Palestinian Personalities

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TAHA, SAMI (1916-1946)

Palestinian trade unionist; born in Arraba area near Jenin; raised in Haifa; later came to the attention of Rashid al-Haj Ibrahim, the most influential man in Haifa at the time. Rashid hired Sami to work in the Arab Chamber of Commerce; important figure and leader of the Palestinian labour movement; after organizing an Arab labor movement similar to the Jewish "Histadrut." He became prominent in the Palestinian Arab Worker's Society (PAWS) which was established in 1925 as a moderate trade union movement; was about 30 years old when assassinated in Haifa on September 11, 1946.




Chosen for a higher position during the late Othoman Rule. Appointed as inspector on Governors. He succeded 'Abd al-Latif to the membership of the Higher Islamic Council as a representative of Nablus. He was an opponent of Haj Amin al-Husseini the head of the council. He was arrested and exiled by the British during WW2.



TANNOUS, IZZAT (1896-1969)

Born in Nablus in 1896; politician and medical doctor; representative of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee at the United Nations General Assembly during the British Mandate; politically pro-majlesiyoun; head of the Arab Office in London during the Great Revolt of 1936; tried to prevent partition by negotiating with the British and demanding that they alter their policy; headed the Arab Higher Committee delegation to the UN in the 1950s.






TOTAH, KHALIL (1886-1955)

Born in Ramallah on 20 May 1886 to Greek Orthodox parents; was brought up by the Society of Friends (Quakers), which his parents had joined; received his early education in the Friends' Schools in Ramallah (1901-03), in Brummana School, Lebanon (1903), and the English College in Jerusalem (1904); worked as a teacher at the Friends Boys' Training School, Ramallah, in 1905; studied at Oak Grove Seminary at Vassalboro, Maine, from 1906-07, then at Clark College, Worcester, Massachusetts from 1908-11, started majoring in English and Math but changed his major to English and History in the second year and graduated with a BA; returned to Palestine in 1912 and became Principal of the Friends' Boys School in Ramallah; attended Turkish military training service for three months in 1913 before leaving to the US, where he continued his studies at the Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, graduating with an MA in 1917 (thesis about ‘Friends Secondary Schools in America'); at the end of WWI, in 1918-19, served with the US Forces as a YMCA Secretary in France; returned to Palestine and became Headmaster of the Men's Teacher Training College in Jerusalem (later known as the Government Arab College) until 1925, when he resigned and joined Columbia University, earning a PhD in Philosophy (his dissertation, The Contribution of the Arabs to Education, was published in 1926); returned again to Palestine and became Principal of the Friends' Boys School, Ramallah, from 1927-44; was invited to the London's Society of Friends to meet with Parliament Members and the Colonel Minister in 1934; testified before the Royal (Peel) Commission on Palestine in Jerusalem in 1937; moved with his family to the US in 1944 and became Interim Pastor at the Congregational Community Church in Mattapoisett, Mass., in 1945; then served as Exec. Director of the Institute of Arab American Affairs in New York City from 1945-50; appeared before the Anglo-American Commission in Washington, DC, in 1946; spent the rest of his life as lecturer and writer in California; has published his doctoral dissertation The Contribution of Arabs to Education (1926; republished in 2002 by Gorgias Press); co-authored (with Omar Saleh Al-Barghouthi ) The History of Palestine ; went on a study tour to Jordan and Arab countries in 1952, and published his observations under the title Dynamite In the Middle East (Philosophical Library, Inc., New York, 1955); died in Whittier, California, on 24 March 1955.

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Mayor of Nablus in the early 1940s; among those who pleaded that a Palestinian delegation be allowed to participate in the armistice negotiation at Rhodes, 1948/49; member of various Jordanian cabinets in the 1950s; Minister of Agriculture and Defence. Appointed Minister of Defense and Military Governor(1957); assassinated in the Iraqi revolt (14 July 1958).




Poet; graduate of the American University of Beirut in 1934; from 1936-41 served as sub-director in charge of the Arabic Programme Section of the Jerusalem Palestine Broadcasting Station; died on May 2, 1941 in Jerusalem.