The announcement, earlier this week (August 6), by the Palestine National Liberation Movement (FATAH) that female commandos are taking part in operations against Israeli troops, serves to underline the seriousness of the training of these women.
The announcement, earlier this week (August 6), by the Palestine National Liberation Movement (FATAH) that female commandos are taking part in operations against Israeli troops, serves to underline the seriousness of the training of these women. Girls as well as men are regularly recruited from the refugee camps in Jordan and are trained at Arab commando camps around Amman.
The women go through the same rigourous training as the men, using live ammunition in exercises and facing the same hazards -- such as leaping through fire.
The girls at this campsite, 10 miles (16 kilometres) from Amman, finish their course with a full scale mock attack on a building Live hand-grenades are used as well as live ammunition.
For the girls who have successfully completed the training, there is short ceremony for their graduation. After a short address by their women's leader, they sing Arab commando songs.
The use of the young "Lion cubs" -- boys trained as commandos -- has been widely known for some time; but women are still comparatively new in the guerrilla war against Israel. The mobilisation of women in the Middle East for the war, may well prove to be a revolution in itself. For centuries the role of the women has been tor remain masked and veiled and by tradition subservient to the male. But now -- through the war with Israel -- they are having their role in society completely changed.
The role of the women as fighters may well prove to be of even greater importance now that the UAR and Jordan have agreed to a ceasefire with Israel. For some -- though not all -- commando organisations have rejected the peace proposals and have called for a stepping-up of the guerrilla war.
Fighting between guerrillas and Israeli forces has continued since the ceasefire took effect on Friday (August 7) at midnight. There is also fighting reported in Amman between groups of guerrillas supporting President Nasser and the ceasefire agreement, and other opposing it.
These latest developments of the Middle East conflict mean that each commando is that much more important. Each woman graduating from the training camps will assume equal importance.