Jerusalem and the Al Husseini Family Throughout Recent History

Since the middle of the 18th century, Jerusalem has been, and continues to be, unlike any other city in the world. Jerusalem’s importance lies in its religious significance to members of the three Abrahamic faiths, as well as its political and economic weight due to its central location, which lies in the area connecting the Levant to Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and Europe.

Historically, Jerusalem has been majorly affected by a series of world events, including many outsider attempts to take command of the city and control this regional hub of Palestine and southern Syria. However, this led Jerusalem to undergo radical social, economic, and geographical changes, only increasing its significance and value.

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Since the mid 1800s, Jerusalem has witnessed six periods of rule:

The Ottoman Empire, Hamidi Rule (referring to Sultan Abdul-Hamid II), the Great Arab Revolt era, the British Mandate, Jordanian rule, and lastly, the Israeli occupation.

During these phases, Jerusalem has continued to thrive becoming the capital of Palestine and its administrative economic and political engine.

Throughout the six periods, the Al Husseini family played a vital role in leading Jerusalem, fostering its development, and representing its people’s best interest. Some historians have even described the family to be a house of rule in of itself; this, however, is an inaccurate claim, as, in reality, the Al Husseini family actually acted as mediators between the rulers and the public.

One of the most notable characters of the Al Husseini family was Ismail Mousa Taher Abdul-Samad Al Husseini. Mousa Al Husseini built a large house in Al Husseinyeh neighborhood and used it both as his home and as a meeting place and assembly point to host the political elite, business people and governors until the residence became known as “The House of Al Ummah.” Later, it was transformed into a hotel called “The New Orient House” and, after that, the house was used as headquarters for multiple organizations that constituted the Palestinian National Movement.