20th Anniversary of Massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila
WASHINGTON, DC – September 16-18 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the bloodiest and most brutal events in recent history, the 1982 massacre of Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Shatila. In September 1982 shortly after Israeli troops seized control of west Beirut, right- wing militia forces operating under the direction of Israeli forces massacred thousands of defenseless men, women, and children in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps on the outskirts of the city.
Senior Israeli officials who were responsible continue to hold the highest governmental and political posts in Israel. Ariel Sharon, who directed the 1982 Israeli attack on Lebanon, in now Prime Minister of Israel, and Former General Amos Yaron, commander of the Israeli occupying forces in the Lebanese capital during the massacre, is now director general of the Israeli Defense Ministry. Even the Israeli government’s own commission of inquiry into the affair, the Kahan Commission, found that Israel, and specifically Ariel Sharon, were responsible for the massacre.
The United States had given a guarantee of protection for the women and children left behind in the two camps by the Palestine Liberation Organization when it agreed to pull its men out of Beirut in the weeks before the massacre. Israeli troops were in full control of the area of Beirut in which the camps are located during the massacre. They allowed 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.
Mordechai Baron, chief education officer for the Israeli military said that “Of all the declared, implied and hidden objectives of the war in Lebanon, there is no doubt that the central aim was to deal a crushing blow to the national aspirations of the Palestinians and their very existence as a nation endeavoring to define itself and gain the right to self determination.” The massacre at Sabra and Shatila was an integral part of the effort.
To see the BBC documentary on the Sabra and Shatila massacres click here >>