The following statement is from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist-Leninist organization that has been heroicly waging armed struggle against U.S./Israeli occupation for 40 years.
26 Years after Sabra and Shatila massacre – the struggle continues!
September 2008 marks the 26th anniversary of the massacres at Sabra and Shatila. On this year of the 60th anniversary of Al-Nakba, as our people remain under siege and in refugee camps, struggling to return home, and as the resistance in Palestine, in Lebanon and Iraq continues to tell a story of steadfastness and popular power against vast brutality, massacres and military might, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine remembers Sabra and Shatila and pledges to continue the struggle for return and liberation.
On September 16-18, 1982, thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese residents of Sabra and Shatila refugee camps near Beirut, Lebanon, were brutally murdered in one of the most horrifying massacres in recent history. The massacres, carried out by right-wing Phalangist militias in Lebanon at the behest of and with the approval of invading Zionist armies, were yet another catastrophe visited upon the Palestinian people by a state determined to crush the Palestinian people, their resistance and their very existence.
Many Palestinians live in the camps in Lebanon, having been forced from our homes and lands in 1948 and denied our right to return home ever since. The Palestinians in Lebanon, alongside their Lebanese Arab sisters and brothers, organized within the camps, building their community and resistance organizations and the Palestine Liberation Organization.
On June 6, 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon, stating its plans to attack the PLO, blaming the ongoing Lebanese civil war – and killing 17,000 Palestinians and Lebanese. A few days later, the invading army besieged Beirut for two months before Palestinian resistance fighters evacuated Lebanon under the auspices of a multinational force that was supposed to protect Palestinian refugees.
On September 15, 1982, Israeli forces invaded West Beirut in clear violation of its agreement to evacuate the city. A few days later, Ariel Sharon ordered entry of the Lebanese Forces (a rightwing Phalangist militia with a long history of close relations with the Israeli government) and the South Lebanon Army (Israel’s proxy militia in Southern Lebanon) into Sabra and Shatila camp, sealing the areas off with Israeli tanks. When the militias entered the camps they faced only the resistance of lightly-armed young boys, the Ashbaal.
For the next 38 hours, aided by material support from the Israeli army, including flares at night, these militiamen tortured, raped, mutilated and killed thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese residents of the camps. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, more than 2750 Palestinians were massacred while the city was occupied. The main war criminal bearing legal responsibility for the massacre is then-Israeli Minister of Defense, General Ariel Sharon.
Although the massacre was classified by the United Nations as a war crime, Sharon has never been brought to trial for his horrific crimes and instead returned to become prime minister of the Zionist state. Now near death, it is unlikely he will ever face justice for his crimes.
However, the crimes of Sabra and Shatila continue. Palestinian refugees continue to be denied their right to return and continue to struggle for the achievement of their national and collective rights. These refugees continue to be denied their civil and human rights in Lebanon, and face attacks and repression from the security forces, as illustrated by the recent destruction of Nahr el-Bared camp.
The Palestinian people continue to live, to resist and to struggle for return and liberation after the blood of many martyrs have fallen in defense of our national rights and our national existence. On the 26th anniversary of the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine pays tribute to the martyrs and expresses its steadfast commitment to continue on the path of liberation and resistance, until return, until victory, until justice, until liberaton.