Palestinians return money left behind by Ottoman soldier

Palestinian family returns money left behind by Ottoman soldier 106 years ago
2 min read
06 November, 2021
A Palestinian family has returned money to Turkey which an Ottoman soldier left with them for safekeeping more than 100 years ago.
The Al-Aloul family had the Ottoman banknotes in their possession for over a century [Anadolu]

A Palestinian family on Thursday returned to the Turkish government banknotes which an Ottoman soldier gave them for safekeeping more than a century ago.

The Al-Aloul family presented the money to Turkish consul-general Ahmet Riza Demirer at a ceremony in the West Bank city of Nablus.

They said that the soldier had asked them to keep the money during the First World War, saying "If we return, I will take it back."

The Ottoman Empire, however, was on the losing side in the First World War and lost control of Palestine after it ended.

The Al-Aloul family have had the banknotes in their possession for more than 106 years.

Demirer thanked the family for keeping the money safe and said that the Turkish and Palestinian people still had much in common.

"We were separated 100 years ago, but this was an administrative separation, our hearts will always be together," he said, adding that the Palestinian people had "suffered from occupation for 100 years".

Ragheb Helmi Al-Aloul said in a speech at the ceremony that he had kept the money safe after his father and grandfather passed away.

Ragheb’s great-uncle Muti Al-Aloul knew the Ottoman soldier well as both served together in the Ottoman army when the First World War broke out, Al-Aloul said.

The soldier gave the money to Muti for safekeeping and Muti passed it on to his brother Omar, Ragheb's grandfather.

No written record of the Ottoman soldier's name survived and it was lost to the Al-Aloul family. The fate of both Muti and the soldier remains unknown to this day.

The total amount of the money is 152 Ottoman liras, which is equivalent to US$30,000 dollars.

The Al-Aloul family kept it in an iron safe deposit box in a factory they owned.

Palestine was under Ottoman rule from 1516 to 1917, when it was occupied by Britain during the First World War. In 1917 Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, promising a "national home" for Jews in Palestine.