I witnessed the aftermath of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre, carried out with Zionist complicity as a preview for the “final solution to the Palestinian problem.” With the present Israeli government, this goal is within reach.

By Rev. Dr. Don Wagner, Mondoweiss

Forty-one years ago, I was in Lebanon leading a group of ten U.S. relief and development directors hoping to introduce them to the extensive needs of impoverished Lebanese and Palestinian refugees.  On June 4, 1982, around 3:00 p.m., we were on our way to the crowded Fakhani district of Beirut when a fleet of Israeli warplanes (U.S.-made F-16s) roared in from the Mediterranean Sea, dropping bombs on the area we were about to visit. We took cover in a hotel basement. After the bombing subsided, I phoned our hosts, who proposed we meet them another day as they were busy searching for survivors from the bombing.

Crimes against Palestine past and present

We visited a Red Crescent hospital near the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps the next morning. We were taken to a hospital wing that had been struck by the Israeli bombing the previous day.  Suddenly air-raid sirens went off and we were rushed to the basement with the patients and hospital staff. Again, Israeli F-16s were bombing various targets in the area.  About twenty minutes later a series of ambulances arrived at the hospital’s emergency entrance and unloaded stretchers carrying teenage girls — some having lost limbs and others enduring severe burns.  Hospital workers had just unloaded 19 body bags with girls who had died.  As the families of the teenagers began to arrive, learning that their loved ones had been lost,  the cries and wailing of the mothers and sisters pierced our hearts. Everyone in our group wept with them.  Later, we learned that the UN staff had provided the Israeli military with the route of the Palestinian girls’ field trip, but the military commanders chose to ignore the information, and the three clearly marked UN school buses were targeted on the coastal road.

Sickened by this savagery, I felt we had to tell this story to a U.S. media outlet. We found the addresses and phone numbers of the CBS, ABC, and CNN Bureaus but only NBC answered.  Mike Mallory, the NBC Bureau Chief, agreed to interview us.  He warned us that all of their recent dispatches were cut by Israeli censors in the New York studios.   He conducted a twenty-minute interview with our group, based on what we had witnessed.  We learned later our interview was also rejected.

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