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Arab Higher Committee

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Arab Higher Committee  

1. A group established in British Mandatory Palestine by Haj Amin al-Husseini (al-Husayni), Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, to lead the Palestine Arab uprising of 1936-1939. 2. Ostensibly the same group, moved to Cairo following World War II, and still headed by the Mufti, but under the aegis of the Arab League. The AHC represented Palestinian Arab interests as defined by the most extreme factors in Arab political life, rejecting all compromise on rights of Jews in Palestine. The extremism became more pronounced after World War II, when the committee was dominated by members of the Husayni family.

Members of the Arab Higher Committee originally included all factions. In 1937, many of the Committee members fled or were expelled from Palestine after the Mufti was implicated in the murder of the British commissioner for Northern Palestine. The Mufti fled to Beirut and then to Iraq, where he helped to organize the pro-axis coup (see  The Iraq pro-Axis Coup, the Mufti and the Farhoud ). When the coup was suppressed by the British, the Mufti fled to Nazi Germany, where he organized SS units on behalf of the Nazis and broadcast inflammatory messages. Following the war, the French allowed him to escape while he was awaiting trial as a war criminal, and he made his new headquarters in Cairo.

Members of the Arab Higher Committee in 1936 included:

Amin al-Husayni (who was appointed its president)

Awni Abd al-Hadi, the leader if the Istiqlal (Independence) Party, who was  General Secretary

Jamal al-Husayni, Palestine Arab Party (PAP) Husayni's nephew.

Raghib al-Nashashibi, National Defence Party (NDP)  eventually leader of opposition clans that were liquidated by Husayni.

Yaqub al-Ghusayn, Youth Congress Party (YCP)

Abd al-Latif Salah, National Bloc (NB)

Husayn al-Khalidi, Reform Party (RP)

In April 1946 the members of the Arab Higher Committee were:

From Husayni's PAP:

Amin al-Husayni

Jamal al-Husayni

Tewfiq al-Husayni

Yusif Sahyun

Kamil al-Dajani,

Emile al-Ghury

Rafiq al-Tamimi

Anwar al-Khatib

Additional members:

Dr Izzat Tannus (an independent Christian medical doctor);

Antone Attallah (a member of the Greek Orthodox community);

Ahmad al-Shukairi (a lawyer from Acre and an Arab nationalist);

Sami Taha (head of PAWS)

Dr Yusif Haykal (Independent, mayor of Jaffa)

Shukhairi ( or Shokhairi), like the Husaynis, was pro-Nazi. He eventually headed the Palestine Liberation Organization.


Synonyms and alternate spellings: 

Further Information:

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Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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