They closed the doors and windows
They stuffed a fistful of sand into her mouth and
Their hands ripped her stomach
they urinated on her face.
Fatima took the statue’s hand
and walked lightly between the trees and the
She reached the sea
her body raised above death.
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).
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.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Robert Fisk provides eye witness report of the slaughter of hundreds of Palestinians by Lebanese Christian militias who were under the control of the Israeli military.
By Robert Fisk
Robert Fisk was one of the first journalists to be present at the scene of the horrific murders in Lebanon, September 17th, 1982. He has published a number of different books and currently writes columns for The Independent newspaper. The following is extracted from his book, "Pity the Nation."
What we found inside the Palestinian camp at ten o'clock on the morning of September 1982 did not quite beggar description, although it would have been easier to re-tell in the cold prose of a medical examination.
Jenkins and Tveit were so overwhelmed by what we found in Shatila that at first we were unable to register our own shock. Bill Foley of AP had come with us. All he could say as he walked round was "Jesus Christ" over and over again. We might have accepted evidence of a few murders; even dozens of bodies, killed in the heat of combat.
Where were the murderers?
Just inside the southern entrance to the camp, there used to be a number of single-story, concrete walled houses. I had conducted many interviews in these hovels in the late 1970's. When we walked across the muddy entrance to Shatila, we found that these buildings had been dynamited to the ground. There were cartridge cases across the main road. I saw several Israeli flare canisters, still attached to their tiny parachutes. Clouds of flies moved across the rubble, raiding parties with a nose for victory.
Down a laneway to our right, no more than 50 yards from the entrance, there lay a pile of corpses. There were more than a dozen of them~ young men whose arms and legs had been wrapped around each other in the agony of death. All had been shot point-blank range through the cheek, the bullet tearing away a line of flesh up to the ear and entering the brain. Some had vivid crimson or black scars down the left side of their throats.
The eyes of these young men were all open. The youngest was only 12 or 13 years old. They were dressed in jeans and coloured shirts, the material absurdly tight over their flesh now that their bodies had begun to bloat in the heat. They had not been robbed. On one blackened wrist a Swiss watch recorded the correct time, the second hand still ticking round uselessly, expending the last energies of its dead owner.
On the other side of the main road, up a track through the debris, we found the bodies of five women and several children. The women were middle-aged and their corpses lay draped over a pile of rubble. One lay on her back, her dress torn open and the head of a little girl emerging from behind her. The girl had short dark curly hair, her eyes were staring at us and there was a frown on her face. She was dead.
Another child lay on the roadway like a discarded doll, her white dress stained with mud and dust. She could have been no more than three years old. The back of her head had been blown away by a bullet fired into her brain. One of the women also held a tiny baby to her body. The bullet that had passed into her breast had killed the baby too.
As we stood there, we heard a shout in Arabic from across the ruins.
When does a killing become an outrage?When does an atrocity become a massacre?Or, put another way, how many killings make a massacre?
That, I suspected, was what this argument was about.
If Syrian troops had crossed into Israel, surrounded a Kibbutz and allowed their Palestinian allies to slaughter the Jewish inhabitants, no Western news agency would waste its time afterwards arguing about whether or not it should be called a massacre.