RAMALLAH, September 16, 2013 (WAFA) – Palestinians commemorated Monday the 31st anniversary of the massacre of at least 3000 Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila camps in Beirut during the Israeli army invasion and occupation the Lebanese capital.
“On the 31st anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, we take this opportunity to remember the victims of that dreaded episode and recall the importance of working to end impunity for such crimes,” said PLO Executive Committee member, Saeb Erekat.
On this day 31 years ago, the Lebanese Phalange militia in collaboration with the Israeli army, slaughtered countless Palestinian refugees, mostly women, children, and elderly in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Beirut.
With Palestinian fighters having withdrawn from Lebanon just a few weeks prior, and the Israeli army in effective control of the area around the camp, the residents were absolutely defenseless. The massacre took place over a 3-day period.
Erekat continued, “31 years later, there is still no justice for the victims. In fact, those responsible, including then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, would go on to have very successful political careers, adding further insult to the injury.”
“Unfortunately, this was not the first or the last massacre to take place in our history. It is our responsibility and our right to take all measures to protect our people, deter such crimes, and seek accountability for the perpetrators by relying on the system of international criminal justice. That is a primary duty of any government.”
Erekat concluded, “While negotiations are ongoing, we want to assure our people, from Sabra and Shatila to Yarmouk (in Syria), that a solution to the refugee issue in compliance with international law, including UN General Assembly Resolution 194, will be the cornerstone of any agreement. The rights of refugees have been denied for too long, and there can be no lasting and just peace so long as that continues to be the case.”