Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ADC Remembers Sabra and Shatilla

ADC Remembers Sabra and Shatila

Washington DC | September 16, 2008 | www.adc.org | Today, marks 26 years since one of the bloodiest and most brutal massacres in recent history, the 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

Twenty six years ago, shortly after the Israeli army seized control of West Beirut, Lebanon, right wing Phalangist militia forces, under the direction of Israeli forces, made their way into the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila located on the outskirts of the city. Once in the camps the militias massacred hundreds of defenseless men, women and children. Israeli troops, who were in control of the area, allowed the militias into the camps, prevented the refugees from fleeing for their lives, and lit the night sky with a continuous series of flares as the killing raged for two days. The US had pulled its troops out of Beirut just days prior to the massacres, and had given a guarantee of protection to the residents of the refugee camps.

Following massive outrage and protest from the international community as well as from Israeli citizens, the Israeli government formed The Kahan Commision of Inquiry. The Commission found that Israel was responsible for participating in the violence and recommended the dismissal of the Army Chief of Staff. Then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was also forced to resign after the Commission concluded that he bore personal responsibility for the massacre, and should never hold public office again. In 2001, Sharon became the Prime Minister of Israel a position he held until he suffered a massive stroke which rendered him incapable of carrying out his duties as Prime Minister.

ADC C President Mary Rose Oakar said, "We must take the time to remember the victims of the horrific Sabra and Shatila massacre. The massacre is a reminder to us all of the tragedy of Palestinian refugees who have been excluded from their homeland for more than half a century and their vulnerability as a stateless people. It underlines the necessity for a just settlement to the refugee issue based on the Right of Return, which is enshrined for all refugees in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and was specifically applied to the Palestinian refugees in UN Resolution 194."

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