YouTube ZioTube. Link will be provided below the video.
There’s another significant anniversary this week, but not one that’s attracted the sort of attention the 11 September commemorations have.
On the morning of Saturday, September 18th, 1982, reporters entering the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila near Beirut, Lebanon, were met with a ghastly sight. Piles of bodies littered the dusty streets of the camps, mass graves had been hastily constructed and buildings had been bulldozed over corpses. The slaughtered were old men, women, and children. A massacre had taken place here. The estimated death toll were in thousands.
What had happened here? What could have provoked this type of inhuman slaughter? Who did this?
These were the questions that punctuated the silence of the morning after the killing stopped. These questions are still asked today, more than two decades after the events had transpired.
To try to answer these question, lets read history again:
On 6 June 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon in what it described as ‘retaliation’ for the attempted assassination of Israeli Ambassador Argov in London on 4 June. The invasion, soon dubbed “Operation Peace for Galilee,” progressed rapidly. By 18 June 1982, Israel had surrounded the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) armed forces in the western part of the Lebanese capital. A cease-fire, mediated by United States Envoy Philip Habib, resulted in the PLO evacuation of Beirut on 1 September 1982.
On 11 September 1982, Israeli Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, the architect of the invasion, announced that “2,000 terrorists” had remained inside the Palestinian refugee camps around Beirut. On Wednesday 15 September, the day after the assassination of Israeli-allied Phalangist militia leader and Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel, the Israeli army occupied West Beirut, “encircling and sealing” the camps of Sabra and Shatila, which were inhabited by Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. Israel justified its move into West Beirut by a need to maintain order and stability after Gemayel’s assassination. However, several days later, Ariel Sharon told the Knesset, Israel’s parliament: “Our entry into West Beirut was in order to make war against the infrastructure left by the terrorists”.
The Israeli army then disarmed, as far as they were able, anti-Israeli militias in West Beirut, while leaving the Christian Phalangist militias in East Beirut fully armed. By mid-day on 15 September 1982, the refugee camps were entirely surrounded by Israeli tanks and soldiers, who installed checkpoints at strategic locations and crossroads around the camps in order to monitor the entry or exit of any person. During the late afternoon and evening of that day, the camps were shelled.
Around mid-day on Thursday 16 September 1982, a unit of approximately 150 Israeli-allied-armed Phalangists (or that’s what Israel claim) entered the first camp. For the next 40 hours members of the Phalangist militia raped, killed, and injured a large number of unarmed civilians, mostly children, women and elderly people inside the encircled and sealed camps. The estimate of victims varies between 700 (the official Israeli figure) to 3,500. The victims and survivors of the massacres have never been deemed entitled to a formal investigation of the tragedy, since Israel’s Kahan Commission did not have a judicial mandate and was not backed up by legal force.
This is considered the bloodiest single massacre by Israeli Terrorist Army and it’s claimed allies, but one can think that it will not be last. especially after what we saw in last Israeli war on Lebanon.
If Americans approached the 11 September anniversary with trepidation, many residents of Shatila camp, and its more run-down neighbor Sabra, have been dreading the milestone on Saturday which marks 24 years of pain and the futile search for justice.
For Palestinians, it will certainly be a far cry from the ceremonies in New York and Washington, where American leaders told the world that its pre-eminent military power was going to ensure that justice for the victims would triumph over evil whatever the cost.
The Palestinian survivors of the 1982 massacres will probably gather for speeches at the place where their loved-ones were buried en masse – a dusty vacant lot marked by a pathetic temporary monument of breezeblocks.
But there will be no internationally-observed minute’s silence for the innocent victims of Sabra and Shatila, or global news coverage about the survivors and their miserable existence at the scene of this evil crime.
(couldn’t find any better documentary video than the above. However, you can find here the BBC report a day following the massacre).
# International Campaign for Justice for the Victims of Sabra & Shatila
# Eye-witness: Dr.Ang Swee Chai
# Sabra and Shatila: Dealing with facts – BBC
# Israeli Soldiers Participated in the Massacre
# Sabra and Shatila: Uncovered at last?
# Why Sharon is a War Criminal
Update: Found the following video documentary via Khaled’s blog