Thirty years ago this month, the massacres at the Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Chatila happened under the watchful eye of Ariel Sharon and the IDF. Yet, this slaughter of innocent men, women and children goes unmentioned by most Western news providers. While the media concentrated on the 1972 murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, those who perished in Sabra and Chatila go unremembered and ignorance among Westerners prevails.
Between 16th and 18th September 1982, members of the Lebanese militia, who belonged to the semi-fascist Kataeb or Phalange Party, entered the refugee camps at Sabra and Chatila with the approval of the IDF. The Israelis facilitated the slaughter by providing flares to light up the night sky so that the militias could kill 3,500 men, women and children.
To date, the only inquiry to be held into the massacre was conducted by the Israeli government, which found Ariel Sharon “personally responsible” for the massacre. In any case, Sharon refused to resign as Defence Minister and the Prime Minister, Menachem Begin refused to sack him from his position. After the death of Israeli peace activist, Emil Grunzweig, a compromise was agreed and he remained in the cabinet as a minister without portfolio. Grunzweig was a member of Peace Now and was killed during a demonstration when a live grenade was thrown into the crowd by Yona Avrushmi, who has been described as a petty criminal with mental health issues. Seven others were injured by the grenade. Avrushmi was released from prison last year.
Robert Fisk has written an excellent article that details the massacre.
Here’s an interesting video
Ariel Sharon is rather conveniently in a persistent vegetative state after suffering a massive stroke several years ago. The chances of him and others facing justice at the International War Crimes Tribunal are as remote as ever. Yet, more than anyone else, it was Sharon who instigated the first Lebanese War as this article from Ha’aretz tells us,
Thirty years ago, Ariel Sharon started the first Lebanon war in order to create a new order in the Middle East that matched his world view. In other words, he tried to instigate a revolution.
Looking back three decades, if any new order was created, it was to the detriment of Israel in general and, in particular, to the ideological right wing led by Sharon.
The first Lebanon war had three consequences with long-term strategic outcomes. Lebanon, which was supposed to be our great ally, the one that would lead the reconciliation between the State of Israel and the Arab world, gave rise to Hezbollah.
But it speaks volumes that the Likud Party, through Sharon, would give support to the semi- fascist Kataeb Party and its thugs in the South Lebanese Army. Indeed, it is worth remembering that the father of the Likud party, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, was an open admirer of Mussolini. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
RIP those who were butchered in the camps.