30 years after Sabra and Shatila

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | September 16, 2012 -- Today marks 30 years since the Sabra and Shatila massacre -- one of the bloodiest and most brutal atrocities of our time. On September 16, 1982, shortly after Israeli troops seized control of west Beirut, the right-wing Lebanese militia forces operating under the direction of Israeli forces massacred over one thousand defenseless men, women and children in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps.

During the massacre, Israeli troops were in full control of the area in which the Sabra and Shatila camps are located. They allowed the militias into the camps, prevented refugees from fleeing for their lives, and lit the night sky with a continuous series of flares as the killing raged for almost 3 days. The Israeli government‘s own commission of inquiry into the affair, the Kahan Commission, found that Israel was responsible for the massacre. Senior Israeli officials who were found responsible for the massacre continued to hold high governmental and political posts in Israel. Ariel Sharon, who directed the 1982 Israeli attack on Lebanon, was forced to resign after the Commission concluded that he bore personal responsibility for the massacre, and should never hold public office again; in 2001 Ariel Sharon became a prime minister. General Amos Yaron, commander of the Israeli occupying forces in the Lebanese capital of Beirut during the massacre, became a director-general of the Israeli Defense Ministry.

Palestinians who survived are still haunted by the memories of the massacre. The untreated wounds are still open, and questions of why no one has been punished are still unanswered.

ADC President Warren David said “I was in Lebanon in 1981 and visited Sabra and Shatila as part of a delegation. I have vivid memories of the men, women, and children living in the camps as refugees. It was devastating to hear of the massacre a year later. We at ADC will never forget the tragedy that befell the innocent and defenseless, and continue to call for a just settlement of the refugee issue based on the Right of Return, which is enshrined for all refugees in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees, as specifically addressed in UN Resolution 194, should be implemented.”

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