Palestinian Refugee Massacre

Published: 1982
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Beirut: Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat looks pleased as he holds a child in a shelter in Beirut on June 21, 1982. The PLO leader visited families under Israeli shelling. Arafat also held talks with high ranking Lebanese and Palestinian leaders. (UPI Photo/Ramzi Haidar/Files)

Nick Charles: On September 18th, the world was shocked to hear that hundreds of Palestinians were massacred at two refuge camps in Beirut, over a two-day period.

Unknown Speaker: “We had children, we had children coming into the hospital, yesterday one small boy who is now at the American hospital, came in said that the commandos just kicked open the door and shot all his family in front him and he was only survivor and he said that there was no reason for them to do that because they were just sitting in the house, afraid and terrified. We had many horror stories.”

Nick Charles: And correspondent Walter Wasneuski reported that the Israeli backed right wing militia was being blamed.

Walter Wasneuski: “Men, women and children were gunned downed methodically by a team of killers over a 36-hour of period. Members of the militia of the right-wing Phalange Party and the forces of Pro-Israeli Major Saad Haddad were holding the camps during that time. The Israeli left the camp in the control of their right-wing Lebanese allies or avowed enemies of the Palestinians, despite complaints by US diplomats. Bullet punctured bodies are lying everywhere in groups as large as 15 in some places. Men were lined up against the wall and executed, their bodies falling together in a heap. Not a soul was left alive after the killers swept through. Walter Wasneuski, Beirut.

Nick Charles: The massacre stood a massive international outcry. At first Israeli primer minister Begin, who said he didn't learn of the massacre until two days after it started, said there would not be an investigation of the incident, but then backed down, under international pressure and ordered a special panel to determine what part, if any the Israeli's had in the massacre.