SEPTEMBER 21, 1982
A GRAVE CRIME AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS IN BEIRUT
A very grave crime has been perpetrated these days in two Palestinian camps, Sabra and Shatila, on the western outskirts of Beirut. From dawn September 17 to September 18, armed units, said to be of the Lebanese Phalangist militia and a dissident unit commanded by a certain Major Haddad, which is equipped, trained and financed by the Israeli government, entered these two camps which were surrounded by detachments of the Israeli army. They opened fire in the most barbarous way, massacring about 1,500 innocent, defenceless Palestinians, women, children, elderly men, boys and girls, sick people, and so on, without discrimination. In some cases they wiped out whole families in the shelters where they had taken refuge. This crime was carried out in the darkness of the night and a complete news blackout was maintained about it for more than 24 hours. Meanwhile, the aggressors have departed and have been able to cover their tracks.
As news agencies report, journalists learned about this hideous crime after some delay and mainly from the efforts of Palestinians still alive but too terrified to leave the site of the crime.
This event has caused profound indignation everywhere. Protests have begun and demands are being made that the perpetrators of this inhuman crime must be brought to book. Israeli political and military circles are trying to exonerate themselves by saying that they «know nothing about it», «do not know who the murderers are», and so on. However, a number of contradictory statements, as well as the fact that these two camps were in the region which the detachments of the Israeli army control, speak of the opposite. Not only the high command of the Israeli army of occupation in Beirut, but also the War Ministry and prime minister Begin personally knew of this crime and had a hand in it. It is said that the minister of defence, Sharon, who heads the Israeli military units in Lebanon, and the chief of the General Staff, Aton, authorized the perpetration of this crime under the silent protection of Israeli units and subsequently imposed the news blackout.
The crime committed at Sabra and Shatila is so grave that even in Tel Aviv itself a commotion has begun demanding «the revelation of the truth» and «the punishment of those responsible» in order to save the «honour» of the Israeli people!
On television these days I have seen horrible scenes of the massacres which have been committed in these two Palestinian camps, piles of corpses, children crying for their parents, grief-striken women searching amongst the victims for members of their families, and so on. These are painful scenes which arouse indignation and hatred for these new barbarians. Only the German nazis have perpetrated such monstrosities. All progressive mankind must sternly denounce the authors of this crime.
How sorry I feel for the Palestinian people, expelled from their homeland and persecuted in the cruellest ways by the Israeli aggressors and other reactionary forces. And why? Because they are fighting for their rights, to return to their homeland, because they demand justice from those who do not want to know what justice is, but simply trample the rights of other peoples underfoot, as the Israelis and their patrons, the American imperialists, do.
Through the press we shall indignantly denounce this barbarous crime against the Palestinian population and expose its direct authors and their savage supporters as war criminals.
From “Reflections on the Middle East”