Between 16-18 September 1982, during the civil war in Lebanon, the Sabra and Shatila massacre took place in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp was surrounded by the Israel Defense Force. In that period of time, Israel was at war with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Lebanon, and Israeli forces occupied Beirut and controlled the Palestinian refugee camps and the entrances to the city. Varying reports at the time numbered victims of the massacre from 800 up to 3500.
An Israeli Government inquiry in 1983, the Kahan Commission, found that the Israeli military were completely aware of the massacre taking place and did nothing to stop it. The Commission therefore regarded Israel as bearing part of the “indirect responsibility” for the massacre, and Ariel Sharon, as the highest military leader at the time, as bearing personal responsibility for the massacre for not preventing the Lebanese Phalangist militia from entering the camps.
CJPP commemorates 29 years since this horrendous and sad episode in Palestinian history. With two articles from the preeminent writer, Robert Fisk, we remember Sabra and Shatila: