Commentary By Julie Webb-Pullman (*)
HAVANA TIMES, May 16 — Following Friday’s peaceful event, over a thousand people on Sunday commemorated Al-Nakba by travelling from Amman to the Square of the Unknown Soldier, outside the town of Karameh, in the Jordan valley, several kilometers from the border with Israel.
Not much has changed in the intervening years – except, perhaps, for the identity of the persecutors.
Sunday’s event at the Square of the Unknown Soldier, some eight kilometers from the King Hussein Bridge border crossing, was attended by hundreds of women and children, as well as young Palestinians who have never set foot in their own country.
But on Sunday it was not Israeli forces shooting them, beating them, throwing rocks at them, and trying to drive them away, it was Jordanians.
Jordanian police, Jordanian security forces, Jordanian gendarmerie, Jordanian hired thugs viciously attacking unarmed and peaceful Palestinians gathering to mark this significant day, in this significant location.
Karameh, where in 1968 Jordanian forces successfully fought alongside the Palestine Liberation Organization to repel the invading Israeli army. Karameh, whose name means “Dignity.”
To what will surely be their eternal shame, Jordanian forces brutalized Palestinians for their dignified reminder to the world of their continued oppression by Israel.
The actions of the Jordanian security forces are incomprehensible – there was no attempt to cross the border – the crossing is some 8km away.
The accompanying photos show the Palestinian gathering, calm and peaceful, with young Palestinians joining hands in front of the police line to keep the families at a respectful distance. This video shows what I saw happening shortly afterwards, when three men walked down the road to leave, shortly after those photos were taken. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdgMyJzIyqk&feature=channel_video_title
I had to hide the camera when we were surrounded by police and goons pursuing them, who ripped stakes out of the ground to use as weapons. Minutes later, more men armed with sticks and rocks attacked the crowd, aided and abetted by the uniformed thugs.
This was but the first of several unprovoked, and completely unjustifiable, attacks with rocks, pieces of wood, teargas, and live fire over the next few hours on the unarmed Palestinians, the media, and a few foreigners there in support.
Scores were injured, with at least 19 requiring hospital treatment – one person shot in the stomach is now in a satisfactory condition.
The insult of Jordan’s collusion with Israel on Sunday in the unprovoked attacks on Palestinian dignity – and in the town of that name – will, like Al-Nakba itself, undoubtedly resonate throughout Jordan and beyond.
Shame, Jordan, SHAME.
(*) a freelance journalist who worked in Cuba