Arab Higher Committee


Arab Higher Committee

The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Palestine, established in 1936. It was formed by:
*Amin al-Husayni (who was appointed its president) and
*Raghib al-Nashashibi, National Defence Party (NDP), along with
*Jamal al-Husayni, Palestine Arab Party (PAP),
*Yaqub al-Ghusayn, Youth Congress Party (YCP),
*Abd al-Latif Salah, National Bloc (NB),
*Husayin al-Khalidi, Reform Party (RP) and
*Awni Abd al-Hadi, the leader of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party, who was appointed General Secretary (Levenberg, 1993, p. 7). It was outlawed by the British in 1937 (Sayigh, 2000, p. 8).

As of April 1946 the members were:
*Jamal al-Husayni,
*Tewfiq al-Husayni,
*Yusif Sahyun,
*Kamil al-Dajani,
*Emile al-Ghury,
*Rafiq al-Tamimi and
*Anwar al-Khatib (all members of or affiliated with the Palestine Arab Party);
*Dr Izzat Tannus (an independent Christian medical doctor);
*Antone Attallah (a member of the Greek Orthodox community);
*Ahmad al-Shukayri (a lawyer from Acre and an Arab nationalist);
*Sami Taha (head of PAWS) and
*Dr Yusif Haykal (the mayor of Jaffa, who was politically independent) (Khalaf, 1991, pp. 121-122).

On September 26, 1937, the British district commissioner of Galilee, Lewis Yelland Andrews, was assassinated in Nazareth. This caused Britain to take action the following day including the outlawing of the Arab Higher Committee and the arrest of several of its members. Amin al-Husayni managed to escape arrest and went into exile.

By mid-1946, when the committee moved to Cairo due to Amin al-Husayni's exile from the British Mandate for Palestine and then from Europe (he had spent the war trying to get aid for the Palestinian cause from Hitler), membership had dwindled to just Jamal al-Husayni (acting chairperson), Husayn al-Khalidi (secretary), Ahmad Hilmi Pasha and Emile al-Ghury. [David Tal (2004) "Israel-Arab War, 1948 -1949/ Armistices" Routledge ISBN 071465275X p. 7] but at the beginning of 1947 the AHC was expanded to include the four remaining core members plus Hasan Abu Sa'ud, Izhak Darwish al-Husayni, Izzat Darwaza, Rafiq al-Tamimi and Mu'in al-Madi. This restructuring of the AHC to include additional supporters of Amin al-Husayni was seen as a bid to increase his political power (Khalaf, 1991, p. 129-130).

Jordanian politician Anwar Nusseibeh criticized the Arab Higher Committee's performance during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War as being unaware and ineffective at best and ambivalent at worst to the needs of the Palestinian Arab population. In a personal note, Nusseibeh wrote, "Obviously they thought of the Palestine adventure in terms of an easy walkover for the Arabs, and the only point that seemed to worry them was credit for the expected victory. ... [They] were determined that the Palestine Arabs should at all costs be excluded. [Tom Segev "One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate". Trans. Haim Watzman. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. ISBN 0316648590 p.510]

Footnotes

Bibliography

*Khalaf, Issa (1991). "Politics in Palestine: Arab Factionalism and Social Disintegration, 1939-1948". SUNY Press. ISBN 0791407071
*Levenberg, Haim (1993). "Military Preparations of the Arab Community in Palestine: 1945-1948". London: Routledge. ISBN 0714634395
*David Tal (2004) "Israel-Arab War, 1948 -1949/ Armistices" Routledge ISBN 071465275X
*Sayigh, Yezid (2000). "Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993". Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198296436
*Segev, Tom. "One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate". Trans. Haim Watzman. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2001. ISBN 0316648590


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