The Sabra and Shatila Massacre
Twenty-six years ago on this day in people’s history, the Sabra and Shatila Massacre began in Lebanon. On September 16th, 1982, members of the Israeli-allied Christian Lebanese Phalangist militia raped, murdered and massacred countless people living in the encircled refugee camps. The exact number, which will never be known by history, ranges from the low official Israeli estimate of 700 to the high estimate of 3,500. The Palestinian authorities had been promised by the United States under the Habib Accords that civilians in the refugee camps would be secure following the withdrawal of international forces from Beirut. However, then-Defense Minister Ariel Sharon declared that 2,000 “terrorists” remained in the two camps and allowed the militiamen into Sabra and Shatila.
Though Sharon was established to be indirectly responsible for the deaths by an Israeli commission, he was never charged with any war crimes, instead he was elected Prime Minister nearly two decades later.