How Black September Helped to Cement the U.S.-Israel Alliance

Next Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the Palestinian uprising in Jordan, and the accompanying wave of hijackings, that came to be known as Black September. In 1967, the Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser—looking for a way to strike back at Israel after losing the Six-Day War—had set the stage for the revolt by supporting Yasir Arafat in his takeover of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Under Arafat’s leadership, the group, based in Jordan, launched frequent guerrilla attacks against Israel—taking advantage of the weakness of the Jordanian monarchy. Sean Durns explains what happened next:

In November 1969, clashes erupted between Jordan’s army and the PLO. Low-level fighting went on intermittently for months with King Hussein still desperate to avoid a full-on confrontation. The king even sought to placate Arafat by offering him a government post, which he refused.

On September 1, 1970, shots were fired at Hussein’s motorcade. Five days later, Palestinian terrorists [affiliated with the PLO] hijacked three airplanes, two American and one Swiss. [Finally]. Hussein, belatedly, chose to act, deploying his troops to crush Arafat and his supporters. The PLO, in turn, called for the king’s overthrow. Pitched battles erupted on Jordan’s streets. Worse still, on September 19, elements of the Syrian military crossed Jordan’s northern border to assist the PLO fighters.

Washington saw Jordan was one of its few reliable allies in the region, in contrast to Soviet-backed Egypt and Syria. But, with its military bogged down in Vietnam, it was reluctant to heed Amman’s calls for help:

On September 20, Secretary of State Henry Kisssinger told Israel’s ambassador to the United States, the future prime minister Yitzḥak Rabin, that King Hussein had asked to have Israel’s air force attack the Syrian invaders. . . . Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered the reconnaissance flights and Israel sent troops to its border with Syria. Israeli jets, meanwhile, flew low over Syrian tanks in Jordan—sending an unmistakable signal that Israel would intervene.

While the IDF never engaged the Syrians, its air cover was sufficient to allow Hussein’s forces to push them back; thereafter Jordan crushed the uprising and expelled the PLO to Lebanon. Both Amman and Washington learned that, rather than be a liability, Israeli military prowess could help them protect their interests and maintain stability.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Golda Meir, Henry Kissinger, Israeli history, Jordan, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion