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Year 2005 No. 108, September 19, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

All Out for the September 24 International Day of Action against War and Occupation!

Workers' Daily Internet Edition: Article Index :

All Out for the September 24 International Day of Action against War and Occupation!


The Forgotten Horror of Sabra and Shatila
For Your Information: Sabra and Shatila: September 16, 1982
Despite Disengagement, Gaza Strip Still Serves as Large Prison

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All Out for the September 24 International Day of Action against War and Occupation!

On September 24, actions are being organised around the world against imperialist war and occupation. These actions are an expression of the people’s opposition to the path of wrecking and destruction of US imperialism, as seen in the Bush administration’s criminal negligence leading to the current disaster in the Gulf states, and globally through aggressions against Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Haiti and elsewhere.

          In Britain, the protests are being held under the banner of marching for peace and liberty, an expression of the demands of the people that the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq should be ended, that Britain’s aggressive, chauvinist and interventionist foreign policy should be reversed, that the attacks on democratic rights, including the right to life, under the pretext that “the rules of the game have changed” be halted and that all sections of the people should strengthen their unity in defence of the rights of all.

            Participation in the September 24 actions will further strengthen the people’s unity and resolve to put an end to Bush and Blair’s aggressive wars and blatant lies, and that these warmongers should be brought to justice for their crimes. It will strengthen the unity in action of the democratic forces in Britain with peoples taking a stand throughout the world, especially those in the US fighting against the Bush regime. It will demonstrate the people’s growing movement to resist and call a halt to the path of war and fascism which the Bush-Blair alliance is attempting to impose on the world. WDIE calls on everyone to go all out to mobilise for and participate in the September 24 actions.

Bring the Troops Home Now!

Oppose the Hysteria that “The Rules of the Game Have Changed”!

All Out for September 24 International Day of Action Against War and Occupation!


Details of Actions

Article Index



Volume 5, September 13, 2005


Published by South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition
c/o Trinity House Social Centre, 134 Laygate, South Shields, NE33 4JD

48 pages
Price: By Donation


If there is something that has impressed people over the last week, it will be the shocking way the US government, under George Bush, responded to the hurricane that hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. People can’t understand how a country which claims to be so rich and powerful cannot respond to such a tragedy and why it is now dispensing military solutions and dispersing people to the four corners of the USA instead of trying to help them recover their city and their lives.

            Just as the people of the Middle East and Iraq demand an end to US occupation and redress from the United States for its illegal annexation and the massacres of its people and destruction of their country, the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, especially the poor, now demand redress from the same failed state which has failed in its responsibility to all the people of the United States.

            This is the same way that a similar failed state in Britain has failed in its responsibility to the peoples of Britain over the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. When this is leading to increased tension and is the cause of individual acts and of state terror it can only respond with an offensive against the rights of the people, against their religious and other beliefs, with the attack on Islam and the right of progressive people to fight for a better world other than the one this failed state is trying to retain by disinformation and force.

            The people must respond with an offensive of their own as one of the articles says. “We must prepare ourselves by continuing to keep the initiative in our own hands to consider these problems confronting humanity and make our own arrangements in terms of providing information and organisation to strengthen the anti-war movement and strengthen our unity to occupy this space for another world that we will create ourselves.”


To contact South Tyneside Stop the War Coalition

E-mail: STSWC@blueyonder.co.uk

Web: http://philiptalbot.members.beeb.net/ststwc.html

Article Index

The Forgotten Horror of Sabra and Shatila

By Shad Saleem Faruqi*

The world has just commemorated the tragedy of Sept 11, 2001. But there is another significant anniversary this month that will not attract the same sort of attention.

            On Sept 16, 1982, Tel Aviv-trained Lebanese Christian militias were sent by Israel to "cleanse" the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps of all "PLO militants". In the three-day slaughter that followed, 3,500 were tortured, raped and murdered. The world just stood by.

            The massacre followed in the wake of Israel’s illegal invasion of southern Lebanon on June 6, 1982, with the avowed aim of neutralising the Palestinian fedayeen who had sought refuge in Lebanon. Israel also justified its invasion by citing the attempted assassination of Israeli Ambassador Argov in London on June 4.

            After two months of fighting, which left 18,000 dead and 30,000 injured, US envoy Philip Habib mediated an agreement according to which Palestine Liberation Organisation fighters would leave Lebanon under international escort, Israel would refrain from occupying West Beirut after the fedayeen left and the US would guarantee the security of the remaining Palestinian civilian population.

            The fedayeen were, in fact, evacuated by Sept 1. On Sept 3, Israel occupied Bir Hassan in the suburbs of Beirut in violation of the Habib agreement. Mysteriously, between Sept 10 and 13, the US contingent in the international peacekeeping force left Beirut two weeks before its mandate expired. Other contingents followed suit.

            On Sept 14, Maronite Christian President Bashir Gemayel was assassinated. Using that as a pretext, Ariel Sharon, then Israeli Defence Minister, ordered the illegal occupation of West Beirut. The Israeli army, being an occupation force under the Fourth Geneva Convention and Protocol 1, then became responsible for the security of the civilian population under its control.

            Instead of protecting the inmates of the refugee camps, Sharon had meetings with Israeli ally Major Saad Haddad, leader of the South Lebanon Army militia, and Phalangist militiamen and politicians Elie Hobeika, Fadie Frem, Zahi Bustami, Amin and Pierre Gemayel. Israeli soldiers surrounded and sealed the camps but allowed the Haddads and the Phalangists to enter the refugee camps and go on a murder spree.

            Israel supplied bulldozers to demolish buildings and bury the victims in mass graves. Any refugees fleeing the massacre were turned back.

            From observation posts on the periphery of the camps, Israeli generals planned and observed the massacre of the inmates. At night the Israeli Defence Force fired flares to light up the sky for the murderous attacks to continue. The Lebanese militia were given food, water and ammunition throughout the massacre.

            From Sept 16 to 18, the Phalangists and Haddad’s militia carried out a rampage of rape and murder resulting in the loss of 3,500 Palestinian lives. The Israeli army played an abettor’s role in both the massacre and the subsequent internment, torture and disappearance of many of the camps’ inhabitants.

            Robert Fisk, the respected British journalist, recollects the crimes graphically. "There were women lying in houses with their skirts torn up to their waists and their legs wide apart; children with their throats cut; rows of young men shot after being lined up at an execution wall; a pregnant woman with her stomach slit open sideways and then upwards, her eyes wide open, her dark face frozen in horror; babies tossed into rubbish heaps alongside discarded US army ration tins; Israeli flare canisters lying around still attached to their tiny parachutes."

            In February 1983, an Israeli commission, in a report that Noam Chomsky and Fisk described as a "whitewash", laid the entire blame for the mass murders on Christian Phalangists and found the Israeli army and Sharon only indirectly responsible for ignoring the danger of revenge and bloodshed by the Phalangists. Very adroitly, the Kahan Commission ignored the evidence that Haddad and Phalangist troops operated under Israeli command and with full Israeli assistance.

            On Sept 19, 1982, the Security Council and on Dec 16, 1982 the UN General Assembly condemned the massacre as an act of genocide. But no one was ever tried or punished for the atrocities.

            Elie Hobeika, commander of the murderous Maronite forces, went on to become a Lebanese MP and Cabinet minister. Sharon resigned as Defence Minister but was retained in the Cabinet and went on to become Prime Minister.

            In January 2002, criminal complaints were filed against Sharon in Belgian courts for war crimes. Several key witnesses, including Hobeika and his associates Nassar and Ghanem, who agreed to give evidence against Sharon were mysteriously assassinated.

            On Feb 14, 2005, the International Court of Justice ruled that past and present government leaders cannot be tried for war crimes by a foreign state because of diplomatic immunity. They can only be held to account in their own country or by an international body like the United Nations.

            Sadly, the ICJ decision did not comment on why Sharon and other Israeli leaders were never referred to an international court, unlike former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. To observers it may appear that only those acting contrary to the interests of the superpowers are subject to international law but not allies of the US like Sharon.

            The role of the US in the Sabra-Shatila carnage has never been fully explained.

           When on Sept 3, 1982, Israel deployed its armed forces beyond the ceasefire line established by the Habib Agreement, why did the US not demand a withdrawal?

           Why did the US on Sept 11 pull out the last of its peace- keeping force two weeks before its 30-day mandate expired? The US withdrawal triggered the departure of other international forces.

           The US never formally lodged a protest about either the invasion of Beirut or the genocide that occurred in Sabra and Shatila. Though there was some public show of displeasure, in private Israel received the nod to proceed with its policy to "cleanse" the camps.

           President Ronald Reagan increased military aid to Israel in 1983 and 1984 despite the building of new settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights and despite Israel’s participation in the genocide at Sabra and Shatila.

           Two decades after Sabra and Shatila, Sharon was anointed by George W. Bush as a "man of peace". Israel receives US$100 billion in aid from the US per year.

            In this month of shame, as we mourn the perfidy of Sept 11, let us also spare a moment of prayer for the victims of Sabra and Shatila.

* The writer is professor of law and legal adviser at Universiti Teknologi Mara. Source: New Straits Times - Malaysia (Sep. 14, 2005)

Article Index

For Your Information

Sabra and Shatila: September 16, 1982

September 16 was the day of commemoration of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, when up to 3,500 civilians, mainly Palestinian refugees, died in refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon.

            On September 11, 1982, Israeli Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, the architect of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, announced that "2,000 terrorists" had remained inside the Palestinian refugee camps around Beirut. On September 15, the day after the assassination of Israeli-allied Phalangist militia leader and Lebanese President-elect Bashir Gemayel, the Israeli army occupied West Beirut, "encircling and sealing" the camps of Sabra and Shatila, which were inhabited by Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. By mid-day on 15 September 1982, the refugee camps were entirely surrounded by Israeli tanks and soldiers, who installed checkpoints at strategic locations and crossroads around the camps in order to monitor the entry or exit of any person. During the late afternoon and evening of that day, the camps were shelled. Around mid-day on September 16, 1982, a unit of approximately 150 Israeli-allied Phalangists entered the first camp. For the next 40 hours members of the Phalangist militia raped, killed, and injured a large number of unarmed civilians, mostly children, women and elderly people inside the encircled and sealed camps. The estimate of victims varies between 700 (the official Israeli figure) to 3,500.

            Under the Universal Jurisdiction Law of Belgium, Ariel Sharon, now Prime Minister of Israel, was charged in relation to the Sabra and Shatila massacre. The case failed when Belgium was forced to abandon its law through US and other pressure. The law simply put Belgian law into agreement with the Geneva Conventions, something expected from every state that is a signatory to the Conventions. The Geneva Conventions call for prosecution or extradition of anyone guilty of crimes against humanity.

Article Index

Despite Disengagement, Gaza Strip Still Serves as Large Prison

by Hisham Abdul Razek*

This is not the way to make peace. I feel no joy in my heart, and there is nothing to celebrate.

            The disengagement made the prison’s limits larger, but did not free us from our prison or the Israeli warden. How can we be merry if we are imprisoned in the Gaza Strip and many of our brothers are jailed in Israel?

            The disengagement is an Israeli move meant to make the children happy for a few days, but no more. The Israeli occupation surrounds us on all directions, from the sea, the air, the land, and at the crossings. It surrounds and chokes us.

            A million and a half Palestinians are imprisoned, and the disengagement does not make us a free people in our country.

            It is good to no longer have the settlements before our eyes. It is good to no longer see tanks. Yet the new reality cannot be described as a victory and the unilateral pullout cannot be described as peace.

            Those who want peace have to talk peace and strive for peace and a final-status solution between the two peoples. The disengagement and Gaza’s new reality will not be “delivering the goods” for the Palestinian people.

            I understand there are issues that are important to Israel like security and arms smuggling. No problem, undertake the necessary steps to facilitate security control, but do not strangle an entire nation. I realize Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not interested in a permanent agreement – he wants a long-term temporary solution.

            Yet with the disengagement you only fan the flames of hatred and fail to advance peace. To my regret, that hatred which played a role in the conflict in the past, is playing a role now and will continue to play a role in the future. Don’t you understand we cannot subsist on our own? Everyone knows that the Gaza Strip, even before 1948, could not subsist independently. Just like it could not do so in the past, it certainly cannot do so now.

            If this was a genuine disengagement, we would accept it as is, but in the current situation you are not providing us with lungs to breathe with. Reality is difficult as it is, and with the disengagement you only made it more complex. This is not how peace is made.

* Hisham Abdul Razek is the Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs

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