Remembering Sabra, Shatila and Gaza

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Sabra and Shatila Massacre

On 6 June 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon. The invasion was grotesquely named “Operation Peace for Galilee.” With the meaning of Peace for Israel and death for everyone else. Over all reports from Lebanese claim the Israeli invasion and subsequent bombing of Beirut killed 18,000 and 30,000 injuries. The majority of these were civilians.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Ultimately after about 60 days of fighting a cease-fire was finally agreed. With the PLO agreeing to pull out of the area, this was witnessed by a multinational team. Under the Reagan Administration, Philip Habib a US envoy was sent to Lebanon in 1981 to defuse the Lebanese Civil War. Habib negotiated a peace that allowed the PLO to evacuate from the besieged city of Beirut. Within this agreement West Beirut would fall under the control of the Lebanese army, and the PLO were given a US guarantee of security for the Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila camps once the 14,000 PLO fighters had withdrawn.

Despite the witnessing of the PLO having left the area and despite the promises of protection for the remaining civilians in the two camps by the US envoy Habib, Israel saw a big opportunity to use the situation to its ultimate goal of wiping out more Palestinians. Ariel Sharon unilaterally made the unfounded claim that “2,000 terrorists” were still inside the Palestinian refugee camps. Then, on 15 September the Israeli army moved in and occupied West Beirut. They then surrounded and sealed off the camps of Sabra and Shatila. Leaving the Lebanese and Palestinian civilians at the mercy of their captors.

The War Criminal Sharon personally directed the Israeli operation, placing himself in a vantage point at the Kuwait embassy located at the outskirts of the Shatila camp. Like a dictator overseeing his subjects from atop a six story building, he could see the camps of Sabra and Shatila and witness his orders being carried out. His plan began swiftly and by that afternoon the camps were shelled by the IDF under the direction of Sharon atop his perch. The following order was given “The searching and mopping up of the camps will be done by the Phalangists army.” Then the IDF gave the command to the Phalangist militia to enter the camps and “commence” the “mopping up procedure.” Israeli General Amir Drori then telephoned Ariel Sharon and said, “Our friends are advancing into the camps. We have coordinated their entry.” To which Sharon replied, “Congratulations! Our friends’ operation is approved.”

Over the next 40 hours the Phalangists raped, killed, and injured thousands of unarmed civilians, mostly children, women and elderly inside the surrounded and sealed camps.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

The IDF were in full contact with the militia and could see what was taking place, yet they never intervened. Instead, they prevented innocent civilians from escaping their death and assisted the terrorist militia by illuminating the camps at night so the killing, raping and injuring could continue round the clock.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Sabra and Shatila Massacre

We can never know the exact number murdered, it ranges between the Israeli IDF counts of 800 to 3,500 by the Lebanese. Almost 1,000 people were dumped in communal graves by the Red Cross. Additionally family members outside the camps buried some in cemeteries in Beirut and lastly hundreds were buried beneath bulldozed buildings by the terrorist Phalangist militia in their “mopping up” operation.

Despite evidence in the UN Security Council calling Sabra and Shatila a “criminal massacre,” despite the UN finding that illegal weapons were used on civilians, Ariel Sharon the man who was found to be “personally responsible” for this war crime was never punished. Instead, the War Criminal Sharon was rewarded as a Hero by his country and was later welcomed to the White House, as a man of peace. As for the US Envoy Philip Habib who promised protection for the civilians in the camp which prompted the PLO to leave the area? Well In 1982, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest official honor given to a US citizen by the US government.

Flash forward to December 2008, Gaza, operation “Cast Lead” and more recently “Operation Protective Edge” we see the same tactics once again inflicted on a captive population witnesss the massacre at shujaiya and other Gazan neighbourhoods.

Today Gaza is the new Sabra and Shatila, and moreover, the captive population has no way out, just like the people inside Sabra and Shatila camps. There is no one to protect them, and the world ignores this crisis. There is a progressive slow massacre in Gaza which has continued since operation Cast Lead in 2008. Nearly each week another Palestinian dies at the hands of Israel. Sometimes 1 person, other times 2 or 3 or more. Just as Sharon claimed those left trapped inside the Sabra and Shatila camps were “terrorists” Israel uses this same tactic when it murders Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has appointed itself to be judge, jury and executioner, without world supervision, investigation, transparency.. It’s a constant drip, a slow painful massacre that the world continues to ignore. Israel’s bloody history repeats itself and this will continue until the world demands otherwise.

Remember what Bobby Sands said “Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something.”

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