The memorial takes the form of a large plaza overlooking the northern Gaza Strip – Beit Hanun, Beit Lahiya, Jebaliya and Gaza City – and the Israeli Gaza Periphery communities. On both sides of the plaza in front of the lookout point are hewn rock columns on which the details of the paratroopers’ reprisal raids are inscribed. A separate memorial commemorates those who fell in the reprisal raids and the Sinai campaign. Three different points at the side offer audio-explanations of the general background to the retaliatory actions and operations in Jordan and the Gaza Strip.
At the far end of the memorial, which overlooks Gaza, a stone slab shaped like an arrowhead displays a map of Operation Black Arrow. This area of the monument is dedicated to the memory of Saadia Elkayam (“Supapo”), who commanded Company A of the 890th Paratroop Battalion.
The Black Arrow Memorial commemorates the following operations, which constitute only a portion of those carried out by the paratroopers during this period:
Kissufim: Operation An Eye for an Eye (Mivtza Ayin Tahat Ayin), August 10th, 1954. The object of the operation was the capture of an Egyptian position opposite Kissufim that was enclosed inside two double-slope fences, ditches and minefields. The Israeli force captured the position and blew up the buildings inside it, at the cost of the lives of two paratroopers.
Gaza: Operation Black Arrow (Mivtza Hetz Shahor), February 28th - March 1st, 1955. During this major reprisal operation the commandos attacked Egyptian positions that had served as departure points for terrorists and blew up Gaza’s railway station and waterworks. The Egyptians lost thirty-six soldiers and two civilians (most of them Palestinians), and the commandos lost eight men.
Khan Yunis: Operation Elkayam (Mivtza Elkayam), August 31st, 1955. The Tegart fort that housed the Khan Yunis police station was blown up in this first armored paratroop operation, which made use of half-tracks. Apart from the police station, a railway line and buildings in the village of Abbasan were also blown up. Seventy-two Egyptians and one Israeli commando were killed.
Kuntilla: Operation Egged (Mivtza Egged), October 27th, 1955. The paratroop battalion raided the police station and surrounding positions by night, blew up the police station and returned to Israel with twenty-nine prisoners. Twelve Egyptians and two paratroopers were killed.
Sabha: Operation Volcano (Mivtza Har Gaash), November 2nd, 1955. This operation was carried out after the Egyptian army set up a position in the Nitzana sector within Israeli territory. Combat soldiers from the Golani Brigade also took part. The Israeli force attacked the Sabha positions to the west of Nitzana, killing some seventy Egyptians. Six IDF soldiers were killed.
Kinneret: Operation Olive Leaves (Mivtza Alei Zayit), December 11th, 1955. This operation was conducted against five Syrian military positions on the slopes of the Golan Heights leading down to the Kinneret. The official reason for the attack was Syrian fire on Kinneret fishing boats. The Israeli force approached the Syrian positions stealthily before launching a surprise attack. Approximately fifty-four Syrians were killed and thirty were taken prisoner for exchange with IDF soldiers in captivity in Syria and Jordan. Six IDF soldiers were killed in the attack.
Husan: Operation Palm Branch (Mivtza Lulav), September 25th, 1956. Two days previously Jordanian soldiers from the Mar Elias outpost had murdered four scientists participating in an archeological conference at Ramat Rachel, and the following day a woman from Moshav Aminadav was also murdered. The object of the raid, which was conducted on a brigade scale, was the capture of the police station adjacent to Husan. Thirty-nine Jordanian soldiers and ten paratroopers were killed during the operation.
Qalqilya: Operation Samaria (Mivtza Shomron), October 10th, 1956. After the murder of five Solel-Boneh workers on the Beersheba-Sodom highway and two citrus-grove workers near Tel Mond, the paratroopers set out to blow up Qalqilya police station. This was an extensive operation. After artillery and mortar fire a fierce battle ensued, during which the police station was blown up. The Hamisa force was surrounded and found itself in difficulties, and another force that set out to rescue it had a hard fight. In response to IDF shelling, the Jordanians shelled the nearby Israeli communities of Nir Eliyahu, Neveh Yamin and Eyal. Around eight-eight Jordanians and eighteen IDF soldiers were killed in the operation.
Sinai Campaign (Mivtza Kadesh): Throughout all the years of its existence the Paratroopers Brigade carried out only two operational parachute descents, both during the Sinai Campaign. One took place at the Mitla Pass (on October 30th, 1956), the other at Al-Tur (on November 2nd, 1956), in order to gain control of the airport there and open the road towards Sharm al-Sheikh. In the fierce battle at the Mitla Pass thirty-eight paratroopers were killed, and the site became a symbol for the brigade.