I have edited and abridged most of this article which continues at bottom link. (r.a. note)
AHRAM Online By Amira Howeidy Posted Wed., Sept.16, 2015
Thirty-three years today, Israeli-backed Christian Lebanese Phalangist militias massacred 3,500 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. We republish an Ahram Weekly flashback account to mark one of the 20th century’s worst atrocities
FLASHBACK ACCOUNT–The images only resurface in our collective memory when the almost unbelievable footage is aired on TV screens. Sun-bloated corpses — some mutilated, others too dark or disfigured to know that they were human — are covered with flies.
Disembowelled women and decapitated bodies and limbs veer into view among piles and piles of the shattered bodies of Palestinian men, women and children swimming in pools of sticky blood.
These grotesques scenes document the carnage wrought during the bloodbath orchestrated by Israel and its Lebanese Christian militia, the Phalange, which took over 3,000 Palestinian lives in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.
Last Sunday (2001)marked the 19th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre (1982) but this year (2001) had all the markings of being different. …Souad Surour El-Merhi, the iconic victim and survivor of this massacre, travelled to Belgium and filed a complaint, the first of its kind, against the perpetrators of the massacre.
Citing Lebanese statistics, the official complaint presented to the Belgian judiciary requesting an investigation into the massacre said that the Israeli offensive resulted in 18,000 deaths and 30,000 injuries, mostly among civilians.
…the victims and survivors of Sabra and Shatila had every reason to hope that justice could finally be near for the main perpetrators of their misery, notably current (2001) Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and top Christian Phalange official Elie Hobeika.
Lebanon, 6 June 1982: Israeli Prime Minister Menehem Begin and Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, with the complicity of US Secretary of State Alexander Haig, order the invasion of Lebanon. The objective was to purge Lebanon of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), a goal that was also shared by the Phalange.
Having occupied the south of the country and destroyed Palestinian and Lebanese residences there, simultaneously committing a series of gross human rights violations against the civilian population, the Israeli troops penetrated as far as Beirut. By 18 June 1982 they had surrounded the PLO’s armed forces in the west side of the town.
After two months of fighting, a ceasefire was negotiated, mediated by US envoy Philip Habib. It was agreed that the PLO would evacuate Beirut under the supervision of a multinational force.
The Habib Accords envisaged the subsequent takeover of West Beirut by the Lebanese army and the Palestinian leadership was given American guarantees for the security of civilians in the camps after the evacuation.
Dawn, 15 September 1982: Israeli fighter- bombers begin flying low over West Beirut. Israeli troops have ensured the entry of the Phalange into Sabra and Shatila camps. Sharon, he was present from 9.00am, to personally direct the Israeli penetration, installing himself in the general army area, situated at the edge of Shatila.
During the morning, shells were fired down towards the camps from high locations and Israeli snipers were shooting down at people in the streets. At about midday, the Israeli military command gave the Phalangist militia the green light to enter the refugee camps.
16-18 September 1982: Terror and carnage rage unchecked for three days as the cold-blooded massacre unfolded.
Until the morning of Saturday, 18 September 1982, the Israeli army, aware of what was going on in the camps, and whose leaders were in permanent contact with the militia leaders who perpetrated the massacre, did not intervene.
Instead, they assisted the operation by lighting the night sky with a stream of flares shot from helicopters and mortars. The death toll was as high as 3,500. Approximately 1,000 people buried in communal graves by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
…a large number of corpses were buried under buildings bulldozed by the militia themselves. Hundreds more people were placed in trucks and sent off to unknown destinations. They never returned.
An account by well-known British journalist Robert Fisk captures the scene immediately after the massacre: “I walked into a place of such horror that — for the first and only night of my life — I suffered ferocious nightmares…”