Aref al-Aref
Aref al-Aref was a 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...

 journalist, historian and politician who served as mayor of East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 in the 1950s.


Aref al-Aref was born in Jerusalem in 1891. He studied in Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 and served as an officer in the 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...

 army in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. He was captured on the Caucasus front and spent three years in a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 camp in Krasnoyarsk
Krasnoyarsk is a city and the administrative center of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Yenisei River. It is the third largest city in Siberia, with the population of 973,891. Krasnoyarsk is an important junction of the Trans-Siberian Railway and one of Russia's largest producers of...

, Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. After the Russian Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 he escaped and returned to Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

. In Krasnoyarsk, he put out a prison camp newspaper in Arabic called Nakatullah [Camel of God] and translated Ernst Haeckel
Ernst Haeckel
The "European War" became known as "The Great War", and it was not until 1920, in the book "The First World War 1914-1918" by Charles à Court Repington, that the term "First World War" was used as the official name for the conflict.-Research:...

’s Die Weltraethsel into Turkish.

Aref al-Aref edited the first Arab nationalist newspaper in Palestine after World War I, Southern Syria
Southern Syria (newspaper)
Suriyya al-Janubiyya was the name of a newspaper published in Jerusalem beginning in September 1919 by the lawyer Muhammad Hasan al-Budayri, and edited by Aref al-Aref, with contributions from, amongst others, Haj Amin al-Husayni....

 Suriyya al-Janubiyya, published in Jerusalem from 1919. Aref al-Aref advocated a policy of militant but non-violent opposition to Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 and a mixture of Pan-Arabist and Arab nationalist politics.

In 1918, as the Arab National Movement gained strength in Jerusalem, Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

, Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

, Acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

 and Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

, 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
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 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 formenting the riots. 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
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

, 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
Rockefeller Museum
The Rockefeller Museum, formerly the Palestine Archaeological Museum, is an archaeological museum located in East Jerusalem that houses a large collection of artifacts unearthed in the excavations conducted in Ottoman Palestine beginning in the late 19th century.The museum is under the management...

in 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 .
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