Dear Friends of Palestine,
last week the editorial board of Palestine-Family.net (PFN) were pleasantly surprised to see photos of Palestinian individuals and couples living in the USA posted to the site. And we heard from Palestinians over here in Bethlehem, that they were more than happy to see signs of life from far-away familiar faces. Again we had discovered another use of PFN…. Just to send a smiling face - from Texas in this case - and say hello to the homeland, is in fact a very good use of the site. At a basic level it is a demonstration that Palestinians exist, wherever they live. We can still smile, therefore we are...
Recently an American journalist visited us and said that any demographic figure about Palestinian history is contested. Were we to say that Arab Palestinians constituted 90% of the Palestinian population just before World War 1, he said there would be somebody "on the other side" who would contend that the figure was 50/50. Showing Palestinian existence through family trees and family stories across time is a powerful way of asserting the national existence and denying the claim that Palestinians are not deeply rooted in their land.
Here is an example. Reprinted below is an entry submitted by the Qattaineh family in Jerusalem. It describes how the family is related to the famous Jerusalem scholar Mujir el-din Al-Hanbali and how the name came into being. One of the family’s traders - Hajj Mohammed Quttainah - was the first to acquire more than third of the old city’s land in ownership to eventually register it as Waqf (mortmain) in 1225 Hijri (1810 AD)! That is a unique history for all those visitors and tourists to the Old City to know!
Or take the history of the family of Toine’s wife, Mary Morcos, whose family from Yemen immigrated to Palestine in the early Turkish era. Mary and Toine delved deep into the shoe boxes of Abdalla Morcos, Mary's father, to discover all kinds of documents, even from the Turkish times, now scanned and available on Palestine-Family.net.
We also received some new items about the Artas Lettuce Festival, which has been visited by many hundreds of people and which is becoming one of the major folklore festivals in Palestine. Particularly impressive is the fact that the festival is almost completely organise by the small village itself.
Does it carry a promise of more village festivals to come? We hope so! See items about drama performances at the Festival on the site.:
And of St George fighting the dragon (alias the Wall) at the Festival, see:
Toine van Teeffelen
For contact and information:
email@example.com (Toine van Teeffelen)
firstname.lastname@example.org (James Prineas)
>The Jerusalemite family of Quttainah
submitted by Dr. Mohammed Quttainah
Majdi Anwar Quttainah, PhD
Mona Anwar Quttainah, MD
Anwar Mohammed Quttainah, CFPA
Naela Awni Quttainah, BA
Mohammed Anwar Quttainah, MD
Husam Abdul Hafith Quttainah, BSc
The Jerusalemite family of Quttainah (also written as Kuttainah, Kuttaineh, Quttaineh, Qatinah, Qatina, and Quttenah) used to be known as Al-Hanbali family more than 300 years ago. AL- Quttainah is the direct descendant of the famous author Mujir el-din Al-Hanbali.
Mujir el-din Al-Hanbali was born in Jerusalem in 860H/1455AD. He was the Hanbali Judge in Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramalla, and Nablus. His father was also the Hanbali Mufti of a number of Palestinian cites. He memorized the whole of the Quran before age ten. He studied the Hadith and was granted the Ijaza (licence) in the Hadith when he was eleven. He was taught by the Sheikhs of his time in Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Salahiyya and also in Cairo. One of his most renowned works is his famous book « Al-Uns Al-Jalil fi Tarikh Al-Quds wal Khalil » (The history of Jerusalem and Hebron). Some historians state that his grave is in Ma'manullah cemetery while others believe that it is in the eastern part of Al-Asbat cemetery next to the Gethsemane and St. Mary's Church. When the road was broadened in 1942, the grave was removed to a nearby location and a dome covered it. The northern wall of the dome was inscribed with the date of Mujir el-din Hanbali's death and his name.
The nickname Quttainah (which means dried fig in Arabic) was given to Al-Hanbali family after their frequent use of dried figs to cover their gold trade during their inter-Palestine business travels, protecting their vend from road robbers.
Famously known as Quttainah where big names of scholars and traders came from this family (detailed documentation are found on records in the Court of Personal Affairs of Jerusalem), they flourished in trading in Palestine and evolved as one of Jerusalem’s biggest exporters and importers of merchandise. One of their famous traders Hajj Mohammed Quttainah was the First to acquire more than third of the old city’s land in ownership to eventually register it as Waqf (mortmain) in 1225 Hijri (1810 AD). Most of their Waqf had members of the family, poor people, Muslims, Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque as the main beneficiaries.
The Quttainah family until this day owns vast numbers of private and business properties in Jerusalem. Some of their famous Waqf is the Al-Wad, Al-Sa’diyyah, Al-Sharaf, and Al-Nasara neighbourhoods, and Khan Al-Zeit market. In addition, is the well-known land in Al-Jawawdah neighbourhood (The New Gate) which was leased to the Franciscan’s monastery for 100 years where they built the famously known college de Frère. Some of their famous properties outside the old city Bab Al-Wad land are estimated to cover an area of 420 Acres, equivalent to 170 Hectares (1.7 Square Kilometre Km2). It is the area alongside the main road Jaffa-(or:Tel Aviv)Jerusalem.
Besides its well-known financial wealth, a good number of scientists, clerics, and scholars have emerged from this family.
Spreading all over the world since the 1948 Palestinian Diaspora, some of the Quttainahs have settled in Jordan; they are also well established in the rest of the Middle Eastern countries and the Arabian Gulf region.
(View the full article and contact the author(s) here:
>Abdalla Joudeh Morcos:
Date of birth: 20.11.1917
Place of birth: Santiago Chile
Date of death: 2000
Died in: Bethlehem Palestine
profession: salesman car accessories
religion: Roman Catholic
Abou Hannah’s real name is Abdallah Morcos. “Abdallah” means “servant of God” while the Morcos family name derives from St Mark, the Gospel writer. The family traces its distant origins back to Yemen, where some Arab tribes were baptized in the first centuries after Christ, possibly due to evangelizing activities by St Mark’s followers who might have travelled from Alexandria in Egypt southwards to the Arabian Peninsula.
Abou Hannah was born in 1917 just a few days after the Balfour Declaration was issued. In that declaration, the then British Minister of Foreign Affairs promised the Jews a homeland in Palestine under the condition that the rights of what were euphemistically called the “non-Jewish” citizens would not be infringed. Abou Hannah’s life thus spanned the whole conflict in Palestine, the end of which he did not live long enough to witness.
Surprisingly, he was born not in Palestine but Chile. During the second half of the 19th century, many Christian Bethlehemites acquired a good knowledge of languages and made international contacts through the Christian missionary schools and institutions then established in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The making of Holy Land products flourished, especially olive wood sculptures and mother-of-pearl products. Some of the more adventurous businessmen started to establish export markets in the Catholic Latin-American countries, and emigrated. They sometimes did so under the pressure of the deteriorating circumstances in Palestine before and during the First World War when young people tried to escape recruitment into the Turkish army. During his first years Abou Hannah grew up in Santiago de Chile. The young kid was brought back to Palestine by his mother and uncle, while his father, for business purposes, stayed in Chile where he died shortly afterwards.
During the 1930s Abou Hannah married with Emily Salman (a name derived from “Suleiman” or “Solomon”). They enjoyed their honeymoon in Jericho, a winter resort where people at the time used to watch horse races. He was fortunate enough to find work in a cafeteria of the British Mandate army, in a garrison in the southern part of Jerusalem. There he acquired his life-long admiration for British organization and discipline. The British time was comparably favorable from an economic point of view, especially during the 1940s, yet very insecure politically, with the continuous disturbances between Arabs and immigrating Jews. After 1948, the Jordanian time was the opposite, politically stable but economically difficult. In that Jordanian period, travelling was remarkably easy for Abou Hannah and his family. While the inhabitants of the West Bank now have difficulty to leave their town or village, he and his wife went freely to Damascus and Beirut to buy fashionable clothes there, just in one day. For Palestinian youth now, Damascus and Beirut are like light years away, cities only familiar from TV.
Abou Hannah first worked in a Bethlehem grocery and later in a garage for car spare parts so as to be able to take care of his family.
(You can view the original family tree document attached to this article here:
There you can also, by clicking on the name of the submitter, view a list of other entries and documents she has submitted, as well as contact her).
>Palestine-Family.net’s advisory committee
Hania Bitar (Director, Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation)
Andre Dabdoub (Project manager, historian)
Julia Dabdoub (Director, Arab Women’s Union)
Dr Kholoud Daibes (Director, Center for Cultural Heritage Preservation, appointed as Minister of Tourism)
Mohammed Hourani (Ministry of Tourism)
Dr Sharif Kanaana (Anthropologist and folklorist, Birzeit University)
Dr Adnan Mousallem (Historian, Bethlehem University)
Maha Saca (Director, Palestinian Heritage Center)
Fadi Sanad (Director, Artas Folklore Center)
Mike Salman (Businessman, historian)
Dr Saliba Sarsar (Political Scientist, Monmouth University).
Dr Khalil Shokeh (Historian, member of the Bethlehem municipality council)
Prof. Dr Qustandi Shomali (Communication and information sciences, Bethlehem University)
Palestine-Family.net’s Editorial Committee - James Prineas, Leyla Zuaiter, Fuad Giacaman, Dr Toine van Teeffelen, Maisoun Al-Zawahra and Tamara Habash - conducts editing tasks and decide about issues of policy concerning the site. The editorial committee checks incoming entries, encourages persons and institutions to submit, and approves the choice of projects and partnerships.
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Christopher Jones, CreativeSenses.com
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>Website Team in Palestine:
Toine van Teeffelen
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