What Was Black September?

Black September was a war fought in Jordan between the armed forces of Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Jordan’s armed forces were under King Hussein while the Palestine Liberation Organization was under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. The conflict was at its peak between September 16 and 27, 1970. There was, however, some tension and aggression until July 1971. Black September was created by the Palestinian presence and aggression in Jordan.


The Palestine army moved their camps and bases to Jordan after Jordan lost control over the West Bank in 1967. The PLO organized attacks against Israel and its territories. The Palestine Liberation Organization was becoming more powerful and massive in Jordan. In the early 1970s, the PLO staged demonstrations that pushed to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy. Palestine fighters, commonly referred to as Fedayeen, become more aggressive and attempt to assassinate King Hussein. Their attempt to assassinate King Hussein produced contempt from the Jordanian army, leading to violent clashes between the two groups in June 1970. King Hussein had decided to expel the Palestine Liberation Organization from the country. September 10, 1970, Fedayeen has hijacked three planes and forced them to land at Zarqa. The planes burned in front of the international press, an incident called Dawson’s Field Hijacking. Following this incident, King Hussein ordered the PLO to leave the country immediately.

September black conflict

In September 17, the Jordanian army set out to conquer cities inhabited by the Palestine liberation army. They have surrounded a number of cities including Amman and Irbid. They left to bomb the Fedayeen, which had established refugee camps in Palestine. On the 18th, a group of Syrian militants joined forces with the Palestine Liberation Organization and started moving towards the Hybrid. The Movement for the Liberation of Palestine had declared the Hybrid a liberated city.

In September 22, 1970, Syrian forces surrendered after the Jordanian force launched an air offensive. The Syrians withdrew from the war after suffering enormous losses. The increase in pressure in the Arab world has forced King Hussein to lift the war.

In October 13, King Hussein and Arafat signed an agreement that sought to regulate the presence of Fedayeen in Jordan. In January 1971, the Jordanian army again began to attack the Fedayeenm which chased 2,000 members out of the cities. Some of the Fedayeen moved into a forest near Ajloun. The Jordanian army finally surrounded the PLO. Realizing they had been captured in the forest, they surrendered to July 17, 1871, completing the conflict. The Jordan Army ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization to leave for Lebanon via Syria.

Consequences of Black September

Fedayeen, after being forced to leave Jordan, forced the Lebanese civil war of 1975, fueling the war and leading to Lebanese disintegration. Fedayeen also formed the Black September Palestine Movement. The militia group was formed after a section of the PLO that tried to avenge the losses incurred in Jordan broke away from the main PLO group. The war was also responsible for the widespread vandalism of property and death of people. The Jordanian army killed about 25,000 Palestinians according to Arafat while the Jordanians killed concerned 537.

History and heritage

Black September is considered one of the most important events in Jordan’s history. King Hussein’s courage and tact have received praise from the Western world and from Israel. Establishment of the Black September organization whose members were responsible for the assassination of the Jordanian prime minister, Wasfi Al-Tal, on November 28, 1971 was a remarkable historic event of the war. Wasfi Al-Tal was assassinated by four members of the Black September Organization in Cairo.


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