Surviving Palestinian civilians returning to the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila after the massacre carried out by Phalange-linked militiamen, Beirut, Lebanon, September 21, 1982. | Alain MINGAM/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Historians try not to audibly gasp in the reading rooms of official archives, but there are times when the written record retains a capacity to shock. In 2012, while working at the Israel State Archives in Jerusalem, I came across highly classified material from Israel’s 1982 War in Lebanon that had just been opened to researchers. This access was in line with the thirty-year rule of declassification governing the release of documents in Israel. Sifting through Foreign Ministry files, I stumbled upon the minutes of a September 17 meeting between Israeli and American officials that took place in the midst of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. Continue reading →
The world watched in horror as the story of the inhuman massacres in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Lebanon first emerged in September, 1982 | An entire generation of the Palestinian people has grown up in their shadow | The general at the centre of this butchery is today the prime minister of Israel – Ariel Sharon | The scale of the infamy has changed, but not the methods, the perpetrators or their allies | The past is always present
Sabra and Chatila – two undefended refugee camps in Beirut where hundreds of unarmed Palestinian refugees, including babies, were massacred 16-18 September 1982. (Click to enlarge)
From the Dossier on Palestine (2002)
By PIERRE PÉAN*
TWENTY years have passed, but reread the accounts or speak to survivors in what remains of the Sabra and Shatila camps, and the words still drip red. Time has not washed away the blood. All through my investigation I was horrified as I listened to story after story about children with their throats slit, or pregnant women with their bellies slashed open, or heads and limbs hacked off. I felt physically sick. Continue reading →
Thirty-two years ago on 16 September 1982, the Lebanese Christian Phalange Party militia entered the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut during the 1982 nvasion f Lebanon by Israel. Israeli forces commanded by Gen. Ariel Sharon occupied the surrounding city and facilitated the militia’s entry into the camp, accompanied by an Israeli death squad. The Israeli invasion of Lebanon eariler that year had been given the “green light” by the Reagan administration. Over the following three days (15-18 September), as many as 3,000 civilians were massacred as Israeli-manned checkpoints turned back fleeing Palestinians and Israeli troops fired flares to illuminate the camp at night. This conscience-searing event marks a defining moment in the Palestinians’ struggle to be rid of the decades-long illegal military occupation of their lands and lives by the so-called State of Israel. It continues to be commemorated wherever Palestinians and their friends gather.