The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London held a webinar entitled “Sabra and Shatila Massacre: 40 Years of Injustice”, in reference to one of the most harrowing massacres committed in Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp, and the adjacent neighbourhood of Sabra, located southwest of Lebanon’s capital city Beirut.
During the panel discussion, which was chaired by head of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Scotland, Mick Napier, testimonies by survivors and their calls for justice 40 years later were screened.
The event was held on the sidelines of the 51st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The first speaker was Ramzi Baroud, a US-Palestinian journalist, media consultant, an author, internationally-syndicated columnist. He has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter (2015). He is Editor of Palestine Chronicle (1999-present), former Managing Editor of London-based Middle East Eye, former Editor-in-Chief of The Brunei Times and former Deputy Managing Editor of Al Jazeera online. Baroud is the author of six books and a contributor to many others; his latest volume , co-edited with Ilan Pappe is Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out.
Dr. Baroud thanked the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) for raising the issue 40 years after the notorious Sabra and Shatila massacre was committed.
“Time should not be an element to forget”, said Baroud. “The effects of the massacre are ongoing just like the Nakbah of 1948. The victims of the massacre remain the same—the Palestinians—and the perpetrators of the massacre are the same—the Israelis”.
“Yet, the international community have failed miserably to accord any sort of accountability on Israel”, said Baroud. “Israel blacklists anybody who demands accountability as anti-Semitic. Israel is indeed responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacre, in which between 2000 and 3000 people were killed and yet Israel denies any responsibility for that massacre. We cant’ blame the massacre on Arabs as Israel claims. The soldiers were Israelis and the guns as well.”
According to Baroud, the violent and savage mindset of the Israeli army and the violent mindset by the international community and the US-led lobby have provided an unjustified impunity for Israeli war criminals.
The next speaker was political activist and researcher Yasser Ali. He sounded the alarm over the plight of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, where, according to UN data, 500,000 Palestinians have been taking shelter.
Ali said Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are denied their basic rights, including the right to ownership along with access to the labor market, education, and healthcare services. He added that Poverty and unemployment are estimated at over 85%.
Ali said the notorious massacre occurred in 1982, when criminal militants invaded shelters and hospitals and massacred hundreds of innocent people.
“The massacre led to severe economic social and psychological effects on the residents of Sabra and Shatila”, said Ali.
The researcher condemned the biased and unilateral position of the international community vis-à-vis the victims of Sabra and Shatila and the victims of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The third speaker, Mona Sukkarieh, covered the sense of bitterness inflicted by the Sabra and Shatila massacre because of the horrors and atrocities committed against Palestinian refugees and Lebanese people who posed no threat to Israel.
She spoke out against the absence of justice and accountability for the murder of unarmed civilians.
In her view, Israeli criminal plan consists not only of displacing Palestinian refugees from their homeland in Palestine but also exterminating Palestinian refugees wherever they are.
“This is an occasion to raise awareness about Israel’s criminal agenda”, she said as she wondered about the reason why the perpetrators of the massacre, though known, have not yet been brought to justice.
Last year, the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) in London submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council about the Sabra and Shatila massacre, which took place in Beirut 39 years ago, when Israeli-allied militiamen stormed the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in west Beirut and killed up to 3,500 people.
The report was added to the official archives of the UNHRC under code reference A_HRC_48_NGO_68-EN
Entitled “Sabra and Shatila: A genocide for which the criminal has not been held accountable”, the report said Sabra and Shatila is the biggest of all massacres. It was perpetrated in circumstances resembling the catastrophe. It took place during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 after the Israeli occupation soldiers had besieged the camp. Although those who carried out the massacre were actually from the Lebanese militias, it was the Israeli military that provided their protection and facilitated their mission.
The report called on the international community to bear full responsibility for restoring the rights and compensation of the victims of the massacre of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and to determine the responsibility accurately and prosecute all those who were involved and can be reached under international and humanitarian law and in light of this the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) calls on the United Nations to reopen the file, investigate again into the massacre, and prosecute those responsible within a special international court.
Watch the webinar HERE