JEDDAH: The King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) has released a documentary, “The Call of Nobility,” about the Saudi Army in Palestine in 1948.
The film was published on the foundation’s official YouTube channel and announced on its official account in Twitter.
It tells the story of Saudi Arabia’s role in the Palestine issue and its participation with the Arab forces to save Palestine from the Zionist occupation in 1948, where the Saudis performed well and a number of them died.
The film includes interviews and meetings with Saudi and Arab historians and writers, and with Saudis who shared their memories about their participation in the 1948 war.
King Abdul Aziz had a keen interest in the Palestinian issue and had been a supporter of it and was aware of its importance from the very beginning, according to Yousef Al-Thaqafi, a Saudi historian and writer.
“King Abdul Aziz played a role in the diplomatic field to support the Palestinian issue,” he said. “He sent messages to Western politicians reminding them of the principles of the Atlantic Charter issued during World War II and agreed upon by Western countries. In order to gain their support he reminded them of its principles which say; no territorial changes should be made against the wishes of the people, and people have the right of self-determination and freedom.”
He added, “King Abdul Aziz also focused in his diplomatic efforts to referring to the stages of the relationship between the Palestinians and the Jews and the clarity of the Palestinians’ right to the land of Palestine.”
The start was in Syria, where soldiers gathered in Qatana near Damascus and received their military training then moved to the land of battle in Palestine. Saudi Arabia’s military contribution was not limited to the national army but included many Saudi volunteers. King Abdul Aziz opened the door to volunteer to save Palestine at the invitation of the Arab League.
Ibrahim Al-Otaibi, one of the first participants in the 1948 war, said: “When the Saudi soldiers decided to participate in the war, they arrived in Palestine on foot. They met with Saudi representatives who directed them to join the Palestinian leader Abdul Qader Husseini. Holding the Saudi flag, we fought and were able to liberate the village of Malikya and then we went to the village of Saasa in Lebanon and then Ramah, and then the village of SHajjra, and we were able to achieve victory.”
Ali Majid Qabban, a retired general, explained that the Saudi forces were composed of two war brigades and were assigned to defend Gaza City along with the Egyptian forces, in a strategic location called Tabab Al-Mentar, east of Gaza City. The forces were stationed there to attack Jewish settlements on the road that links Gaza to the city of Majdal in the north.
Brig. Fayez Al-Asmari, another participant in the war, said, “The Arab soldiers were in control until the war was stopped because of the truce. Were it not for the truce that was imposed on the Arab forces, we would have prevailed. We were not satisfied with the truce because we were in control, and we assure our love for the land of Palestine and its people.”
Ali Kurdi, a retired general said, “I wrote to my father in Ramadan that we will have our Eid in Tel Aviv, we were victorious, the Jews could not defeat us, they did not have an organized army since they were extremist armed gangs, called ‘Haganah’.”
The number of Saudi volunteers was 513, 134 of whom were killed, including 34 who were seriously wounded, and 130 who received medals from the king.
After the truce the Zionist forces were able to get support from different sides, and more Jewish migrants arrived, many were well trained, and the Arab role toward the issue began to decline after negotiations began on the Greek island of Rhodes with the United Nations mediating between Israel and Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.
The four Armistice agreements were signed between Feb. 24 and July 20 1949, during which the Green Line was established.
The King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives explained on its official Twitter account that it would continue to publish videos, photos and documents on the participation of Saudi Arabia in the Palestinian cause.