Thursday, July 22, 2021

  • Thursday, July 22, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon
Palestinians expelled from Jordan in 1971

Here is a forgotten detail from the Jordanian war against Palestinians in 1970-71.

From JTA, July 19, 1971:

Heavily armed Palestinian terrorists, fleeing the troops of Jordan’s King Hussein, are surrendering en-masse to Israeli forces, it was disclosed today. At least 55 terrorists have laid down their arms during the past 24 hours, apparently preferring to become prisoners of the Israelis than to face death or capture at the hands of the Jordan Arab Legion. Hussein, though he vowed in Zerqa, Jordan, yesterday to support Arab commando activities against Israel, has mounted a new drive aimed at ousting the fedayeen from north Jordan. Jordanian infantry was rooting terrorists out of hiding places in fields and orange groves, according to Israeli sources.

The mass surrenders–yesterday, last night and this morning–were on the agenda of today’s Cabinet meeting, an extra long session that heard reports from Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Army Chief of Staff Haim Bar Lev.  It is clear to observers here nevertheless that this latest development along the Jordanian frontier has created a headache and potential embarrassment for Israeli authorities. The surrendering terrorists pose problems. They must be quartered, fed and heavily guarded since most are highly trained in terrorist and sabotage techniques. Yet denying them entry to Israel would mean delivering them to almost certain death at the hands of Hussein’s troops. Reports from Amman reaching here today told of mass executions of guerrillas, many of whom were reportedly flushed out of hiding places with gas bombs. The Israeli Government wants to avoid any act that might be interpreted as interfering in Jordan’s internecine fighting. 

Yesterday, an Israeli patrol encircled a band of 16 terrorists crossing the Jordan River and ordered them to surrender. The terrorists laid down their arms which included automatic rifles, hand grenades and a machine gun and became willing captives. The fact that they carried no food or explosives satisfied the Israeli commander that they were not on a sabotage mission but were fleeing Hussein’s troops. Two more groups of similar size surrendered to Israeli forces during the night and eight more laid down their arms this morning.

On July 20, 1971, JTA added:

Seventeen more armed Arab terrorists fleeing Jordan surrendered to Israeli forces today bringing to 72 the number that have laid down their arms and begged asylum in Israel since Saturday. 

Israeli sources said today that most of the surrendered terrorists were members of El Fatah. the largest of the Palestinian guerrilla groups and that some belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a more extreme group headed by Dr. George Habash. The sources said all were being interrogated to determine their background. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan asked several of the captives yesterday why they fled to Israel and not to Syria. The reply was that the Syrian border was blocked and, anyway it was “safer in Israel.” The commandos reportedly pleaded with Dayan to let them stay, promising to “do everything we are told, even join the Israel Army.”
Somehow, I don't think this is being taught in Palestinian schools. 

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