This week sees the 30th anniversary of the single-worst atrocity during the more than six decades of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
For three days, between 15 and 18 September 1982, up to 3,500 Palestinian and Lebanese men, women and children were butchered in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps of West Beirut by a Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia, in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon.
For three days, Lebanese Christian Phalangists under the command of intelligence chief Elie Hobeika returned over and over again to go on an orgy of systematic slaughter in the camps. The massacre would not have been possible only for the collaboration of Israel’s Defence Forces, which had months earlier invaded Lebanon and taken control of the camps.
Sabra and Shatila were populated by destitute families of Palestinians that had fled from the pogroms in 1948 carried out by Israel’s Haganah death squads.
The United Nations’ General Assembly later condemned what happened at Sabra and Shatila as “an act of genocide”. A UN commission of inquiry, headed up by Irish statesman Sean MacBride, concluded that the Israeli authorities and their forces were involved and responsible for the deaths. The then head of the IDF was Ariel Sharon who later would hold four ministerial posts before becoming Israeli Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006.
US gave Israel green light for Sabra, Shatila genocide
Sabra and Shatila massacre
Sabra and Shatila Massacre
The Sabra and Shatila massacres
Remembering the Sabra-Shatila massacre