Washington, DC | www.adc.org | September 16, 2014 — Today marks 32 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.
Israeli troops were in full control of the area in which the Sabra and Shatila camps were located during the massacre. 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 United Nations General Assembly condemned the massacre as an act of genocide.The Israeli government‘s own commission of inquiry into the affair, the Kahan Commission, found that Israel was responsible for the massacre. Israeli commander Ariel Sharon was forced to resign after the Kahan Commission concluded that he bore personal responsibility for the massacre.
Despite the Kahan Commission’s findings, several senior Israeli officials who perpetrated the massacre continued to hold high governmental and political posts in Israel. Ariel Sharon directed the massacre in 1982, yet became Prime Minister of Israel in 2001. Additionally, General Amos Yaron, the commander of the Israeli occupying forces in the Lebanese capital of Beirut during the massacre, went on to hold the office of director-general of the Israeli Defense Ministry from 1999 until 2005.
The massacre remains a painful memory in Palestinian history. Palestinians who survived are still haunted by memories of the massacre. The wounds remain unhealed, and justice remains unachieved.