Mon 16 to Wed 18 Sep 2013

Sabra and Shatila massacre remembered

  • By Jurriaan Bendien
  • Last Update: 4 years ago
  • Beirut, Mohafazat Beyrouth, Lebanon

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon commemorate the anniversary of the massacre at the Palestinian refugee camps Saba and Shatila, during the Lebanese civil war.

The massacre occurred in September 1982 when about 150 Christian Phalangist militia men, fully armed, were able to enter the Sabra and Shatila camps even although the Israeli Defence Force had surrounded and sealed the area. The Phalangists then murdered, raped, mutilated and injured a very large number of unarmed civilians - men, women and children (estimates vary from at least 700 to 3,500 deaths). 

Controversy has continued about how the Phalangist killers could have entered the camps and carried out their gruesome slaughter, unless the IDF had permitted them, knowing full well what the Phalangists came to do. Ariel Sharon, the Minister of Defence, was fired by premier Begin after the massacre, but avoided being convicted for war crimes although an Israeli government inquiry judged he was "personally responsible" for the atrocities. Some 400,000 Palestinian remain bound to Lebanese refugee camps, because they are prohibited from paid work or owning property in Lebanon. 

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