Memoirs, 1948, Part I

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VOL. 1


No. 4
P. 27
Memoirs, 1948, Part I

A professional army officer, Fauzi al-Qawuqji was born in Tripoli, Lebanon and served in a reconnaissance unit on the Palestine front in the Ottoman Army during World War I. He first rose to prominence in the Arab world as a result of his participation in the Druse rebellion against the French in Syria in 1925-26. After becoming an instructor in the Saudi Arabian army and later in the Iraqi Military College, he attained an international status by leading an Arab volunteer force into Palestine from Iraq during the 1936 rebellion against the British, subsequently leading the Palestine guerrilla forces themselves during the same year. In 1941 he fought on the side of Rashid Ali al-Kilani in Iraq, was severely wounded in an air-raid and was evacuated for treatment to Germany where he spent the remaining years of the war. In 1947, following the UN resolution for the partition of Palestine, Qawuqji was appointed commander of the Liberation Army (Jaysh al-Inqadh) formed by the Arab League out of volunteers from the surrounding Arab countries to come to the aid of the Palestinian Arabs. This army, which numbered almost 4,000 men, including about 1,500 Palestinians, was divided into eight battalions under the central control of an Arab League Committee in Damascus, and entered Palestine gradually over a period of four months starting in January 1948. Qawuqji himself entered Palestine in early March 1948, establishing headquarters at the village of Jaba' in Central Palestine. The Journal of Palestine Studies has been able to obtain Qawuqji's papers and diary on the period and, in view of their historical interest, will publish excerpts from these in two parts. The first part, printed below, covers the period up to the beginning of May 1948 and opens in January just after the mobilization of the bulk of the Liberation Army.