The Massacre of Sabra & Shatila – What occured 36 years ago


On this day (16 September 1982), following the “Israeli” invasion of Lebanon, the right-wing Christian Phalange militia stormed the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut and began a massacre which ended in the deaths of thousands of Palestinian Muslims.

“Israel’s” invasion began 6 June 1982. After much destruction, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed to leave Lebanon in August on American assurances that civilians left behind would be protected. The president-elect of Lebanon, Bachir Gemayel, who was was also the leader of the Phalange, was assassinated on 14th September and the “Israeli” army proceeded to invade and occupy West Beirut.

IDF troops surrounded the camps of Sabra and Shatila to prevent the refugees from leaving and allowed the entry of the Christian Phalange, who were known for their hatred of Muslims. “Israel” fired flares throughout the night to light up the killing field – thus allowing the Christian militiamen to see their way through the narrow alleys of the camps. The massacre lasted for three days, with approximately 3500 Muslims, including children, infants, women and elderly brutally slaughtered. As the bloodbath concluded, “Israel” supplied bulldozers to dig mass graves on the orders of Ariel Sharon who was then the Israeli Defence Minister and later became the  Prime Minister of “Israel”.

The massacre at Sabra and Shatila was a direct consequence of the impunity bestowed on “Israel” by the US and the UN. This tragic anniversary is a reminder that the there is no accountability for the crimes committed by “Israel”. 36 years after the massacre, “Israel” continues to abuse Palestinians without consequence, whether it is indirectly through the Phalange in the past or directly through its military forces. The IDF continues to commit war crimes with impunity, as evidenced by Israel’s repeated attacks on the tiny besieged Gaza Strip over the past decade, which have killed thousands of innocent Muslims.

The dehumanisation of Palestinians by “Israel”, the US and the wider western world is the same dehumanisation that led “Israel” to allow Christian militiamen to enter the Sabra and Shatila camps and undertake a bloody massacre and allows the continued occupation of Muslim land whilst inflicting murder, injury and humiliation. “Israel’s” years of occupation and dispossession is supported by unconditional American military aid and backing along with empty UN resolutions.

Since the destruction of the Khilafah in 1924 the Shield of the Ummah has been absent which has led to many massacres against the Ummah. The Sabra and Shatila massacre is only one of many crimes committed against the Ummah. Since then we have witnessed further massacres against the Ummah in Bosnia, Kashmir, Burma, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and the list continues. It is clear for all to see that without the existence of the Khilafah, the Ummah is exposed to the crimes of the enemies of Islam. The longer we remain bystanders in the war being waged against Islam and neglect our responsibility of working to resume the Islamic way of life, the longer we will continue to witness further bloodshed and destruction in the Muslim world.

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Jahir Kashem

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