Aref al-Aref

Aref al-Aref

Aref al-Aref (عارف العارف (1891-1973) was an Arab journalist, historian and politician who served as mayor of East Jerusalem in 1950s.

Biography

Aref al-Aref was born in Jerusalem in 1891. He studied in Istanbul and served as an officer in the Ottoman army in World War I. He was captured on the Caucasus front and spent three years in a prisoner of war camp in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. After the Russian Revolution he escaped and returned to Palestine. In Krasnoyarsk, he put out a prison camp newspaper in Arabic called Nakatullah [Camel of God] and translated Ernst Haeckel’s Das Welträetsel into Turkish.

Aref al-Aref edited the first Arab nationalist newspaper in Palestine after World War I, Southern Syria Suriyya al-Janubiyya, published in Jerusalem from 1919. Aref al-Aref advocated a policy of militant but non-violent opposition to Zionism and a mixture of Pan-Arabist and Arab nationalist politics.

In 1918, as the Arab National Movement gained strength in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Haifa, Acre and Nablus, Aref Al-Aref joined Haj Amin Al-Husseini, his brother Fakhri Al Husseini, Ishaaq Darweesh, Ibrahim Daeweesh, Jameel Al-Husseini, Kamel Al Budeiri , and Sheikh Hassan Abu Al-So’oud in establishing the Arab Club.

Aref al-Aref was arrested by British authorities following the Nebi Musa riots in April 1920. He escaped with fellow-accused Haj Amin al-Husseini to Syria. He was sentenced to ten years in prison in absentia on charges of fomenting the riots, in which 46 Jews were killed. Suriyya al-Janubbiyya was closed down by the British in 1920. Al-Aref returned to Palestine in 1929.

Political career

In 1936, he was a District Administrative Officer in Beersheba, where he built his family home. He worked as a civil servant under the British Mandate from 1933 to 1948. From 1950-1955, Aref al-Aref served as mayor of East Jerusalem. In 1963, he was appointed director of the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem.

Published work

His published work includes: Bedouin Love, Law and Legend, History of Beersheba and Its Tribes, History of Gaza, Al-Nakba wa al-Firdaous al-Mafqoud (Nakba and the Lost Paradise), and History of Jerusalem .

Death

Aref al-Aref died on July 30, 1973 in Ramallah.

References

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