Anti-Saudi Arab Journalist Said Aburish Dies in El-Azariyeh

Said Aburish was best known for his criticism of Saudi Arabia and his analysis of Nasser's role towards the West.

Contact Editor
Scott Krane ,

A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
A view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The prolific, American educated, Palestinian journalist, Said K. Aburish, died on August 29 in the Arab village of El-Azariyeh on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. The village is believed to be near or at the site of Bethany, home of New Testament figure, Lazarus, the source of its Arabic name. 

The village and nearby burial cave, located in Oslo Accords' Area B of joint PA and Israeli jurisdiction, are a popular Christian tourist site, although Moslems have built a mosque over the ruins of earlier Christian churches.

The death was not reported in the English-speaking press until an article in The New York Times on Saturday.

Aburish was best known in the global circle of Middle East-oriented journalism for being critical of Saudi policy.

He resigned his post as advisor to the Iraqi government when the Iraqis used chemical weapons and broke the story of Saddam's unconventional weapons program in an article in The Observer

Said Khalil Aburish was born in El-Azariyeh on May 1, 1935. Aburish attended school as a youth in Beirut and Jerusalem before receiving further education in the United States. He graduated from Princeton University as an undergraduate and earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Before retiring to the village in his later years, he lived in London, England and Nice, France.

Aburish penned a number of books, including :“Children of Bethany: The Story of a Palestinian Family” (Indiana University Press 1988.); “Cry Palestine: inside the West Bank” (Bloomsbury, London 1991.); “The forgotten faithful: the Christians of the Holy Land” (Quartet, London, 1991.);“Rise, Corruption and Coming Fall of the House of Saud” (Bloomsbury, London, 1994.); “A Brutal Friendship: The West and The Arab Elite” (Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1997.); “Arafat: From Defender to Dictator” (Bloomsbury Pub. Ltd. UK, 1998.); “Sadaam Hussein: The Politics of Revenge” (Bloomsbury Pub., New York, U.S.A., 1999..

In “Nasser: the last Arab” (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, New York 2004.), he wrote: "More than ever, the Arab world is anti-Western and teetering on disaster... A continuation of the Arabs' inherent opposition to the West and Israel, the Islamic fire this time is proving much harder to contain."

“Mr. Aburish’s writing was notably blunt.” wrote Douglas Martin in the New York Times’ Obituary on Saturday. His father, Abu Said, was also a journalist and worked from Time magazine’s Beirut bureau as well as other major news services.

Aburish was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and finally succumbed to heart failure, according to Amer Aburish, a cousin of the deceased, as reported in The Times. He is survived by his daughter, Charla; his granddaughter, four brothers and two sisters. He was 77.

A7 Staff added to this article.