AP Report On East Jerusalem Arabs Contains Hints As To Their True Origins


The AP reports how more east Jerusalem palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. And while the report seems to endeavor to show both sides of the issue, it can’t hide the fact that Israeli citizenship comes with rights for the Arabs.

But there is actually another aspect of this report I wanted to focus on.

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

Palestinians who have sought a passport said they had to be pragmatic.

“I didn’t want to lose my right” to live in Jerusalem, Ruba Mueller, a descendant of the city’s prominent Nashashibi clan, said of her decision to become an Israeli.

Married to a German, the 37-year-old Jerusalem native feared that without the shield of citizenship, her extended stays in Germany would enable the Israeli authorities to strip her of her Jerusalem residency.

“I was born here, I am a Palestinian,” Mueller said. “I don’t want a visa that says I’m a tourist.”

Palestinian officials said east Jerusalem’s globally recognized status as occupied territory won’t change if more Arab residents get Israeli passports.

“The city will be liberated one day and these citizenships will mean nothing,” said Adnan Husseini, the official in charge of Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian Authority.

Let’s have a closer look at their origins.

The Nashashibi clan

According to Wikipedia:

The Nashashibis are reportedly of Kurdish, Turkmen or Arab origin (as their name being the equivalent of fletcher in English may indicate). They first became notable and prominent in Jerusalem with the advent of Prince (of the army) Naser al-Din al-Nashashibi who migrated (or led a military contingent ?) to Jerusalem from Egypt in 1469 CE.

In other words, Ruba Mueller, the woman quoted in the report and claiming she is “a palestinian,” is descended from elsewhere in the Middle East, with her ancestor reportedly migrating almost 400 years after the destruction of the second Jewish temple.

And there’s another interesting tidbit:

Despite their relatively favoured position with the Ottomans, some members of the family took part in the struggle against the Ottoman regime. The outstanding member of the family who opposed Ottoman rule and was executed for his pan-Arab nationalist agitation and advocacy was Ali Omar Nashashibi (also referred in some history books as Bitar (Vet-Doc) Ali), who had been a commissioned veterinary doctor and officer in the Ottoman army and a founder of one of the earliest pan-Arab nationalist movements, the Kahtani Society.

Pan-Arab nationalism was the idea that Arabs constitute a single nation, and should be united in one state. It flies in the face of the idea of a distinct palestinian Arab identity.

Husseini (al-Husayni clan)

According to Wikipedia:

The Husaynis migrated to Jerusalem in the 12th century after Saladin drove out the Crusaders from the city and much of the Levant

So the Husseinis came to the area over 1100 years after the destruction of the second Jewish temple, even later than the Nashashibis.

In other words, the names of the very people quoted in the AP report contain a hint as to who the true indigenous people of this land are (and who aren’t).

So when the AP writes this:

The citizenship debate reflects the unsettled status of Jerusalem’s 330,000 Palestinians — who make up 37 percent of the city’s population — 50 years after Israel captured and annexed the eastern sector.

the more accurate term would be “recaptured.”

Interestingly enough, the two clans have a connection

The Husseini and Nashashibi families
Many Faces – Tours about communities and families in Jerusalem (Heb.)

Thursday I 11.5.17 I at 17:00

A tour about the Nashashibi and the Husseini families, two important Palestinian clans, who led the national Palestinian movement during the last days of the Ottoman Empire and the time of the British Mandate. The two clans competed and fought each other while living in the same Jerusalem neighborhood. Visit magnificent historic family sites: the Hind Al-Husseini House, today a school and a museum; the American Colony Hotel; the Orient House; the mosque of Sheikh Jarrah and the villa of the writer Asa’af Nashashibi, today a Palestinian culture center and a coffee shop as well as a meeting with a member of the family.

The fact that the Jewish Tower of David is running this tour also says something about our desire to be inclusive.

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