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In November 1916 he obtained a three-month disability leave from the army and returned to Jerusalem.
As a Sherifian officer, al-Husseini recruited men to serve in Faisal bin Al Hussein bin Ali El-Hashemi's army during the Arab Revolt, a task he undertook while employed as a recruiter by the British military administration in Jerusalem and Damascus.
In addition to his support to pan-Arabist policies of King Faisal I, al-Husseini tried to destabilize the British rule in Palestine, which was declared to be part of the Arab Kingdom, even though no authority was exercised in reality.
During the annual Nabi Musa procession in Jerusalem in April 1920, violent rioting broke out in protest at the implementation of the Balfour Declaration which supported the establishment in Palestine of a homeland for the Jewish people.
After the war and subsequent Palestinian exodus, his claims to leadership were wholly discredited and he was eventually sidelined by the Palestine Liberation Organization, losing most of his residual political influence. Husseini was and remains a highly controversial figure.
From as early as 1920 he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of the 1920 Nebi Musa riots.The post-war Palin Report noted that the English recruiting officer, Captain C. Brunton, found al-Husseini, with whom he cooperated, very pro-British, and that, via the diffusion of War Office pamphlets dropped from the air promising them peace and prosperity under British rule, 'the recruits (were) being given to understand that they were fighting in a national cause and to liberate their country from the Turks'.In 1919, al-Husseini attended the Pan-Syrian Congress held in Damascus where he supported Emir Faisal for King of Syria.Prior to World War I, he studied at the School of Administration in Constantinople, the most secular of Ottoman institutions.With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, al-Husseini received a commission in the Ottoman Army as an artillery officer and was assigned to the Forty-Seventh Brigade stationed in and around the city of Izmir.