This Month of September marks the 26th anniversary of the massacre that happened in the camps of Sabra and Shatila, I am posting these Blog in three parts with two parts from two different blogs at a time.
One blog is from Palestinian Facts with information and the second is The from Beirut to Bosnia Documentaries by Robert Fisk.
What happened at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982? Part 2
When the scale of the massacre became known and photographs of the bodies in the refugee camps began to be published in the world press, Israel was held directly responsible for the atrocity. The Israeli public was shocked. On September 25, a huge demonstration of 300,000 Israelis was held in Tel Aviv demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Menahem Begin and Sharon and the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the massacre.
A commission was appointed to investigate, headed by Supreme Court President Yitzhak Kahan, and its members included Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak and Major General (Res.) Yona Efrat. The Kahan Commission issued its report on February 8, 1983. With regard to Sharon, the panel recommended that he:
- ... draw the appropriate personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his office" - in other words, that he resign; or, if necessary, that the prime minister exercise his authority to remove a minister from office.
The key paragraphs relating to Sharon's responsibility are these:
- In our view, the minister of defense made a grave mistake when he ignored the danger of acts of revenge and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population in the refugee camps ... It is our view that responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defense for having disregarded the danger of acts of vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the population of the refugee camps, and having failed to take this danger into account when he decided to move the Phalangists into the camps.
- In addition, responsibility is to be imputed to the minister of defense for not ordering appropriate measures for preventing or reducing the danger of massacre as a condition for the Phalangists' entry into the camps. These blunders constitute the non-fulfillment of a duty with which the defense minister was charged.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said of the Kahan Commission:
- [It was] a great tribute to Israeli democracy... There are very few governments in the world that one can imagine making such a public investigation of such a difficult and shameful episode.
Although Sharon insists that he had received no intelligence and could not have known that the Phalangists were about to commit a massacre in the camps, he was forced to resign his post as Defense Minister and faced widespread public opprobrium that nearly ended his political career. Sharon is still asking for release of all classified documents from the Kahan Commission, saying he would be vindicated if they were released. Elie Hobeika, the Phalangist leader directly responsible for carrying out the massacres (and other gruesome acts over the years) became a crucial ally of Syrian subjugation of Lebanon, and had a long career until he was killed in a massive bomb attack at his house in a Beirut suburb in January 2002.From Beirut to Bosnia - PART 2 - The Road To Palestine.
Why have so many Muslims come to hate the West? In this controversial three-part series filmed in Lebanon, Gaza, Israel, Egypt, and Bosnia, Robert Fisk—award-winning Middle East and Balkans correspondent for the London Independent—reports on Muslim unrest as ideology, religion, history, and geography come into conflict. The Road to Palestine provides the viewer with a glimpse into the ongoing conflict in the region around Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Through interviews with members of the militant Islamic group Hamas, as well as Zionist settlers and Jewish refugees, this documentary succeeds at revealing some of this tragic situation.