Munib Rashid al-Masri (Arabic: منيب رشيد المصري), also known as the "Duke of Nablus", and "the Godfather"[1](b. 1934), is a Palestinian industrialist, and patriarch of the al-Masri family.[2]

Munib al-Masri
Born1934 (age 89–90)
Alma materAn-Najah National University
University of Texas at Austin
SpouseAngela Masri
Children6, including Mai Masri

Relatives include a cousin, Arab Bank and Paltel chairman Sabih al-Masri, and nephews, developer Bashar Masri, and Jordanian former prime minister Taher al-Masri.

One of Yasser Arafat's closest friends and supporters, al-Masri has served as a minister in the cabinet of Jordan,[3] and has on multiple occasions declined both the presidency and the prime ministership of Palestine.[3]

Personal life edit

Al-Masri was born in Nablus in 1934. He attended the an-Najah National University and graduated from the University of Texas in the United States. He was involved in establishing the al-Quds University. Al-Masri was shot and wounded by British soldiers in 1944.[4]

Al-Masri made his fortune in the oil industry, then returned to the West Bank in the 1990s and founded a stock exchange in Nablus.[5]

Political life edit

Al-Masri was a close friend and confidant of Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat. He repeatedly turned down offers to become Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.[5]

In the 2000s, al-Masri founded the Muntada Forum, a Palestinian lobbying group aimed at promoting reform and dialogue among the warring Palestinian factions.[5]

Peace efforts edit

Al-Masri has stated that he has been working for the last 40 years to bring about a long lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis. He would like to see an independent Palestine living in peace and harmony with Israel.[6]

In May 2013, al-Masri and high-level Israeli high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Vardi unveiled the Breaking the Impasse (BTI) Initiative at the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea.[7][8] At the launch, al-Masri stated, "It’s not for us to iron out the details. We are worried by the status quo. We want to change the status quo… Now the Israeli and Palestinian side [of the initiative] are very honest in their appeal: They want to break the impasse… They want the two sides to negotiate… to push all the parties to engage in real negotiations."[9]

The BTI Forum was hosted by King Abdullah of Jordan and attended by John Kerry, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas. Breaking the Impasse initiatives goal is to encourage and support political leaders to work towards a two-state solution.[10] al-Masri has stated that he will keep working towards achieving peace through the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which, like the Fez Initiative, offers Israel full recognition and normal relations with the Arabs in the context of comprehensive peace.[11]

Personal edit

He is married to Angela Masri and they have four sons, Rabih, Mazen, Omar and Leith, and two daughters Mai Masri and Dina.[citation needed] Al-Masri is the cousin of Sabih al-Masri, one of Jordan's most prominent businessmen and the founder of the Palestine Securities Exchange.[12]

Wealth edit

An Israeli newspaper once called al-Masri the "Palestinian Rothschild".[5]

Between 1998 and 2000 he built a 70-acre estate that overlooks the city of Nablus, which he named Beit Falasteen or "House of Palestine", inspired by Andrea Palladio's 17th century Villa La Rotonda.[13][5]

References edit

  1. ^ Fenwick, Gallagher (10 May 2013). "REPORTERS - Middle East: Munib al-Masri, the godfather of Nablus". France 24. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  2. ^ "Richlist2012 - 34. Munib Masri | United Arab Emirates | Culture & Society | Arabian Business | Rich list". Archived from the original on June 3, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Friedman, Gabe (2012-06-10). "World's richest Palestinian, long a strident peace advocate, slams Israel for 'giving us crumbs'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  4. ^ Grierson, Jamie (2022-10-07). "Palestinian petitions UK for apology over alleged abuses during British rule". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-03-24.
  5. ^ a b c d e Watson, Ivan (2008-04-09). "Palestinian Billionaire Sinks Riches into Philanthropy". NPR. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  6. ^ Scott, Izabella (2012-06-22). "At home: Munib R al-Masri". Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  7. ^ Dalia Hatuqa (2013-05-25). "Israeli, Palestinian Business Leaders Seek to Break Impasse - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  8. ^ "Breaking the impasse in the Middle East". 27 May 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  9. ^ Horovitz, David (26 May 2013). "Business-led peace bid unveiled in Jordan". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  10. ^ Friedman, Gabe (2013-05-26). "Business-led peace bid unveiled in Jordan". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  11. ^ "The Undisputed Truth About Israeli Occupation - Israel Conference on Peace - Haaretz - Israeli News Source". Haaretz. 2014-07-07. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  12. ^ "Saudi Arabia releases billionaire Sabih al-Masri". Al Jazeera English. 2017-12-17. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  13. ^ Visiting a Palace in the West Bank BBC 14 May 2007

External links edit