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King Abdullah I (1882-1951)

King Abdullah I

  • Full name: Abdullah I bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi
  • Profession: Politician/King of Transjordan and Jordan from 1921 to 1951.
  • Nationality: Arab Bedouin from Hejaz (Part of Hashemite Dynasty)
  • Religion: Sunni Muslim
  • Relevance to Palestine: Played a key role in organizing the Arab Revolt in 1916 with T.E. Lawrence.

Abdullah, the brother of Faisal, was educated in Istanbul, Turkey and in Hijaz in Arabia. He was a member of the Ottoman legislature as a deputy for Mecca from 1909 till 1914. Between 1916 and 1918, Abdullah collaborated with T.E. Lawrence to arrange the Great Arab Revolt with his brother, Faisal. By the end of WWI, Damascus, Jordan, and most of the Arabian Peninsula were granted independence.

Abdullah was placed as King of Transjordan on April 21, 1921, in return for not attacking the French on behalf of the British Empire. On May 25, 1946, Abdullah became king of Transjordan’s successor: Jordan. The nation’s first constitution was placed in 1928 and its first parliament in 1929.

Throughout Abdullah’s rein, Anglo-Jordanian treaties were renewed and protected. The final treaty ended the Jordan’s status as a British mandate and changed the region’s name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

King Abdullah was assassinated in Jerusalem on July 20, 1951. A lone gunman shot the king on his way to the Friday prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, although the bullet was meant for the king’s grandson: Hussein, the future king of Jordan.

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Faisal I of Iraq (1885-1933)

Faisal I

  • Full name: Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi
  • Profession: Politician/President of Syria (1920)/President of Iraq (1921).
  • Nationality: Arab Bedouin from Hejaz (Part of Hashemite Dynasty)
  • Religion: Sunni Muslim
  • Relevance to Palestine: Participated in Paris Peace Conference where he signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement that promised an independent Arab State in the fertile crescent in return for his agreement to the Balfour Declaration.

Faisal was an Arab nationalist and political leader in the years during and after World War I. He was born in Taif near Mecca, a member of the Hashemite family (which included his brother, Abdullah) one of the region’s leading families as they claimed descent from the prophet Mohammed. He was raised and educated in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1908, after the Young Turk Revolution, Faisal returned to Mecca and served as a member of the Ottoman Parliament in 1913. While his father negotiated through the Hussein-McMahon correspondence with the British, Faisal joined Arab nationalists in Syria and drafted the secret Damascus Protocol which supported an Arab revolt against the Ottomans in return for British aid in the creation of an independent Arab state for Arabia and the Fertile Crescent regions.

After the Arab Revolt in 1916, Faisal signed an agreement with Chaim Weizmann who was head of the World Zionist Organization and later on the first president of Israel. The Faisal-Weizmann agreement, 1919, concluded that Faisal would accept Jewish immigration to Palestine according to the Balfour Declaration in return for the British promise that an independent Arab state would be established. In March 1920, Faisal was proclaimed King of Syria.

Britain was unable to stop France from ousting Faisal in 1920 from Syria. Britain replaced his old kingdom with Iraq in 1921. During his reign in Iraq, Faisal was able to balance relationships between the British, tribal sheikhs, and politicians. Iraq was the first Arab state to denounce its mandatory status and become a part of the League of Nations in 1932. Faisal’s death in 1933 caused imminent confusion in his kingdom under his young son, Ghazi.

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Haj Amin al-Husseini (1897-1974)

AMIN

  •  Full name: Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin al-Husseini
  • Profession: Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921 to 1937
  • Nationality: Palestinian
  • Religion: Sunni Muslim
  • Relevance to Palestine: Palestinian Arab nationalist and a Mufti in Mandatory Palestine. Advocated Palestine as an independent state and opposition of Zionism.

      Al-Husseini received his education in Islamic, Catholic, and Ottoman schools. His education ended when he served in the Ottoman army in World War I. When al-Husseini moved to Jerusalem, he began to actively oppose Zionism in order to create an independent Palestinian state. From 1921 to 1937, al-Husseini ruled as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He was appointed by the British High Commissioner, Sir Herbert Samuel as an act of friendship. Al-Husseini used his position to promote Islam and create anti-Zionist protests and opposition.

      From 1936 to 1939, an Arab revolt in Palestine took place. In 1937, a warrant was released for al-Husseini’s arrest as the leader of the revolt. Immediately, al-Husseini found refuge in Lebanon and Iraq until he rallied support from the international community.

     AMIN AND HITLER During World War II, al-Husseini allied with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, which included personally meeting Adolf Hitler in December 1941 and asking him to support Arab Independence. Hitler promised al-Husseini the leadership of Arabs after Germany defeated Britain. He was declared to be the “Fuhrer of the Arabic World” by Nazis.

      Yasser Arafat, Palestine’s future freedom fighter met the Grand Mufti, who became Arafat’s role model and mentor.

       In the years before the Palestine War in 1948, al-Husseini opposed the 1947 UN Partition Plan and King Abdullah of Jordan’s plans to annex Palestine. Also, he formed his own militia, “al-jihad al-muqaddas” or the Holy Jihad. In September 1948, he helped create the All-Palestine Government, which was rooted in Egyptian-ruled Gaza. The government gained limited recognition but ended by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959.

       Al-Husseini’s rule declined as his politics were discredited. He died in Beirut, Lebanon in July 1947, with no political influence in Palestine or anywhere else.

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