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Massacre of Sabra and Shatila – A History Lesson

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I home school my daughter and this is her history lesson for today, as I doubt that this will ever be taught in her official history books. This Friday, we will be praying for the men, women and children who were massacred 29 years ago.

History

The June 6th 1982 invasion of Lebanon (codenamed Operation Peace of the Galilee) by Israeli forces was ordered in response to the attempted assassination of the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Shlomo Argov by the Abu Nidal Organization. Lebanon had, after the 1948-49, become the home to around 100,000 Palestinian refugees who had fled from their homes. By the early 1980s, this number had grown to about 300,000, with the PLO establishing their own area of control in southern Lebanon.   In August 1982, negotiations were conducted, conducted by an American envoy, on the principle of an evacuation of the Palestinian fighters and PLO officials and the dismantlement of PLO offices and infrastructures in Lebanon. The American envoy, led by Philip Habib, guaranteed security to the Palestinian civilians that were to remain in the camps after the PLO’s departure.

  1. From Sept. 16 to 18th, 1982, and in cooperation with the Israeli military, Lebanese Christian Phalangists (Kataeb) murdered anywhere from 1000 to 3000 unarmed Palestinians living in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. The Kataeb were seeking revenge for the September 14th assassination of their leader, President-elect,  Bashir Gameyal.
  2. Countless others were raped, tortured, and terrorized. Hundreds more were rounded up and loaded onto trucks, driven away and never heard from again. Many were never accounted for, being buried under the rubble of demolished buildings.
  3. The death toll may have been higher than 9/11.
  4. No one has ever stood on trial for this massacre, key witnesses involved in the massacre have died in individual attacks.
  5. By the end of the summer of 1982, nearly 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians had been killed, most of them in Israeli air strikes on civilian targets.
Media Reports

But in Beirut, the victims were Palestinians. The guilty were certainly Christian militiamen – from which particular unit we were still unsure – but the Israelis were also guilty. If the Israelis had not taken part in the killings, they had certainly sent militia into the camp. They had trained them, given them uniforms, handed them US army rations and Israeli medical equipment. Then they had watched the murderers in the camps, they had given them military assistance – the Israeli Airforce had dropped all those flares to help the men who were murdering the inhabitants of Sabra and Chatila – and they had established military liaison with the murderers in the camps – Robert Fisk

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Maybe when she is old enough I will have her watch the documentaries and read the rest of this description of what journalist Robert Fisk saw in the September of 1982.

Here is a link from the BBC report of September 17th, 1982.

Footage from 1982- (disclaimer: very gruesome scenes)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pWwkVfbY10[/youtube]

Testimony of Journalists covering the massacre

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-aNw29bbms&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]

The BBC Panorama documentary about Sabra & Shatila

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy-JKaFfIPU&feature=related[/youtube]

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Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Umm Sulaim

    September 16, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Another hand shake for you, Hena. I briefly read the Beirut massacre on another website, yesterday. This time, I get to read and watch.

    JazakiLlah khayra. History is OUR responsibility to teach others.

    Please what is the url for this page so I can post it on my twitter and facebook pages?

    Umm Sulaim.

  2. Yasmin

    September 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Jazakallah Khair for shedding light on a massacre that I have never even heard about!

  3. Mehzabeen (iMuslim)

    September 16, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    There are no words – my only thoughts are about Judgement Day. ‘Ya Allah, what will become of these people on Yawm-ul-Qiyamah?’ That is all I can think.

  4. AbdulRahman

    September 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    May the mercy of Allah be upon them all.

    Once in while I would see a mention of this Massacre and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes
    and heart.

    Hena Zuberi ….Jazaka Allahu Khair for reminding me to make du’a for all of them on this Friday.

  5. Yahya Ibrahim

    September 17, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Ya Allah we raise our complaint to You Alone!

  6. Zeinab

    September 17, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    … A very sad reminder of a horrendous crime that is never to be forgotten :( I was very young then but I am still deeply troubled by this sad episode.

    I take solace in the fact that one day ALL of those who are responsible for this will surely be brought to justice for noone will escape Yawm al Qiyama.

    May Allah A’zawajeul grant our ummah the tawfique to excercise beautiful patience upon these injustices – Ameen! For all of those who have perished, May Allah A’zawajeul grant them of the highest of jennahs – Ameen!

  7. Asma A

    September 17, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Had heard about this massacre but never in much detail. JazakiAllah khair for bringing our attention to this.
    May Allah accept them all as shaheed, Ameen.

  8. Adam

    September 18, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    There is no question that Sabra and Shatilla was a terrible tragedy.

    But I have to wonder if you are going to teach your home schooled daughter about the Darmour massacre where PLO militants brutally slaughtered all of the Christians of the town. Palestinian militants lined the civilians up against a wall, spraying them with machine gun fire, before desecrating Churches, digging up coffins, and robbing graves.

    Or will you be guilty of the same thing as the textbooks, promoting the “history” which suits your agenda, and hiding what may be inconvenient?

  9. Hassan

    September 19, 2011 at 7:50 PM

  10. Munshid

    September 20, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Ameen!

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