As a young boy, I loved to hear stories about the past from my parents. I once asked my father, who was then in his 60s, why he had left his two-storey house and large olive grove in the city of Lod. He put his hands on his eyes and took a long breath. He remained silent for so long that I thought he would not speak.
Suddenly, he raised his head and said: “I did not leave my home and farm, but I was told that I needed to leave along with my family for a while in order to give some space for the Arab armies to fight the Zionist gangs and push them out of Palestine. Then we would go home.”He packed some small belongings and all the family went to Gaza except my elderly aunt, who went to Ramallah with her husband and siblings. “After the Nakba, we could not go back to our homes. She went to Jordan. We stayed in Gaza.”
When I asked about the outcome of the fighting between the Arab armies and the Zionist gangs, he sighed. “They did not fight. It was a charade. The Arab regimes prevented the Palestinians from carrying arms and promised to fight for them. They did not help the volunteers, who had some weapons from here and there, like Abdul Kader Al-Husseini and the Egyptian commander Ahmad Abdul Aziz.”
My father and his family, he told me, waited in Gaza for month after month to hear the declaration of victory over the Zionist gangs in order to go home. “Nothing happened except massacres and occupation. Then we discovered that the Arab regimes had betrayed us. They tried to neutralise as many of the Palestinians as possible by pushing them out of their homes to make it a free and easy entry for the Zionists in our country. Many of those who stayed in their homes were massacred.”
Although he was born in Lod and lived in Gaza as a refugee, my father knew exactly what happened in every corner of Palestine, before, during and after the Nakba. He told me about the conspiracy of the Egyptian army assassination of Ahmad Abdul Aziz, who led volunteers — mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood — who liberated several Jewish settlements in Gaza and the Negev, and how he had reached Jerusalem and inflicted many losses on the Israeli occupation forces led by Moshe Dayan.
“Abdul Aziz. was told to abide to a ceasefire brokered by the UN, and then he was called to the Egyptian army camp in Al-Majdal. On his way back, he was shot dead. The shot came from the Egyptian camp, but nobody has ever claimed responsibility for killing him. But we know the killers; we know the Egyptians who were part of the betrayal. After Abdul Aziz was killed, Moshe Dayan occupied Jerusalem. The UN and the Arab regimes gave time for Dayan and got rid of his main opponent.”
My father told me about the Battle of Al-Qastal, led by Abdul Kader al Husseini, who asked the Arab League to give him arms, but it refused and let him go into battle with his volunteers without enough arms. All of them were killed. “My son,” he said, “it was a well-orchestrated betrayal by the UN and the Arab regimes.”
At school we were taught the Egyptian curriculum under the Israeli occupation; we were told that the Arabs did their best to prevent the Zionist occupation of Palestine, and that it was the international community that failed them. This was not the narrative taken for granted by the Palestinians, despite the fact that it remains the official version. Like me, most Palestinians got the real narrative from eyewitnesses.
My grandfather fought against the British occupation and the Zionist gangs before the Nakba. My father, uncle and aunts were refugees and I received the real narrative about our history from them. Yet, there were some puzzling aspects that have only been resolved through time.
When I read what newly-released Israel state archive documents had revealed about Jordan’s late King Hussein and his cooperation with the Israeli occupation, I remembered what my father told me about the Arab betrayal. The documents from the Israeli archive prove that Hussein was involved with Israel intelligence from an early age, and had his own codenames, including one which translated as “child”.
“The record reveals the King [Hussein]’s code names and sheds further light on the secret ties between Jordan and Israel,” said Haaretz.
One of his codenames was “lift”, which was used around the time of the 1973 October War when he sent intelligence to Israel about a planned Syrian-Egyptian attack on the occupation state intended to liberate the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. The documents revealed that he met with senior Israeli officials.
The evidence from the Israeli documents suggests that Hussein was cooperating with the Zionist occupation since before he became king. This gives even more credibility to the narrative I heard when I was young that Hussein’s father, Talal, who was forced to hand the throne to his son after only 13 months as king, was alleged to have psychological problems.
That story was not convincing. During his brief reign, Talal introduced a modern, liberal constitution which is still mostly in place to this day. If he was mentally ill, the Jordanian parliament which forced him to quit would not have allowed him to ascend the throne in the first place.
This might explain why Hussein, who attended Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Britain, was closer to his grandfather Abdullah, who we know cooperated with the Zionists, than with his father.
It is clear that the relationship between the Arab regimes and the Zionist state of Israel is much deeper and more complicated than we are led to believe. It is equally clear that the relationship has been tainted by collaboration, as it still is today. The documents from the Israeli state archive did not reveal anything new. They did, however, confirm the Palestinian narrative that the Arabs aren’t taught in school: the Arab rulers are collaborators with Israel. “Normalisation” of relations with the occupation state is nothing new; it simply brings into the open what has been going on behind closed doors for decades.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.