World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


Palestinians in Jordan and Lebanon (165) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: TUE, 20 / 5-7 pm

· NOT_DEFINED language: English & Français

· NOT_DEFINED description: Chair: Muhamad Hasrul Zakariah (University Sains Malaysia)

Paper presenter: Muhamad Hasrul Zakariah (Senior Lecturer- University Sains Malaysia), “The Uprising of the Fedayeen Against the Kingship of Jordan, 1970-1971: Declassified Documents from The British Archive”
The defeated of the Arabs in the 1967’s war to the Israeli had created instability and political discord in the Palestinian neighbour countries, particularly the Kingdom of Jordan in 1970s. During the war, a huge number of the new Palestinian refugees or displaced people (DPs) were influxes into the country. The Palestinian refugees who scattered in the refugee camps around Jordan soil than formed a radical military movement of the fedayeen to fight against the Israeli occupation. As a consequence, Israel retaliation placed Amman in continuous instability and danger. After the war, King Hussein was also lost his popularity among Palestinians, Jordan citizens and the Jordanian army. He was blamed for the Arab failures to protect the Arab lands especially the holy city of Jerusalem from Israeli invasion during the 1967’s war. With a support from the Palestinian refugees, who formed the majority population in many Jordan towns, as well as the Jordanian sympathizers, the fedayeen movement gains their popularity and eventually emerged as a serious political threat to the King rulership. Thus, Hussein has decided to launch military operations in order to liquidate the threat. Hussein consistently claims that the sole motive of his action was to eliminate radicalism and terrorism elements among refugees. However, his motives of the military campaign was also be interpreted as unethical struggle of political desperation to retain his fragile rulership throne. Indeed, he was accused and portrayed as a treachery of Palestinian/Arab aspiration. Nevertheless, whatever motives and claims from both parties, the ‘civil war’ had created another sad tragedy in Palestinian long history. This paper will analyse the event from a historical perspective and methodology, based on archival document sources found at the National Archive of England in London. The bloody military clashes between the fedayeen and the loyal king’s army during this period had again traumatized the Palestinian political struggle since decades. Unfortunately, this time the uprising and resistance was not against their traditional enemy, the Israeli, but it was against their Arab brother. Presumably, this tragic historical moment added another long debate of cynical explanation and justification regarding Arab philosophy of disunity, selfishness and brotherhood genuineness.

Paper presenter: Dr. Kobi Peled (Professor, Ben-Gurion University, Hebrew University, Truman Institute, Israel), “Oral History in the Upper Galilee: Reconstructing Sedentary and Semi-Nomad Forms of Life in Northern Palestine during the British Mandate Period (1918-1948)”
The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the advantages and difficulties of using oral testimonies as sources for alternative histories. The alternative history to be discussed is a petit-grand history of Palestinian peasants and nomads in general, and of Bedouin women in particular. The political and economic histories of Palestine during the British Mandate period are well known, while its social and cultural realities are less known. If we wish to study sedentary and semi-nomad forms of life in that period, we can not be satisfied with descriptions written by pilgrims and tourists, as sensible and sensitive as they may be. We must do more. Unfortunately, peasants and Bedouins barely wrote anything about their lives. Historians who wish to study these groups and their relations with each other must use diverse sources, and particularly oral histories, which relate to these historically silent men and women. The value of writing alternative histories is the commemoration of forgotten pasts, the comprehension of forsaken people and deeds, and the enrichment of the historical portrait of Palestine during the British Mandate period. Our main example will be a unique historical source: valuable fragments of the memories of old Palestinian men and women from a Christian village in the Upper Galilee. They vividly remembered a beautiful Muslim Bedouin woman whom they met more than 60 years ago. We know only a few things about her, yet a singular portrait emerges: she was clever, confident, and courageous. She was never afraid to speak out, break social conventions and lead other women and men.This paper will demonstrate the drawing of her portrait on the background of her time, by reading the evidence against the grain, or in other words ‘lire l'histoire à rebours, as Carlo Ginzburg did in his masterpiece ‘Il formaggio e i vermi. We shall read this testimony in light of its history, geography, economic conditions and cultural norms, in order to reconstruct an image of that woman, her tribal group, and their symbiotic relations with the neighboring peasants. This historical reconstruction will examine the question of her singularity and the validity of the insights about Palestinian Bedouin women drawn from her portrait.