Buenos Aires, September, 21st, 1999
Point of View
Sabra and Chatila, memories of death (view)
By Suhail Hani
Director of the Palestine Information Office in Buenos Aires
With its slogan “sui generis”, “Peace for Galilee”, Israel opened its way with fire and blood, invading Lebanon on June 6th, 1982, by way of its fragmentation bombs, missiles and chemical weapons, massively unleashed on Lebanese civilians.
Differently from the present Gulf crisis, the United States limited itself to accepting and guaranteeing this “no able invading attitude”. Peace for Israel, hell for Lebanon... and Lebanon was turned into a true furnace, where children, women and grownups were burned to death by the passing soldiery, whose mission was definitely destroy Lebanese and Palestinian national resistance, the latter being headed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). During 88 days, Lebanon and the Palestinian refugee camps were drowned in total chaos. Menahem Begin – Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 – had trusted in his General Ariel Sharon to carry forth his colonial theory “divide to rule”, to which the General added “destroy to govern”.
Israeli military prepotency, drunk with its war power, could not carry forth this last theory, it did not achieve its final objective: the destruction of the Palestinian revolution, the destruction of the PLO. In spite of the siege imposed by Israeli forces in West Beirut during 77 days, the Israeli Prime Minister could not enjoy the pleasure of placing the head – as he had anticipated – of Commander Yasser Arafat and Palestinian leaders on his desk... Deep inside, Israel knew it had begun to suffer a strong defeat, politically and militarily, before the Palestinian national resistance.
The international community called for, as its “sine qua non” condition: the Israeli redeployment and the withdrawal of the PLO from Beirut as a solution to calm the war. Different to the Israeli army, which until today remains in Lebanon, the Palestinian resistance, respecting the territorial rights of the Lebanese brotherly people, accepted this request, leaving the protection of the refugee camps to the multinational peace forces. But the taste of death soon caught up with many of those Palestinians.
Without the presence of the PLO, it fell the night of September 16th and until September 18th of 1982. The Sabra and Chatila camps were surrounded by the army of Ariel Sharon, isolating them from the world, seducing a small group of Lebanese mercenaries who followed their lower instincts and did not doubt in unchaining their hatred.
With hatches, knives and mass killings, defenseless Palestinian civilians were murdered, while Israeli Bulldozers quickly mixed rubble with corpses.
than 5000 Palestinian Martyrs turned the air of Sabra and Chatila into the
memories of death.