader, he helped organize anti-British and anti-Zionist activities in Palestine, including the 1936–39 Arab revolt, which resulted in his three-year imprisonment.
Al-Khadra was born in Safed, northern Palestine in 1895 as the sixth child of his family. The Khadra were a rural family of notables who migrated to the city decades before. When he was born, his 16-year-old brother Faris died. In 1901, his father died. Subhi received his primary and secondary education in Safed and then studied at the Ottoman Sultanate School of Beirut. His teachers included his future Arab nationalist colleagues, Rafiq al-Tamimi and Adil al-Azma. After graduating, he attended the Imperial War College in Istanbul where he graduated with a commission in the Ottoman Army.
During the beginning of World War I in 1916, he fought with the Ottomans in southern Palestine, but was captured by Allied Forces. Afterward, he joined Sharif Hussein ibn Ali's forces in the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans. He was wounded several times while fighting Ottoman troops. He was among the Arab forces led by Emir Faisal, son of Sharif Hussein, that entered Damascus in 1918 after driving out the remaining Ottoman forces. In Damascus, he joined the Arab nationalist organization, al-Fatat. From 1918 to 1920, he worked in the Directorate of Public Security in Faisal's administration. Also in this period, he married the sister of his colleague, Fu'ad Salim. During the Battle of Maysalun with the French Army on July 23, 1920, al-Khadra served as a combatant.
Fight against the British in Palestine
After the French deposed Faisal's Damascus-based government following their victory in Maysalun, al-Khadra returned to Palestine. There, he studied law and later opened his own practice. He wrote an article in 1930 that claimed Zionism was a "imperial British tool" and part of its divide-and-conquer method in the Arab world. He strongly supported Iraqi-Syrian unity and stressed that Palestine was the southern part of Syria. British Police investigations found that al-Khadra actively led Palestinian Arabs in the 1929 Palestine riots in Safed. As an attorney and a director of the Waqf (Islamic trust fund) in the Galilee, he helped establish the Young Men's Muslim Associations (YMMA) in the area.
Al-Khadra became one of the nine founders of the Istiqlal Party in 1932. He explained in an article in al-'Arab that the party's purpose was to counter factionalism and self-interest in Palestinian politics which had left the liberation movement without direction. He asserted the Palestinian national movement for independence from Britain deviated from its goals. The leading Istiqlal member in the Galilee (northern Palestine), he proposed holding annual anti-British rallies on the anniversary of the Battle of Hattin when Saladin's Muslim forces decisively defeated the Crusaders, restoring Palestine to the Islamic domain. The proposal was officially adopted after receiving Rashid al-Haj Ibrahim's support.
Al-Khadra greatly assisted Arab guerrilla leader Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam with forming paramilitary units and increasing membership in his anti-Zionist movement. Following his death in Ya'bad by British forces, al-Khadra, among others, organized the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine against the British Mandate. He was arrested the same year and incarcerated in the prison of Acre for three years until his release in mid-1939.
Later life and death
In September 1947, he was set to be the Palestinian Arab representative to the Arab League, but was ultimately replaced by fellow Istiqlal member, Izzat Darwaza. Al-Khadra died in Damascus in 1955. He was survived by his son Faisal al-Khadra and daughter Salma Khadra Jayyusi. The former is a banker in Kuwait and the latter is a writer.
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