Ruhi al-Khatib

Rouhi al-Khatib (1914–1994; Arabic: روحي الخطيب‎, Ruḥi al-Khateeb) was the mayor of Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) from 1957 to 1994.

Rouhi al-Khatib

His term of service officially came to an end on 29 June 1967, after Israel annexed East Jerusalem and dissolved the city council of East Jerusalem. Al-Khatib did not acknowledge his dismissal, but remained in Jerusalem and continued to work as director of the Arab Hotels Company and the Jerusalem Electric Company.[1]

According to Meron Benvenisti, the Israeli administrator of East Jerusalem at the time, in the three weeks following the day the Israeli Defense Force took control of the city in the Six Day War and until the dissolution of the city council of East Jerusalem, Al-Khatib was working to immediately reinstate the municipal services and restore the calm to the city. He even helped in dealing with sensitive issues such as: surrender of weapons held by the civilian population and the removal of squatters from the destroyed synagogues in the Jewish Quarter of theOld city of Jerusalem. His actions attracted criticisms from fellow Arabs, who accused him of collaborating with the occupation. However, hissummary dismissal made him a vocal opponent of the occupation.[1]

In March 1968 he was woken by Israeli policemen at 3:00 AM and told he was wanted for interrogation. But instead of being taken to interrogation, he was given a deportation order alleging that his presence in Jerusalem constituted a danger to the security of Israel. He was then escorted to the border and handed over to the Jordanian authorities. He was not allowed to take anything with him, and his family learned of his expulsion from the radio.[citation needed]

His wife and two children decided to stay in Jerusalem, hoping for his return. In the autumn of 1969, Mrs. Khatib was detained and interrogated. She was then sentenced to three months in prison. No reason was given. After protests from many people, Mrs. Khatib was released after fifteen days. She was then given a permit to visit her husband and undergo an operation in Beirut. When she tried to return to Jerusalem after her convalescence, she was turned away at the border and refused entry. (Gilmour, pp. 136–137)

Jerusalem Municipality Coucil and Governor of Jerusalem Mr. Daod Abu-Ghazalel – 1965.

Mayor of Jerusalem delivering speech at the “Laying of the Foundation-Stone Ceremony” of Al-Quds University 1966 in the presence of King Hussein of Jordan & Prince of Kuwait.

Mayor of Jerusalem Rouhi al-khatib & wife Mrs. Zaeda al-Khatib – 1966 Inauguration of St. John’s Hospital in Jerusalem

Israeli War Plane attacking Hospital on Mount of Olives – Jerusalem 1967 War.

Mayor of Jerusalem delivering speech at UN Security Council 1968


Jerusalem’s champion – Rouhi al-Khatib By: Michael Adams Published in: The Guardian’ Date of issue: Monday, 18 July 1994

ROUHI AL-KHATIB, who has died aged 81, was one of the first Palestinian “notables” – as opposed to hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens – to be deported by the Israeli government in the wake of the June War of 1967. There was no suggestion that he had committed any offence against any known law, Israeli or Jordanian. On the contrary, he was penalised because he agreed with the UN Security Council in opposing Israel’s annexation of Arab Jerusalem and the measures which the Israeli government was taking to alter the status and the skyline of the city. The penalty was a harsh one: exile for a quarter of a century from the city where he was born and which he served as mayor for 10 years (1957-67) before the Israeli occupation.

Our first meeting in Jerusalem, shortly before his deportation, was interrupted by a messenger bringing news of the expropriation of more than 800 acres of Arab land on and around Mount Scopus. Rouhi al-Khatib did his best to fight the battle for Jerusalem in the international arena but was too gentle and straightforward to be a match for the Israelis and their influential supporters in America. He was deeply disillusioned by the failure of the western powers, especially Britain, with its past connection with Palestine, to restrain Israeli expansionism. Had the world listened to him and insisted on the rule of law, the Israelis would not have been able to build on that stolen land on Mount Scopus the first of the settlements which were to obstruct the way to peace. In exile in Jordan Rouhi continued to work for his beloved Jerusalem as a propagandist, a fund-raiser and in whatever way lay open to him. He was a support to all those who followed him into exile because in one way or another they fell foul of the Israeli administration. This was not difficult: even the ebullient mayor of Israeli Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek, who took over Rouhi’s responsibilities after the occupation, was deeply critical of his government’s handling of Arab interests and susceptibilities, which he blamed on “a complete lack of consideration towards the way of life and the culture of east (that is Arab) Jerusalem”.

Al-Khatib returned to the West Bank in May 1993, and he died 5 July 1994.[1]


Major Achievements:

His role in establishing Al-Quds University in Jerusalem:

The idea of establishing an institution of higher learning in the outskirts of Jerusalem was conceived early in 1957, when a Board of Trustees was formed in Kuwait. The Board elected an Executive Committee entrusted with bringing this grand project into being. The Committee have the following distinguished members in it: – His Excellency Abdul Aziz Hussein [ President ] – Al-Haj Yusuf Al-Fuleij – Mr. Zuhair Al-Karmi [ Secretary ] – Mr. Yakoub Al-Hamad [ Member ] – His Excellency Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Awadi [ Member ] – Mr. Said Breik [ Member ] – His Excellency Sheikh Sabah A. Al-Jaber

The Committee entrusted the honorable Mr. Rouhi Al-Khatib, the Mayor of Jerusalem with the task of assisting the Executive Committee in its endeavors and to initiate the constructural work, which actually began in 1965. Work on the site was interrupted by the outbreak of the 1967 war. Nevertheless, a sizable section of the buildings on the campus was completed later and utilized as a primary and secondary school servicing basically Palestinian orphans. In October 1979, the College of Science was established, but was forced to close down by an Israeli military order, and was reopened in October 1981, as a College of Science and Technology.

The College was governed by a local Palestinian Board of Trustees composed of the following:

– Mr. Zuhair Al-Karmi [ Vice-Chairman ] – Mr. Taiseer Kana’an [ Secretary ] – Mr. Anton Safieh [ Treasurer ] – Mr. Nihad Abu Gharbieh [ Member ] – Dr. Ishak Al-Huseini [ Member ] – Dr. Amin Al-Khatib [ Member ] – Mr. Yusuf Al-Budeiri [ Member ] – Mr. Husni Al-Ashhab [ Member ] – Mr. Ibrahim Daqqaq [ Member ] – Dr. Mohammed Said Kamal [ Member ] – Dr. Amin Majaj [ Member ] – Mr. Mohammed Nuseibeh [ Member ] – Sheikh Ali Tazziz [ Member ] – Dr. D.N.D. Tlil [ Member ] – Mr. Hafez Toukan [ Member ]


Furthermore the “Friends of the College Society” was established in Amman-Jordan, the Executive Committee had the following individuals on its board :

– H.E. Sheikh Abdul Hamid As-Saeh [ ] – Haj Mohammed Ali Budeir [ Vice-Chairman ] – H.E. Rouhi Al Khatib [ Secretary ] – Mr. Osama D. Miqdadi [ Treasurer ] – Mr. Raouf Abu Jaber [ Member ] – H.E. Moh’d Nazzal Armouti [ Member ] – Mr. Ala’ Uddin An-Nammari [ Member ] – H.E. Moh’d Khalaf [ Member ] – H.E. Raif Nijm [ Member ] – H.E. Rashid Uraiqat [ Member ] – Mr. Zaki El Ghoul [ Member ] – Mr. Shakib Shakhshir [ Member ]

In 1984, the College of Science and Technology unified with the three other Colleges (College of Islamic Studies, College of Nursing, and College of Arts) and established the nucleus of Al-Quds University, which became later a member of the Union of Arab Universities and the Union of International Universities.

In 1995, Al-Quds University with all its Colleges began the implementation of unified laws and regulations. The name of the College became The Faculty of Science and Technology.

The College is located southeast of the City of Jerusalem, in the town of Abu- Dis. The area of the Campus is around 190,000 square meters. The Faculty Campus hosts classrooms, staff offices, laboratories, workshops, a library, a cafeteria, several playgrounds, bookstore and computer centers.


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