A number of events led to the decision of an extremist terrorist group of the Lebanese kata’ib forces and forces belonging to the Zionist Army to carry out massacres against the Palestinians. From the beginning of the Zionist invasion of Lebanon, the Zionists and their agents were working toward being able to extirpate the Palestinian presence in Lebanon. This may be seen from a number of massacres of which the world heard only little, carried out by Israeli forces and militias under their command in the Palestinian camps in south Lebanon (al-Rushaidiya, ‘Ayn al-Hilu, al-Miya Miya, and others).32 This massacre was thus the outcome of a long mathematical calculation. It was carried out by groups of Lebanese forces under the leadership of Ilyas Haqiba, head of the kata’ib intelligence apparatus and with the approval of the Zionist Minister of Defense, Ariel Sharon and the Commander of the Northern District, General Amir Dawri. High-level Israeli officers had been planning for some time to enable the Lebanese forces to go into the Palestinian camps once West Beirut had been surrounded.33
Two days before the massacre began – on the evening of September 14 – planning and coordination meetings were held between terrorist Sharon and his companion, Eitan. Plans were laid to have the kata’ib forces storm the camps, and at dawn, September 15, Israel stormed West Beirut and cordoned off the camps. A high-level meeting was held on Thursday morning, September 16, 1982 in which Israel was represented by General Amir Dawri, Supreme Commander of the Northern Forces.
The job of carrying out the operation was assigned to Eli Haqiba, a major security official in the Lebanese forces. The meeting was also attended by Fadi Afram, Commander of the Lebanese Forces.34
The process of storming the camps began before sunset on Thursday, September 16,35 and continued for approximately 36 hours.
The Israeli Army surrounded the camps, providing the murderers with all the support, aid and facilities necessary for them to carry out their appalling crime. They supplied them with bulldozers and with the necessary pictures and maps. In addition, they set off incandescent bombs in the air in order to turn night into day so that none of the Palestinians would be able to escape death’s grip. And those who did flee – women, children and the elderly – were brought back inside the camps by Israeli soldiers to face their destiny.36 At noon on Friday, the second day of the terrorist massacre, and with the approval of the Israeli Army, the kata’ib forces began receiving more ammunition, while the forces which had been in the camps were replaced by other, “fresh” forces.37 On Saturday morning, September 18, 1982, the massacre had reached its peak, and thousands of Sabra and Shatila camp residents had been annihilated.
Information about the massacre began to leak out after a number of children and women fled to the Gaza Hospital in the Shatila camp, where they told doctors what was happening. News of the massacre also began to reach some foreign journalists on Friday morning, September 17.38
One of the journalists who went into the camps after the massacre reports what he saw, saying, “The corpses of the Palestinians had been thrown among the rubble that remained of the Shatila camp. It was impossible to know exactly how many victims there were, but there had to be more than 1,000 dead. Some of the men who had been executed had been lined up in front of a wall, and bulldozers had been used in an attempt to bury the bodies and cover up the aftermath of the massacre.
But the hands and feet of the victims protruded from the debris.”
Hasan Salama (57 years old), whose 80-year-old brother was killed in the massacre, says, “They came from the mountains in thirty huge trucks. At first they started killing people with knives so that they wouldn’t make any noise. Then on Friday there were snipers in the Shatila camp killing anybody who crossed the street. On Friday afternoon, armed men began going into the houses and firing on men, women and children. Then they started blowing up the houses and turning them into piles of rubble.”40
Author Amnoun Kabliyouk [p. 10] writes in his book about the tragedy of a young Palestinian girl who, like the rest of the children in the camp, faced this horrific massacre. Thirteen years old, she was the only survivor out of her entire family (her father, her mother, her grandfather and all her brothers and sisters were killed). She related to a Lebanese officer, saying, “We stayed in the shelter until really late on Thursday night, but then I decided to leave with my girl friend because we couldn’t breathe anymore. Then all of a sudden we saw people raising white flags and handkerchiefs and coming toward the kata’ib saying, ‘We’re for peace and harmony.’
And they killed them right then and there. The women were screaming, moaning and begging [for mercy]. As for me, I ran back to our house and got into the bathtub. I saw them leading our neighbors away and shooting them. I tried to stand up at the window to look outside, but one of the kata’ib fighters saw me and shot at me. So I went back to the bathtub and stayed there for five hours. When I came out, they grabbed me and threw me down with everybody else. One of them asked me if I was Palestinian, and I said yes. My nine-month-old nephew was beside me, and he was crying and screaming so much that one of the men got angry, so he shot him. I burst into tears and told him that this baby had been all the family I had left. That made him all the more angry, and he took the baby and tore him in two.”41
The massacre continued until noon on Saturday, September 18, leaving between 3,000 and 3,500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians dead, most of them women, children and elderly people.42
(Facebook / 15.09.2011)