Monday marks the 31st anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre that took place starting on September 16 1982, after the Israeli occupation army, led back then by Ariel Sharon, surrounded the refugee camp after invading Beirut, and granted access to the Phalanges to enter the camp to slaughter its refugees. The massacre lasted for three days (16, 17 and 18 of September 1982), approximately 3500-8000 persons, including children, infants, women and elderly were slaughtered and murdered in his horrific and gruesome massacre perpetrated by the Israeli army and its allied criminal militia.
Back then, around 20.000 refugees lived in the refugee camp that was supposed, as any other camp, to receive international protection.
Israeli soldiers, led by Sharon and Chief of Staff, Rafael Etan, made sure their forces are surrounding the refugee camp, isolated it from its surrounding, and allowed the Phalanges to invade it and murder thousands of innocent refugees using white weapons.
The Israeli army also fired hundreds of flares during the massacres in night hours to enable the murderers to commit their war crime. The army claimed that it was searching for nearly 1500 Palestinian freedom fighters who allegedly were in the camp.
But the fighters were somewhere else, joining battle fronts countering the Israeli aggression, and most of those left in the camp, left to face their horrific end, were elderly women and children.
Israel wanted to avenge its defeat after engaging in a three-month battle and siege that ended by international guarantees, to protect the civilians the Palestinian resistance left Beirut as part of an agreement that assured the protection of civilians.
Israel wanted to send a message to the Palestinian refugees; it wanted to continue its aggression and invasion into Lebanon in 1982.
Ariel Sharon, who served as Israel’s Defense Minister, led the assault.
Following the massacre, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the circumstances that led to this ugly crime against thousands of helpless refugees.
In 1983, the Cahan Commission announced the results of what it called “investigation” of the massacre, and decided that Sharon is “indirectly responsible” as he ignored the possibility of it taking place, ignored the danger of bloodshed and revenge.
Sharon continued his political career, to become Prime Minister and held various important positions until he suffered stroke on January 4 2006, and has been in a been in a permanent vegetative state since then.
The committee also denounced the stance of Israel’s Prime Minister back then, Menachem Begin, his Foreign Minister, Rafael Etan, and various military and security leaders, for not “doing enough to prevent or stop the massacre”.
The massacre was not the first, nor the last, as Israeli soldiers carried out numerous massacres against the Palestinian people in different places including Deir Yassin, Qibya, Tantour, Jenin, Jerusalem, Hebron and so many areas.
Not a single Israeli official, commander or soldier was ever held accountable for the ugly crimes, and massacres, against the Palestinian people.
The massacre in Sabra and Shatila was carried out in direct collaboration with various leaders, including Saad Haddad, who was in charge of a unit of the Lebanese army before aligning himself in 1979 with the South Lebanon Army militia, and was working with the Israeli occupation forces.
He also announced the so-called “Free Lebanon” forces in Lebanese territories that fell under illegal Israeli occupation in the south.
Haddad dispatched members of his army from southern Lebanon to Bruit Airport, then to Sabra and Shatila, where they had a prominent role in the massacre. He died of a terminal illness on January 14 1984.
Fadi Ferm, who was married to one of the granddaughters of the Phalange Party founder, Pierre Gemayel, was appointed by Bashir Gemayel as the leader of the Lebanese Force militia in 1982 after Bashir Gemayel was elected present, just one day before his assassination.
Ferm moved through the ranks of the Lebanese Force, later on became the head of the Military Intelligence of the LF Militia, and then became the deputy chief before he became the commander.
Bashir Gemayel, the militia commander, and president-elect in Lebanon, was a senior member of the Phalange party, and was the commander of the Lebanese Forces militia during the first several years of the Civil War in Lebanon between 1975 and 1990.
During the Sabra and Shatila massacres, Gemayel was the leader giving the Lebanese Force militia orders to invade the refugee camps.
He was elected president during the civil war, and while southern Lebanon was under Israeli military occupation. He was assassinated on September 14 1982, along with 26 persons, by an explosion that took place in the Phalange headquarters in Beirut.
Months before Sharon and his army invading Lebanon, Bashir had a meeting with Sharon who told him that his army would be invading Lebanon to remove the Palestinian Liberation Organization and its fighters from the country.
The Electronic Intifada;
“They shot my father in the head”: interview with survivor of Sabra and Shatila massacre
19 September 2012