Battle of Karameh

The Battle of Karameh (Arabic: معركة الكرامة‎) was a 15-hour military engagement between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and combined forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) in the Jordanian town of Karameh on 21 March 1968, during the War of Attrition. It was planned by Israel as one of two concurrent raids on PLO camps, one in Karameh and one in the distant village of Safi—codenamed Operation Inferno (Hebrew: מבצע תופת‎) and Operation Asuta (מבצע אסותא), respectively—but the former turned into a full-scale battle.[15]

After Jordan lost control of the West Bank to Israel in 1967, Palestinian fighters known as fedayeen moved their bases to Jordan and stepped up their attacks on Israel and Israeli-occupied territories, taking the border town of Karameh as their headquarters. The IDF claimed that the purpose was to destroy the fedayeen camps at Karameh, and to capture Yasser Arafat, the leader of the PLO as reprisal. Israel also wanted to punish Jordan for its perceived support to the fedayeen.[16] A large Israeli force launched an attack on the town on the dawn of 21 March, supported by fighter jets. Israel assumed the Jordanian Army would choose to not get involved in the battle, but the latter deployed heavy artillery fire, while the Palestinian irregulars engaged in guerrilla warfare. The Israelis withdrew, or were repulsed, after a day-long battle, having destroyed most of the Karameh camp and taken around 140 PLO members prisoner.[3] The engagement marked the first known deployment of suicide bombers by Palestinian fighters.[17] The battle resulted in the issuance of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 248, which unanimously condemned Israel for violating the cease-fire line and its disproportionate use of force.[18]

Both sides declared victory. On a tactical level, the battle went in Israel's favor,[13] as the aim of destroying the Karameh camp was achieved.[9] On the other hand, Arafat was not captured, and the relatively high casualties sustained came as a considerable surprise for the Israelis. They failed to retrieve three dead soldiers that were left behind in Karameh along with several damaged Israeli vehicles and tanks—later paraded in Amman by the Jordanian Army.[4]

The battle gained wide acclaim and recognition in the Arab world, and the following period witnessed an upsurge of support from Arab countries to the fedayeen in Jordan. The Palestinians had limited success in inflicting Israeli casualties, but King Hussein allowed them to take credit.[19] After the battle, Hussein proclaimed, "I think we may reach a position where we are all fedayeen".[20] However, as the PLO's strength began to grow in the aftermath, the fedayeen began to speak openly of overthrowing the Hashemite monarchy, and the ensuing tensions with the Jordanian authorities eventually precipitated in their expulsion to Lebanon during the events of Black September in 1970.[21]


Palestinian groups used to initiate few attacks on Israeli targets from both the West Bank and Jordan before the Six-Day War, some of which caused Israel to retaliate which became known as the Reprisal operations.[22] Following the seizure of the West Bank from Jordan in the June 1967 Six-Day War, Israel destroyed the existing Palestinian group Fatah networks there. In early 1968, however, Fatah guerrillas began raiding Israel from bases on the Jordanian side of the river. Most of these attacks were blocked by the Israel Defense Forces. At times, Jordanian Army infantry and artillery units gave the Fatah squads covering fire, leading to frequent direct skirmishes between the IDF and the Jordanian Army.[4] On 14–15 February, Jordanian mortars hit several Israeli settlements in the Beit Shean Valley and Jordan Valley. Israeli artillery and air forces retaliated against Jordanian bases and artillery batteries, as well as the American-financed East Ghor Canal (now known as the King Abdullah Canal). As a result, thousands of Jordanian farmers fled eastwards, and fedayeen (agents willing to sacrifice themselves for the Palestinian cause) moved into the valley. An American-sponsored ceasefire was arranged, and King Hussein declared he would prevent these groups from using Jordan as a base for attack.[23]

In February, King Hussein sent twenty carloads of troops and police to order a Fatah unit to leave the town of Karameh. When it arrived, the column found itself surrounded by men wielding machine guns; their commander said "You have three minutes to decide whether you leave or die". They withdrew.[24] By March, several hundred civilians lived in the camp, along with about 900 guerrillas, mostly from Fatah, and PLO leader Yasser Arafat, who had his headquarters there.[7]

In Israel, Chief of the Military Intelligence Directorate Aharon Yariv stated that a raid would damage Fatah's prestige. On the other hand, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban and his chief of bureau Gideon Rafael — mindful of an adverse American reaction due to the good relationship between Jordan and the US — worried a raid could result in innocent civilian deaths and be a political disservice to Israel. Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev promised a "clean action". Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan asked for a "principal approval" for a raid, but this was denied by the cabinet. On 13 December, Operation Karameh was scheduled for the next night, it was placed in the hands of both Brigade 35 of the Paratroop Corps and the Sayeret Matkal special-operations force. The operation was called off, rescheduled for 12 March and then called off again.[5] Dayan warned the other ministers that a bus might strike a mine.[25] On 18 March, an Israeli school bus was blown up by a mine near Be'er Ora in the Arava, killing two adults and wounding ten children.[7] This was the 38th Fatah operation in little more than three months.[21] That night, the cabinet approved the attack.[26] The U.S. tried to prevent it by forwarding Israel a message from King Hussein. Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol called in the cabinet for further counseling; only the National Religious Party leader Haim-Moshe Shapira vocally opposed the attack, while Education Minister Zalman Aran opposed it too but remained silent.[25] There was an intelligence informant who was a former Fatah member, code-named "Grotius" who was said to be familiar with the base in Karameh and its surroundings. Grotius is said to have arrived in Jordan as a member of the 421st Commando Battalion of the Palestine Liberation Army, on the eve of the Six-Day War. After deserting his battalion, he trained in Syria at the Hama camp and later slipped into the West Bank.[5] Israel assumed that the Jordanians would ignore the invasion, however, the Israelis were met with heavy resistance from them.[21]


גשר אדם
View of Damia Bridge

On 4 March, Jordanian intelligence began to detect Israeli activity near the border, as IDF troops began to concentrate near the Allenby Bridge (known now as King Hussein Bridge) and Damia Bridge (known now as Adam Bridge). Jordan ordered the 1st Infantry Division to take up positions near those bridges and around Karameh.[27] On 17 March, Dayan warned that the fedayeen were preparing for a "new wave of terror," which Israel would take steps to contain if King Hussein of Jordan could not. Eshkol repeated that message to the Knesset, and on the same day, Israeli Ambassador Yosef Tekoah filed two complaints with the United Nations against what he termed "the Arabs' repeated acts of aggression."[28]

By 20 March, Jordan had identified parts of the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade, 60th Armored Brigade, 35th Paratroop Brigade, 80th Infantry Brigade, a combat engineer battalion and five artillery battalions between Allenby and Damia bridges. The Jordanians assumed the Israelis were planning an attack with a drive on Amman, and the army took up positions near the bridges, with the 60th Armored Brigade joining the 1st Infantry Division. Jordan also added most of its armored car, antitank and artillery units to the 1st Infantry Division. The total firepower was 105 Patton tanks and 88 artillery pieces. The infantry divisions were deployed near the bridges, each with a tank company. The artillery was mostly deployed on the higher Jordan Valley ridges overlooking Karameh for topological advantage.[27]

The Israeli forces amounted to less than a brigade of armor, an infantry brigade, a paratroop battalion, an engineering battalion and five battalions of artillery. The units were divided into four task forces. The largest of these was to cross the Allenby Bridge and reach Karameh from the south; a second one was to cross the Damiyah Bridge, and reach Karameh from the north, thus completing a pincer move. Meanwhile, paratroopers were to be lifted by helicopters into the town while the fourth force would make a diversionary attack at King Abdullah Bridge to draw the Jordanian forces from Karameh and to cover the main attack.[27]

Prior to the attack, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) dropped leaflets telling the Jordanian army that Israel had no intention to hurt them, and that they should not intervene;[29] the leaflets went unheeded. Time magazine reported the fedayeen had been warned in advance by Egyptian intelligence, and most of the 2,000 Arab commandos who used Karameh as a training base had pulled back into the surrounding hills to snipe at the Israelis. Some 200 guerrillas stayed inside to defend the town.[28] Later, Arafat's deputy, Abu Iyad, claimed in his memoirs that he and Arafat had been tipped off about the Israeli attack by Jordanian officers, who learned it from the CIA.[30]


Karame battle
Map showing the Jordanian positions (green) and the Israeli advance (blue)

At 5:30 AM on 21 March, the Israeli forces attacked simultaneously on the three bridges.[31] Combat engineers built a pontoon bridge in the north and the troops crossed the river. The Israeli spearheads pushed across the Allenby Bridge and advanced towards Shunat Nimreen.[32]

At 6:30 AM, Israeli helicopters started landing the bulk of the paratrooper battalion north of Karameh.[33] An Israeli aircraft was supposed to drop leaflets addressed to Fatah, after the paratroopers had surrounded the town; however, due to difficult weather conditions, the helicopters flying the paratroopers arrived twenty minutes too late. Met with resistance by Fatah commandos and Jordanian regulars supported by Jordanian artillery, the paratroopers suffered heavy losses.[34] When the southern task force began their drive north towards Karameh, they encountered a Jordanian infantry brigade supported by armor, artillery and antitank weapons. The Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes, but was only able to inflict minor damage on the dug-in Jordanians. Fighting from their entrenched positions, the Jordanians repelled several Israeli assaults.[32]

In the south, Jordanian artillery shelling prevented the Israelis from erecting another pontoon bridge on the site of the Abdullah bridge, halting the Israeli advance there.[8] After crossing the Allenby Bridge, the 7th Armored Brigade spread in three directions from Shuna: One or more companies drove north to Karameh. An infantry battalion and a tank battalion moved east to block the Salt road. And another infantry battalion moved south to assist the force trying to break across the Abdullah Bridge.[2] Meanwhile, the force that crossed the Damia Bridge established itself on the east bank. Engineers began constructing a new bridge, and the force advanced east to the Musri junction. After taking Musri, their intended advance south to Karameh was repulsed by the northern brigade of the Jordanian 1st Division.[2]

Israeli soldiers during a house raid in Karameh.
Karama Battle 4
Jordanian artillery battery at Karameh.

The force driving on Karameh via the Allenby bridge broke through and proceeded to the town, arriving shortly before 7:00.[10] By 8:00 the Israeli forces had taken control of the town, which turned out to be a bigger PLO base than the Israelis expected.[35] Combined with the paratroopers, this Israeli force engaged in heavy fighting against the central brigade of the 1st division and a number of Fatah fighters. Some of the paratroopers and armor drove north to operate in the Fatah camp. The paratroopers destroyed most of the camp; many of the Palestinians, including Arafat, fled eastward.[2] The rest of the Allenby Bridge force was blocked to the east and south of Shuna, by elements of the 1st Division's central and southern brigades, and by a tank battalion from Salt.[33] A small force of Israeli infantry and armor, on the right flank of Israeli forces invading from the south, tried to protect the Allenby Bridge force from attacks by the Jordanian forces deployed near the King Abdullah bridge. The Jordanians attacked with some armor, but the Israelis put up resistance, and the battle turned into a stalemate.[10]

A large force of Israeli infantry and armor went east to block the road from Salt to the Allenby bridge, and they encountered the Jordanian 60th Armored Brigade trying to join the defense of Karameh. In the resulting battle, the Jordanians lost eight Patton tanks without destroying any Israeli tanks, then withdrew to the hills to dig in and continue firing down on the Israelis.[10] The Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes against Jordanian armor and artillery positions, but was unable to stop the firing.[2] Within the next two hours, Israeli artillery fire and airstrikes were launched against Jordanian defenses on the Musri-Karameh road, the Salt road, and east of Abdullah Bridge. The Israelis also consolidated their hold on Karameh with airstrikes and artillery, and began demolishing the camp.[36] A total of 175 houses were blown up.[10]

Meanwhile, Operation Asuta was mounted against a few smaller guerrilla bases south of the Dead Sea, near Safi, where the school bus had struck the mine. The bases were raided by Israeli ground forces with close air support. About 20 Jordanian soldiers and policemen and 20 Fatah fighters were killed, and 27 were taken prisoner. The Israelis suffered no casualties.[10] Frustrated in their hope to entrap the entire PLO force, the Israelis soon pulled out, but had to fight their way back to Israeli territory.[28] At 11:00 the Israelis began to withdraw, with Sikorsky H-34 helicopters evacuating the troops.[29] Because orders came down to recover as many vehicles as possible, they only completed their withdrawal by 20:40.[8] They had planned a rescue for its two tanks which were left in Jordan, but later withdrew the plan.[5]


Casualties estimates vary:

  • Israel: Chaim Herzog and Kenneth Pollack estimate 28 dead and 69 wounded;[35][37] Shabtai Teveth gives 32 killed and 70 wounded out of a force of 1,000 soldiers.[38] Benny Morris writes that Israel lost 33 dead and 161 wounded.[10] 27 Israeli tanks were damaged by Jordanian artillery, 4 of which were left behind, two half-tracks, six armored cars and one Dassault Ouragan aircraft,[37] although the pilot succeeded in parachuting to safety.[35] A Mirage had to crash land.[10]
  • Jordan: Zeev Maoz and Benny Morris cite a figure of some 84 Jordanian soldiers killed and another 250 wounded. Four were captured. 30 tanks were damaged. Other estimates claim 40 dead and 108 wounded.[13]
  • PLO: Herzog: 200 dead, 150 captured; Morris: 156 dead, 141 captured;[10] Pollack: 100 dead, 100 wounded, 120–150 captured.[37] According to Morris, a further 20 PLO guerillas were killed and 27 captured during the corresponding Operation Asuta. Teveth states 170 killed and 130 taken prisoner.[10]


Jordanian soldiers surrounding Israeli abandoned or destroyed trucks and tanks which were paraded across Amman and put on display at the Hashemite Plaza.[39]

Karama aftermath 2
Karama aftermath 3
Battle of Karameh aftermath 1
Karama aftermath 7
King Hussein - Battle of Karameh


Israel accomplished its objective of destroying the Fatah camp,[35][40] and on a tactical level, the battle did indeed end in Israel's favor.[13] "The Karama operation exposed the vulnerability of PLO units deployed along the Jordan River and so they moved their concentrations up into the mountains. This imposed additional strains on them and made their operations into the West Bank even more involved and difficult than they had been hitherto."[9] Politically however, Israel was heavily condemned by the world opinion. U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Arthur Goldberg, said "We believe that the military counteractions such as those which have just taken place, on a scale out of proportion to the acts of violence that preceded it, are greatly to be deplored."[28] US Ambassador to Israel, Walworth Barbour, said that in twenty years time, a historian would write that day down as the beginning of the destruction of Israel. Eban reported the Ambassabor's statement to the cabinet, and Menachem Begin said such an utterance must not be cited in a cabinet meeting.[25]

Karama aftermath 6
The ruins of Karameh following the battle

The relatively high casualties were a considerable surprise for the IDF and was stunning to the Israelis.[4] Although the Palestinians were not victorious on their own, King Hussein let the Palestinians take credit.[19][41] However, the battle of Karameh provided Fatah with a propaganda boost.[25] The chief of bureau of the then Israeli Foreign ministry Gideon Rafael later said that "The operation gave an enormous lift to Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization and irrevocably implanted the Palestine problem onto the international agenda, no longer as a humanitarian issue of homeless refugees, but as a claim to Palestinian statehood".[20] Uzi Narkis, who commanded the operation, resigned as chief of the Central Command for a position in the Jewish Agency shortly after the battle.[15]

Karameh aftermath 9
A Jordanian soldier with abandoned Israeli equipment

Jordan claimed to have won the battle and stopped an Israeli drive on Balqa Governorate in intentions of occupying it and turning into a security buffer zone, which was supposed to serve as a punishment, due to the Jordanian support to the PLO. The Jordanians made this assumption as they saw the size of the raiding Israeli forces entering the battle.[42] Arafat said "What we have done is to make the world ... realize that the Palestinian is no longer refugee number so and so, but the member of a people who hold the reins of their own destiny and are in a position to determine their own future".[20] Palestinians and Arabs generally considered the battle a psychological victory over the IDF, which had been seen as 'invincible' until then, and recruitment to guerilla units soared.[43] Fatah reported that 5,000 volunteers applied to join within 48 hours of the battle.[20] By late March, there were nearly 20,000 fedayeen in Jordan.[24]

Iraq and Syria offered training programs for several thousand guerrillas. The Persian Gulf states, led by Kuwait, raised money for them through a 5% tax on the salaries of their tens of thousands of resident Palestinian workers, and a fund drive in Lebanon raised $500,000 from Beirut alone. The Palestinian organizations began to guarantee a lifetime support for the families of all guerrillas killed in action.[24] Within a year after the battle, Fatah had branches in about eighty countries.[44]

After the battle, Fatah began to engage in communal projects to achieve popular affiliation.[45] The battle of Karameh and the subsequent increase in the PLO's strength are considered to have been important catalysts for the 1970 events of the civil war known as Black September,[46] in which the kingdom managed to expel the Palestinian groups to Lebanon after they had started to gain control over Jordan.[21]

Later, the United Nations Security Council issued resolution 248 which condemned the Israeli raid on Jordanian territory and the violation of the cease-fire line, it recalled on resolutions 237 which had encouraged Israel to ensure the safety of civilians in military areas. The resolution affirmed that reprisals were not to be tolerated and that repetitions of such violations would have forced the Security Council to take further steps.[18]

The battle was the first engagement between the Israelis and Palestinians, in which the latter used suicide bombers.[17] Files released by the IDF in 2011 contradict the official Israeli narrative, which claimed that the operation was carried out in retaliation for the bus incident. The files revealed that the IDF began planning the two operations in 1967, one year before the bus incident. They also revealed that the IDF had practiced crossing the Jordan River in 1966, while Jordan still controlled the West Bank.[5]


Israeli historiography

Israel maintains that it had performed a coordinated withdrawal after achieving its goal of destroying the Karameh camp. However, few Israeli military personnel who participated in Karameh agree.[5] According to Lt. Col. Arik Regev, chief of Central Command's operations branch,

We didn't expect the Jordanian army to fight the way it did. I don't believe that the commander of the 7th Brigade thought that so many of his tanks would be hit. I'm sure that no one thought that the enemy would respond with artillery fire. You're allowed to make a mistake in assessing a situation but, it seems to me, there was a moment when the assessment could have been altered – when we saw that things weren't turning out as we had thought and that the Jordanians weren't fleeing to Amman. Had we thought that the Jordanian army would act as it did, I'm convinced the air force would have struck first.[5]

Moshe Brblt, a sergeant in the Israeli Armored Corps later talked about his participation in Karameh "Everything was burning around me, and whenever I tried I could not get up."[47]

Dr. Asher Porat stated "lessons of the operation became clear that it was a mistake to fight the Jordanian army."[48]

Muki Betser, a commander in the Sayeret Matkal unit of the Israel Defense Forces wrote in his book,

Both military and political decision makers responsible for the operation worked to make sure the public never knew of the debacle. Instead, in newspaper interviews and speeches, the politicians and generals made Karameh sound like a smashing success.[49]

A 2011 Haaretz article, an Israeli media outlet, described the battle as "one of the darkest chapters in Israel's military history".[5]

Jordanian and Palestinian historiography

Sound recording of a speech by King Hussein following the battle. (subtitled in English)

Arab historians argue that Israel had entered the Battle of Karameh overconfident of its abilities, as it took place just after Israel had defeated the Arabs in the 1967 Six-Day War. The size of the Israeli forces entering Karameh made the Jordanians assume that Israel was also planning to occupy the eastern bank of the Jordan River, including the Balqa Governorate, to create a situation similar to the Golan Heights, which Israel had captured just 10 months prior, to be used a bargaining chip. Jordanians claim that Moshe Dayan invited Israeli journalists on the previous day for lunch in western Jordan after occupying it.[50][51]

The Battle of Karameh was the subject of many artworks, stamps and posters.[52]

Further reading

  • Dupuy, Trevor N. (2002). Elusive Victory: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947–1974. Military Book Club.
  • Herzog, Chaim; Shlomo Gazit (12 July 2005). The Arab-Israeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East. Vintage. ISBN 1-4000-7963-2.
  • Kurz, Anat N. (30 January 2006). Fatah and the Politics of Violence: The Institutionalization of a Popular Struggle. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-84519-032-3.
  • Morris, Benny (August 2001). Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–2001. Vintage. ISBN 978-0-679-74475-7.
  • Pollack, Kenneth M. (1 September 2004). Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948–1991. Bison Books. ISBN 978-0-8032-8783-9.


  1. ^ Bruno Basílio Rissi; Débora Hanna F. de Lima; Mila Pereira Campbell; Raquel Fanny Bennet Fagundes; Wladimir Santana Fernandes (1 August 2015). Long-lasting peaces: Overcoming the war-peace hiatus for a sustainable future. Art Letras. p. 45.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pollack (2002), p. 333
  3. ^ a b "GUERRILLAS BACK AT JORDAN CAMP; Attack by Israelis Failed to Destroy Base at Karameh or Wipe Out Commandos". The New York Times. 28 March 1968. Retrieved 26 October 2015.(subscription required)
  4. ^ a b c d Spencer C. Tucker; Priscilla Roberts (12 May 2005). Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, The: A Political, Social, and Military History: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. pp. 569–573.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Debacle in the desert". Haaretz. 29 March 1968. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Battle of Karamah" (PDF). JAF (in Arabic). JAF. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Morris (1999), p. 368
  8. ^ a b c Wallach, Jeuda; Ayalon, Avraham; Yitzhaki, Aryeh (1980). "Operation Inferno". In Evyatar Nur (ed.). Carta's Atlas of Israel (in Hebrew). Volume 2 — The Second Decade 1961–1971. Jerusalem, Israel: Carta. p. 122.
  9. ^ a b c d Herzog, The Arab-Israeli Wars, p. 205
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Morris(1999), p. 369
  11. ^ Steve Posner (14 May 2014). Israel Undercover. Syracuse University Press. p. 181.
  12. ^ "UJ celebrates 47th anniversary of Karameh Battle". The Jordan Times. The Jordan News. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  13. ^ a b c d Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land, A Critical Analysis of Israel's Security and Foreign Policy, University of Michigan Press, 2006, pages 244–246
  14. ^ Nasser A. Abufarha (2006). The making of a human bomb: state expansion and modes of resistance in Palestine. The University of Wisconsin — Madison. p. 106.
  15. ^ a b Ben-Tzedef, Eviatar (24 March 2008). "Inferno at Karameh". nfc (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  16. ^ Dishon (1 October 1973). Middle East Record 1968, المجلد 4. John Wiley & Sons. p. 407.
  17. ^ a b Saada, Tass & Merrill, Dean Once an Arafat Man: The True Story of How a PLO Sniper Found a New Life Illinois 2008 pp 4–6 ISBN 1-4143-2361-1
  18. ^ a b "The situation in the Middle East". United Nations Security Council. 1968. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  19. ^ a b "The Israeli Assessment". Time. 13 December 1968. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 3 September 2008.(subscription required)
  20. ^ a b c d Neff. "Battle of Karameh Establishes Claim of Palestinian Statehood". Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (March 1998). pp. 87–88. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  21. ^ a b c d "1968: Karameh and the Palestinian revolt". Telegraph. 16 May 2002. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  22. ^ Moshe Gat (2003). Britain and the Conflict in the Middle East, 1964–1967: The Coming of the Six-Day War. Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  23. ^ Morris (1999), pp. 367–368
  24. ^ a b c "A Brotherhood of Terror". Time. 29 March 1968. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 3 September 2008.(subscription required)
  25. ^ a b c d Segev, Tom. "It started at Karameh". Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  26. ^ Cath Senker (2004). The Arab-Israeli Conflict. Black Rabbit Books. pp. 45–47.
  27. ^ a b c Pollack (2002), pp. 331–332
  28. ^ a b c d "Foray into Jordan". Time. 29 March 1968. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 3 September 2008.(subscription required)
  29. ^ a b "Operation Inferno". (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  30. ^ Morris (1999), pp. 368–369
  31. ^ Dupuy (2002), p. 352
  32. ^ a b Pollack (2002), pp. 332–333
  33. ^ a b Dupuy (2002), p. 353
  34. ^ "Bloody battle at Karameh". Sayeret Zanhanim. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.(in Hebrew)
  35. ^ a b c d Herzog (1982), p. 205
  36. ^ Dupuy (2002), p. 354
  37. ^ a b c Pollack (2002), p. 334
  38. ^ Teveth, Shabtai (1969/1970) The Cursed Blessing. The story of Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. SBN 297 00150 7. Translated from Hebrew by Myra Bank. Page 261.
  39. ^ Abdel Bari Atwan (15 July 2012). A Country of Words: A Palestinian Journey from the Refugee Camp to the Front Page. Saqi. p. 150.
  40. ^ James Rothrock, Live by the sword: Israel's struggle for existence in the Holy Land, WestBow Press (2011) p.53
  41. ^ Kathleen Sweet (23 December 2008). Aviation and Airport Security: Terrorism and Safety Concerns (Second ed.). CRC Press. p. 79.
  42. ^ "The legacy of Mashhoor Hadeetha el-Jazi, hero of Karamah". Alaraby. Alaraby. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  43. ^ A.I.Dawisha, Arab Nationalism in the Twentieth Century: From Triumph to Despair, Princeton University Press, 2003 p.258
  44. ^ Kurz (2006), p. 56.
  45. ^ Kurz (2006), p. 55
  46. ^ Pollack (2002), p. 335
  47. ^ "מסביבי הכל בער ובכל פעם שניסיתי לקום לא הצלחתי" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  48. ^ "תופת" (in Hebrew). Israel Defense. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  49. ^ Muki Betser (22 June 2011). Secret Soldier. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 200.
  50. ^ "الذكرى الثالثة والأربعون لمعركة الكرامة الخالدة". Petra News Agency (in Arabic). Ammon News. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  51. ^ Patrick Tyler (18 September 2012). Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country—and Why They Can't Make Peace. Macmillan. p. 200.
  52. ^ "Battle of Al Karameh".

External links

3rd Armored Division (Jordan)

The King Abdullah II 3rd Armored Division (Arabic:3 فرقة الملك عبدالله الثاني المدرعة) is a former armored division in Jordanian Armed Forces and it was equipped and trained for high intensity combat operations against militarily organized enemies as well as peacekeeping missions, the division was deactivated in 2018.

Abu Ali Iyad

Walid Ahmad Nimer al-Naser (Arabic: وليد أحمد نمر النصر‎; 1934 – July 23, 1971), better known by his nom de guerre Abu Ali Iyad (Arabic: أبو علي إياد‎), was a senior Palestinian field commander based in Syria and Jordan during the 1960s and early 1970s.

After a career of teaching in the West Bank, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Algeria, Abu Ali Iyad was recruited into the paramilitary group, Fatah, by Khalil al-Wazir in 1964 after graduating from an Algerian military training course. A year later, he became one of Fatah's first leaders in Syria along with al-Wazir and Yasser Arafat. During his time there, Abu Ali Iyad gained a position on the group's top political body, supervised its main guerrilla training camp in Daraa and set up a military intelligence headquarters.

As a Fatah field commander, he fought Israeli forces at the Battle of Karameh, gaining a reputation as an unyielding commander. Abu Ali Iyad was also a leading organizer and participant in guerrilla raids against Israeli localities. He was one of the last Palestinian commanders to fight the Jordanian Army in the aftermath of the Black September conflict. He was killed in the countryside around Ajlun and Jerash by Jordanian forces in July 1971. His partisans claimed that he was executed, and as retaliation, they assassinated Jordanian prime minister Wasfi al-Tal four months after Abu Ali Iyad's death.

Agreement on Movement and Access

The Agreement on Movement and Access (AMA) is an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), signed on 15 November 2005. The treaty aimed improvement of Palestinian freedom of movement and economic activity within the Palestinian territories, and open the Gaza–Egypt border.

Asad Ghanma

Asad Ghanma (14 February 1930 – 18 July 2006) (Arabic: أسعد غنما‎) was a Jordanian Christian general. From the town of Al Hisn in north of Jordan, he served as major and commander of the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Jordanian army during 1967 Arab-Israeli War and the Battle of Karameh. After the 1967 war, he was promoted to brigadier general and remained in Jordanian Armed Forces until retirement. He is well known for his role in the Samu Incident.

Bahjat al-Muhaisen

Bahjat al-Muhaisen (1927 – 10 April 2007) was a Royal Jordanian Land Force officer who served in significant infantry commands during his career.

Born in Tafilah, Jordan in 1927. Bahjat al-Muhaisen in 1966, was the Colonel in command of the Hettin Infantry Brigade stationed in the Hebron area. On 13 November 1966, an Israeli battalion commanded by Colonel Yoav Shaham broke through the Jordanian borders towards Samu village, allegedly to destroy a Fateh base that was active in the area. The Jordanians named the incident The Battle of Samu, though Israelis refer to it as Operation Shredder. Colonel Bahjat al-Muhaisen was injured in the battle, and Colonel Yoav Shaham was killed in action.

Seven months later still in command of his brigade, Bahjat participated in the 1967 Six-Day War without fighting and had to retreat to the East Bank of Jordan. His brigade was the last one to cross the River Jordan on Wednesday 7 June 1967 before destroying the bridges. Hebron was captured that day at 18:00. A little less than a year later, he saw action again in Battle of Karameh. That day ended decisively in favor of the Jordanian army.

Bahjat was transferred to the command of Al Hussain bin Ali Brigade as a Brigadier General in the South of Jordan then he was appointed as Military Attache at the Embassy of HKJ. He was there for less than a year, when he was recalled back to Jordan. He was handed the command of the Second Division of the Jordanian Army based in the northern part of Jordan. The unfortunate events of what became known later as Black September, had started and there was an urgent need to enforce order and peace. During this time, Bahjat AL Muhaisen had met with a number of developments which led him to submit his resignation in 1971. These developments included unclarity in the Military hierarchy within the Second Division epitomized by the inter-linking and the contradictory orders issued by GHQ which went straight to those under AL Muhaisen rather than through him. A number of Political & Military leaders were working towards escalating the situation with the Palestinian factions & creating a state of unrest . Al Muhaisen was left with no choice but to submit his resignation and move with his family to his hometown of Tafila. He died in Amman, Jordan on 10 April 2007.

Balqa Governorate

Balqa' (Arabic: البلقاء‎ Al Balqā’) is one of the governorates of Jordan. It is located northwest of Amman, Jordan's capital.

The governorate has the fourth largest population of the 12 governorates of Jordan, and is ranked 10th by area. It has the third highest population density in the kingdom after Irbid Governorate and Jerash Governorate.

Black September

Black September (Arabic: أيلول الأسود‎; Aylūl Al-Aswad) was a conflict fought in Jordan between the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF), under the leadership of King Hussein, and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, primarily between 16 and 27 September 1970, with certain actions continuing until 17 July 1971.

After Jordan lost control of the West Bank to Israel in 1967, Palestinian fighters known as fedayeen moved their bases to Jordan and stepped up their attacks on Israel and Israeli-occupied territories. One Israeli retaliation on a PLO camp based in Karameh, a Jordanian town along the border with the West Bank, developed into a full-scale battle. The perceived joint Jordanian-Palestinian victory in the 1968 Battle of Karameh led to an upsurge in Arab support for the Palestinian fighters in Jordan. The PLO's strength in Jordan grew, and by the beginning of 1970, groups within the PLO had started to openly call for the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy.

Acting as a state within a state, the fedayeen disregarded local laws and regulations, and even attempted to assassinate King Hussein twice—leading to violent confrontations between them and the Jordanian army in June 1970. Hussein wanted to oust the fedayeen from the country, but hesitated to strike because he did not want his enemies to use it against him by equating Palestinian fighters with civilians. PLO actions in Jordan culminated in the Dawson's Field hijackings incident of 6 September, in which the fedayeen hijacked three civilian aircraft and forced their landing in Zarqa, taking foreign nationals as hostages, and later blowing up the planes in front of international press. Hussein saw this as the last straw, and ordered the army to move.On 17 September, the Jordanian army surrounded cities with a PLO presence including Amman and Irbid, and began shelling the fedayeen, who had established themselves in Palestinian refugee camps. The next day, a Syrian force, with Palestine Liberation Army markings, intervened in support of the fedayeen. It advanced towards Irbid which the fedayeen had declared a "liberated" city. On 22 September, the Syrians withdrew from Irbid after the Jordanian army launched an air-ground offensive that inflicted heavy Syrian losses. Pressure mounted by Arab countries led Hussein to halt the fighting. On 13 October he signed an agreement with Arafat to regulate the fedayeen's presence. However, the Jordanian army attacked again in January 1971. The fedayeen were driven out of the cities, one by one, until 2,000 fedayeen surrendered after being surrounded in a forest near Ajloun on 17 July, marking the end of the conflict.Jordan allowed the fedayeen to leave for Lebanon via Syria, and the fedayeen later participated in the 1975 Lebanese Civil War. The Black September Organization was founded after the conflict to carry out reprisals against the Jordanian authorities. The organization's first attack was the assassination in 1971 of Wasfi Tal, the then Jordanian Prime Minister who had commanded parts of the operation that expelled the fedayeen. The organization then shifted to attacking Israeli targets, including the highly publicized 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli athletes.

Damia Bridge

Damia Bridge (also Prince Muhammad Bridge) known in Israel as Gesher Adam (Hebrew: גשר אדם‎) is a bridge over the Jordan River between the West Bank and Jordan. After 1991 it was used only for goods transported by truck between Israel, the West Bank and Jordan until its closure for security reasons some time between 2002 and 2005 during the Second Intifada. As of 2014, the Israeli side is part of a closed military area.


Fatah (Arabic: فتح‎ Fatḥ), formerly the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, is a Palestinian nationalist political party and the largest faction of the confederated multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the second-largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The President of the Palestinian Authority is a member of Fatah.

Fatah is generally considered to have had a strong involvement in revolutionary struggle in the past and has maintained a number of militant groups. Fatah had been closely identified with the leadership of its founder and Chairman Yasser Arafat, until his death in 2004, when Farouk Kaddoumi constitutionally succeeded him to the position of Fatah Chairman, and continued in the position until 2009, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected Chairman. Since Arafat's death, factionalism within the ideologically diverse movement has become more apparent.

In the 2006 election for the PLC, the party lost its majority in the PLC to Hamas. However, the Hamas legislative victory led to a conflict between Fatah and Hamas, with Fatah retaining control of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank through its President.


Inferno may refer to:


Conflagration, a large uncontrolled fire


This is a disambiguation page of the classical Arabic pronunciation Karamah and Al Karamah. For the colloquial pronunciation, see Karameh (disambiguation)Karamah or Karama (Arabic: كرامة‎) means dignity or honour in Arabic. It can also appear with the definite article Al-, as Al-Karamah or Al-Karama (Arabic: الكرامة‎)


Al-Karameh (Arabic: الكرامة‎), or simply Karameh, is a town in central Jordan, near the Allenby Bridge which spans the Jordan River. The river defines the border between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Al-Karameh was also the battleground for one of the main events in the history of the Palestinian national movement. In 1968, the city served as the political and military headquarters of the Palestinian Fatah movement led by Yasser Arafat. On 21 March 1968, al-Karameh became the site of the Battle of Karameh.

Mashour Haditha Al-Jazy

Mashour Haditha al-Jazy was a Jordanian Lieutenant General, mostly known for participating in the Six-Day War and the Battle of Karameh.

Operation Determined Path

Operation "Determined Path" (Hebrew: מבצע דרך נחושה‎ Mivtza Derekh Nehosha) was a military operation carried out by the Israel Defense Forces, starting June 22, 2002, following Operation "Defensive Shield", with the goal of reaching some of the unreached objectives set forth for Defensive Shield, especially in the northern West Bank.

Palestine Liberation Army

The Palestine Liberation Army (PLA, Arabic: جيش التحرير الفلسطيني‎, Jaysh al-Tahrir al-Filastini) was ostensibly set up as the military wing of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) at the 1964 Arab League summit held in Alexandria, Egypt, with the mission of fighting Israel. However, it has never been under effective PLO control, but rather it has been controlled by its various host governments, usually Syria.

Santorini affair

The Santorini was a fishing boat used for weapons-smuggling, which was captured in May 2001 by the Israeli Shayetet 13 Naval Commando Unit. This was the first ship caught in an attempt to smuggle weapons to Palestinian-controlled territories. In May 2002, three of the Santorini's crew members were convicted of attempting to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 248

United Nations Security Council Resolution 248, adopted on March 24, 1968, after receiving letters from Jordan and Israel as well as supplementary information from the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, the Council reaffirmed its previous resolutions and condemned the Battle of Karameh military action launched by Israel in flagrant violation of the UN Charter. The Council deplored all violent incidents in violation of the cease-fire and called upon Israel to desist from acts and activities in contravention of resolution 237.

Yasser Arafat

Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini (; Arabic: محمد ياسر عبد الرحمن عبد الرؤوف عرفات القدوة الحسيني‎‎; 4 / 24 August 1929 – 11 November 2004), popularly known as Yasser Arafat (Arabic: ياسر عرفات‎ , Yāsir `Arafāt) or by his kunya Abu Ammar (Arabic: أبو عمار‎ , 'Abū `Ammār), was a Palestinian political leader. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from 1969 to 2004 and President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from 1994 to 2004. Ideologically an Arab nationalist, he was a founding member of the Fatah political party, which he led from 1959 until 2004.

Arafat was born to Palestinian parents in Cairo, Egypt, where he spent most of his youth and studied at the University of King Fuad I. While a student, he embraced Arab nationalist and anti-Zionist ideas. Opposed to the 1948 creation of the State of Israel, he fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Returning to Cairo, he served as president of the General Union of Palestinian Students from 1952 to 1956. In the latter part of the 1950s he co-founded Fatah, a paramilitary organisation seeking the disestablishment of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian state. Fatah operated within several Arab countries, from where it launched attacks on Israeli targets. In the latter part of the 1960s Arafat's profile grew; in 1967 he joined the PLO and in 1969 was elected chair of the Palestinian National Council (PNC). Fatah's growing presence in Jordan resulted in military clashes with King Hussein's Jordanian government and in the early 1970s it relocated to Lebanon. There, Fatah assisted the Lebanese National Movement during the Lebanese Civil War and continued its attacks on Israel, resulting in it becoming a major target of Israel's 1978 and 1982 invasions.

From 1983 to 1993, Arafat based himself in Tunisia, and began to shift his approach from open conflict with the Israelis to negotiation. In 1988, he acknowledged Israel's right to exist and sought a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. In 1994 he returned to Palestine, settling in Gaza City and promoting self-governance for the Palestinian territories. He engaged in a series of negotiations with the Israeli government to end the conflict between it and the PLO. These included the Madrid Conference of 1991, the 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2000 Camp David Summit. In 1994 Arafat received the Nobel Peace Prize, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, for the negotiations at Oslo. At the time, Fatah's support among the Palestinians declined with the growth of Hamas and other militant rivals. In late 2004, after effectively being confined within his Ramallah compound for over two years by the Israeli army, Arafat fell into a coma and died. While the cause of Arafat's death has remained the subject of speculation, investigations by Russian and French teams determined no foul play was involved.Arafat remains a controversial figure. The majority of the Palestinian people view him as a heroic freedom fighter and martyr who symbolized the national aspirations of his people. Conversely, most Israelis came to regard him as an unrepentant terrorist, while Palestinian rivals, including Islamists and several PLO leftists, often denounced him for being corrupt or too submissive in his concessions to the Israeli government.

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