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55 years since the battle of Samou`

Hebron – The “Battle of Al-Samou'” that took place on this day in 1966 is described as a pivotal moment in the history of the Arab region, as it paved the way for Israel’s occupation of what remained of Palestine and the end of Jordanian rule of the West Bank.

The battle witnessed direct clashes between the Jordanian army stationed in the town of Samou’ (south of Hebron), and the Israeli occupation army, which had occupied the greater part of Palestine in the 1948 Nakba.

Samu’ is located in the south of the West Bank, which remained under Jordanian rule until it was captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

The battle took place at dawn and the morning of November 13, 1966, when Israeli forces backed by dozens of military vehicles and the air force attacked the village of Al-Samou`, and the Jordanian army and the town’s residents confronted it with their capabilities.

The Palestinian Muhammad Issa al-Mahariq, a witness to the battle of Samu’ (Al-Jazeera)

Demolition of forgiveness

Palestinian Muhammad Issa al-Mahariq, 92, was a witness to the attack and participated in a confrontation at the southern entrance to the town, but the difference in capabilities made him and his companions unable to repel the attack.

Al-Mahariq says that the residents felt the attack after the bombing of the Jordanian army headquarters (south of the town), so the people mobilized and the army, which reinforced its forces from the western and northern sides.

During a tour inside the town, which has changed its features since then, Al-Mahariq points to sites that witnessed the martyrdom of officers, soldiers and civilians.

From these places a junction close to the center of the town, where the Mahareq says, “Here they killed (the occupation soldiers) the Hababah, and there they killed the currency,” referring to the two leaders in the battle, Muhammad Dhaif Allah al-Hababah and Muhammad Yusuf al-Amlah.

Al-Maharik is standing in front of a plot of land adjacent to a main street in the town, and he says that it was a dormitory for the Jordanian forces, where tents were set up that were at the forefront of the targets of the Israeli attack.

Not far from this place, Al-Mahariq – who served in the Jordanian army before the battle – says that he stationed with other resistance fighters behind stone chains, and they started shooting towards the intrusive forces, and they were supported by dozens of armored vehicles with aircraft covering the sky over the area.

Asylum in caves

The civilians of the town were forced to leave their homes, especially with the arrival of the Israeli forces, and hid inside caves, and when they returned to them, they found them destroyed.

Al-Mahariq added that the occupation pretexted the implementation of two Palestinian guerrilla attacks against its forces near the armistice line between the territories occupied in 1967 and the areas occupied in 1948.

He described the Israeli attack as “violent and fierce, killing 3 civilians, including a woman from the town, and destroying dozens of houses and buildings, including the minaret of the mosque.”

The witness continues, “The battle took place at the entrance to the town, and they blew up people’s homes in the middle of it, and bombed a convoy of Jordanian military vehicles.”

Al-Maharik recalls the scene of the arrival of the late Jordanian King Hussein bin Talal to the village after the battle, and how he absorbed the anger of its women, and “sadness appeared on him, and the king began to wipe his tears, and instructed the reconstruction of all the houses that were demolished by the occupation.”

Palestine-Hebron-Al-Samou-Researcher Muhammad Ibrahim Al-BadarinResearcher Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Badarin documents the battle of Al-Samou` (Al-Jazeera)

Certificates and Documentation

Decades after the battle, Palestinian researcher Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Badarin, from the town of Al-Samou`, is still striving to document its details based on living testimonies, documents and various references.

Al-Badarin says that an Israeli attack preceded the battle of November 13, when the occupation army destroyed 5 houses in the “Rafat” area on the southern edge of the town, months before that.

Al-Badarin believes that the Rafat attack, and after that the battle of Al-Sammu’, were nothing but a prelude to the occupation of the West Bank in June 1967, and “the attack was sudden, swift and violent.”

He says, based on his research and testimonies he listened to, that 4 Palestinian civilians were killed in the Israeli attack, 3 from the town of Samou` and a fourth from the neighboring town of Yatta, and 125 homes were destroyed, in addition to the destruction of a health clinic and a historic mosque.

As for the number of martyrs and wounded in the Jordanian army, he says that he did not find an exact number, but he puts them at 24.

He pointed out that the Israeli attack began at about five in the morning local time, and continued until ten in the morning. The testimonies he obtained say that the Jordanian army and the residents stubbornly defended the town, but the battle was beyond their power.

The information obtained by the researcher confirms that Israel participated in the attack with an infantry brigade, about 80 tanks, 80 armored vehicles and 12 aircraft.

Loyalty to the martyr pilot

Al-Badarin refers to the loyalty of the people of the town of Al-Samou’ to the Jordanian army in immortalizing the name of the martyr pilot Muwaffaq Badri Al-Salti, one of two pilots whose planes were shot down by Israel, on a school in the town with a plaque identifying him.

He stated that the King of Jordan compensated each owner of a destroyed house an amount ranging between 150 and 200 Jordanian dinars to restore his house.

In a previous testimony to Al-Jazeera, the retired Jordanian pilot, Farouk Abdeen, one of the participants in the battle of Samu`, said that Israel lost two modern planes in the battle, while Jordan lost the martyr Muwaffaq Al-Salti (relative to the city of Salt) during his return to his base.

In his documentation of the “Al-Samou massacre”, Abdel-Wahab Al-Masiri says in the “Encyclopedia of Jews, Judaism and Zionism” that Raphael Eitan (the commander of the Paratroopers Brigade at the time) planned the operation and participated in its implementation of a tank brigade and an infantry brigade backed by artillery and the Israeli Air Force.

The researcher added, “After the bombing of the village, which was under the Jordanian administration, the Israeli forces entered it and blew up 125 houses and buildings, including the school, the medical clinic, and the mosque. Despite that, the residents of the village and the Jordanian garrison showed valiant resistance,” and says that the massacre led to “18 killed and 130 wounded.” , in reference to the village’s martyrs and Jordanian soldiers.

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Reference-www.aljazeera.net

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