Friday, June 22, 2012

History Lesson: Tel al-Zaatar massacre

How little the world knows about the history of "Palestinian resistance"  except as it pertains to Israel and can be used to bludgeon Israeli self-defence against it. Here is one event that I'm willing to bet no one currently employed on CBC or CNN knows anything about. From wikipedia:

"On August 12 the camp finally fell, following an on-and-off siege of several months. During the last two months, the siege had tightened. Heavy artillery shelling damaged much of the camp and killed a number of inhabitants. John Bulloch, The Daily Telegraph correspondent in Beirut at the time wrote, "In their bitterness the Palestinian commanders ordered their artillery to open up on the fringes of the camp with the ostensible objective of hampering the attackers and helping those inside; instead the shells were landing among the hundreds who had got through the perimeter and were trying to escape. When they were told of this, the Palestinians made no attempt to lift their fire: they wanted martyrs".
Robert Fisk wrote in his biographical profile of Yasser Arafat, The Broken Revolutionary, "When Arafat needed martyrs in 1976, he called for a truce around the besieged refugee camp of Tel el-Zaatar, then ordered his commanders in the camp to fire at their right-wing Lebanese Christian enemies. When, as a result, the Phalangists and "Tigers" militia slaughtered their way into Tel el-Zaatar, Arafat opened a "martyrs' village" for camp widows in the sacked Christian village of Damour. On his first visit, the widows pelted him with stones and rotten fruit. Journalists were ordered away at gunpoint."
In an L.A. Weekly interview published May 30, 2002, Fisk recalls "Arafat is a very immoral person, or maybe very amoral. A very cynical man. I remember when the Tal-al-Zaatar refugee camp in Beirut had to surrender to Christian forces in the very brutal Lebanese civil war. They were given permission to surrender with a cease-fire. But at the last moment, Arafat told his men to open fire on the Christian forces who were coming to accept the surrender. I think Arafat wanted more Palestinian "martyrs" in order to publicize the Palestinian position in the war. That was in 1976. Believe me that Arafat is not a changed man."[12]
The massacre is said to have contributed to the mounting Sunni Muslim dissent within the Alawi-ruled country.[citation needed] As a result, Syria broke off its offensive on the PLO and the LNM, and agreed to an Arab League summit which temporarily ended the Civil War.
The PLO used the former Christian town of Damour to house survivors of the Tel al-Zaatar massacre.[13] Damour, a Christian town on the main highway south of Beirut, had been the site of a massacre by PLO military units on January 20, 1976. The populace not killed in the massacre had been forced to flee the town.
The split in the PLO leadership was ended when the Syrian backed As-Sa'iqa movement was expelled from the PLO, leaving Fatah as the dominant party.[14]
Hafez al-Assad received strong criticism and pressure from across the Arab world for his involvement in the massacre - this criticism, as well as the internal dissent it caused as an Alawite ruler in a majority Sunni country, led to a cease-fire in his war on the Palestinian militia forces.[15]

Estimations of the numbers of victims

  • Harris (p. 165) writes that "Perhaps 3,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, died in the siege and its aftermath"
  • Cobban (p. 142) writes that 1 500 camp residents were killed in one day and a total of 2 200 were killed throughout the events.
  • James Ron (2003) p 84. gives 1,000 - 2,000
  • Canadian artist Jayce Salloum states that 2,000 people died during the entire siege, and 4,000 were wounded.
  • The Lebanese-American Association estimates that "many of the several thousand civilians who had remained there [during the siege] were killed."
  • World Socialist Web Site The bitter legacy of Syria's Hafez al-Assad By Jean Shaoul and Chris Marsden 16 June 2000, gives a figure of "2,000 refugees" for Tel al-Zaatar and the Karantina Massacre together."
Here is a report about the status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon today: It says:

""The Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are considered the worst of the region’s refugee camps in terms of poverty, health, education and living conditions," said the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) in a report released on World Refugee Day.  ANERA cites discrimination, isolation, poverty, joblessness, poor housing and a lack of proper schools, clinics, hospitals and sewage systems as problems affecting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.  "Lebanon has the highest percentage of Palestinian refugees living in extreme poverty. Two out of three Palestinian refugees subsist on less than $6 a day," the report said."
The article quoted concludes with this interesting sentiment: 
"We thank Lebanon for hosting us through all these years, but I don't understand why we need to be deprived of all our rights," said 43-year-old Ziad Shtewi."

This gratitude expressed, despite the genuine apartheid imposed on these "refugees" by the Arab nations and  in complicity with the UN through its UNRWA, and despite Lebanese state violence against them:

":ANERA's report was released days after three Palestinians were killed in three separate clashes with the Lebanese army -- two in Nahr al-Bared camp in north Lebanon, and one in Ain al-Hilweh near the southern port city of Saida."

This situation is treated with almost total quietism from the usual bleeding heart European Leftists. Why? Because there are no Jews involved, not even on the periphery of the events.



At 6:47 AM EDT, Anonymous Benjamin said...

Wonder what Foaming Arab would say to this.

At 12:55 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

500 palestinian fighters inside the camp fought for 52 days with no food or water. They were able to rebel 10,000 of lebanese phalangsits, ahrar tigers, tanzim, lebanese army, syrian army and israeli soldiers. 52 days. The Palestinian fighter killed as many as 2000 enemy militiamen and lebanese soldiers including their facist military leader William Hawi.
If it was not for the syrian army, lebanese army and israeli help, Tel Zaatar will not be Tel zaatar now.


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