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Nashashibi is the name of a prominent Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 family based in Jerusalem. Many of its members held senior positions in the government of Jerusalem. Raghib al-Nashashibi
Raghib al-Nashashibi
Raghib al-Nashashibi was a wealthy landowner and public figure during the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and the Jordanian administration. He was mayor of Jerusalem in 1920–1934.-Background:...

 was Mayor of Jerusalem (1920-1934).


The Nashashibis led by Naser al-Din al-Nashashibi migrated to Jerusalem in 1469 AD. He was chosen to guard the al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

 and Ibrahimiya Mosque
Cave of the Patriarchs
The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah , is known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque ....

 in Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

. From that period the family occupied jobs such as, merchants and local government officials until the establishment of Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. They fought against Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule in the early 1900s during the Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

. They contributed to the Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

 and were political rivals of the al-Husayni
Husayni is the name of a prominent Palestinian Arab clan formerly based in Jerusalem. Several members of the clan held important political positions such as Mayor and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and founded and led many Palestinian Arab Islamist groups such as the Holy War Army, the Palestine Arab...

 clan. Currently some members hold positions in the Palestine National Council and the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...


British Mandate (1920-1948)

The Nashashibi family had particularly strong influence in Palestine during the British Mandate Period from 1920 until 1948. Throughout this period, they competed with the Husaynis, another prominent Arab family, for dominance 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. 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 . 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 in Palestine.


The Nashashibi family was considered to be politically moderate when compared to the more militant views of the Husayni family. The Nashashibis favored political, rather than violent, opposition to the British mandate and Zionism . They were also willing to compromise in some areas that many Palestinians were not. For example, the Nashashibi family favored 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 favor 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 . 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. 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 .

Husayni-Nashashibi Rivalry

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. For example, Zionists often paid the Nashashibis to oppose the more extreme Husaynis’ policy . 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 (1937 – 1939)

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 . Raghib’s nephew, Fakhri Nashashibi helped organized counterrevolutionary forces known as “peace bands” to fight rebels and give information to the British and Zionists.

Ties to Jordan

In 1947, the UN voted in favor of the partition of Palestine, but the creation of a Jewish State was not yet set. 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 their Jewish National Home . 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 .

Notable members

  • Mufid Nashashibi
    Mufid Nashashibi
    Mufid Said Ahmad Nashashibi was, in 1942, was one of the founders of the Palestinian National Liberation League .Born in Jerusalem, Nashashibi was educated at St. George's School in Jerusalem, the American University in Cairo and Robert College in Istanbul...

  • Rosalind Nashashibi
    Rosalind Nashashibi
    Rosalind Nashashibi is a British artist of Palestinian descent.Born in Croydon, Nashashibi studied at the Glasgow School of Art, and as of 2003 is based in Glasgow...

  • Raghib al-Nashashibi
    Raghib al-Nashashibi
    Raghib al-Nashashibi was a wealthy landowner and public figure during the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and the Jordanian administration. He was mayor of Jerusalem in 1920–1934.-Background:...

  • Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi
    Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi
    Sharif Hikmat Nashashibi to a Palestinian-Jordanian-Lebanese Muslim father and an Iraqi-Syrian Christian mother. He is co-founder and chairman of the British based organization, Arab Media Watch....