A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, September 17, 2012

30 Years Since Sabra and Shatila

Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the first day of killing at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps on the edge of Beirut, one of the most notorious incidents in the long conflict in Lebanon, During three days from September 16 through 18, 1982, Lebanese Forces Christian militia led by Elie Hobeiqa killed Palestinians; though the exact death toll is disputed, it was high. Since the Israel Defense Forces were, at the time, occupying southern Lebanon as far as Beirut, and surrounded and controlled access to the camps, many accused Israel of complicity. In 1983 Israel's own Kahan Commission found that Israeli commanders were at least aware that killing was taking place and did not stop it; Ariel Sharon, the Kahan Commission found, bore indirect responsibility for not blocking militia access to the Palestinian camps.

Hobeiqa, who shifted allegiances later in the Lebanese civil war, went on to serve in various posts. He was killed by a car bomb in 2002,

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