Salim Tamari was born in Jaffa in 1945 but had to flee the city with his family in 1948. He is the director of the Institute for Jerusalem Studies (an institution affiliated to the Institute for Palestine Studies), and an associate professor of sociology at Birzeit University.
After studying at Bir Zeit College in the West Bank, Tamari received a B.A. in politics from Drew University, New Jersey, United States and an M.A. in sociology from the University of New Hampshire. He completed a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Manchester in 1983. A sociologist at Bir Zeit University since 1971, Tamari has also co directed Bir Zeit's Mediterranean Studies Unit since 1994. In September 1994, he was appointed director of the Institute for Jerusalem Studies, a branch of the Beirut based Institute of Palestine Studies that publishes the Jerusalem Quarterly File. He has also served on the refugee committee in the multilateral peace talks that began in the wake of the 1991 Madrid Peace COnference. A noted Palestinian scholar and leading sociologist, Tamari has produced numerous sophisticated studies dealing with sociology, development, urban studies, and other issues relating to Palestinian society in the Occupied Territories. His works include Palestinian Refugee Negotiation: From Madrid to Oslo II (1996) and Jerusalem 1948 (1999).