Sabra and Shatila massacre

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1975–77 – 1977–82 – Israeli invasion (1982–83) – 1984–89


The Sabra and Shatila massacre took place in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982, during the Lebanese civil war. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp was surrounded by Israeli forces. In that period of time, Israel was at war with Lebanon. The Israeli Forces occupied Beirut and dominated the refugee camps of Palestinians and controlled the entrance to the city. After the assassination of Bachir Gemayel, leader and president-elect of the Lebanese Phalangist, a Maronite group, also called Lebanese Forces militia group, entered the camp and murdered inhabitants during the night. The exact number of victims is disputed, from 700–800 to 3,500 (depending on the source).

Israeli forces enabled the entrance of the angry Kataeb Party group to the refugee camps, by providing them transportation from outside Beirut and firing illuminating flares over the camps. The Phalangists stood under the direct command of Elie Hobeika, who later became a long-serving Member of Parliament and, in the 1990s, a cabinet minister.

Debate continues today regarding Israeli responsibility for the massacre. In 1982, an independent commission chaired by Sean MacBride concluded that the Israeli authorities or forces were, directly or indirectly, responsible.[2] The Israeli government established the Kahan Commission to investigate, and in early 1983 it found Israel indirectly responsible for the event. Ariel Sharon was held personally responsible for allowing the Phalangists into the camps.


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