Category Archives: Israel in Lebanon: Report of the Intern’l Commiss.

Appendix V, Part 5: Evidence re. the massacres at Sabra and Chatila

Appendix V: Selected testimony and reports

Part 5: Evidence relating to the massacres at Sabra and Chatila

Dr Ang (Gaza)’ and Dr McKenna testified to the Commission on 4 October 1982 in Beirut. Dr Swee Chai Ang is a Singaporean, permanently resident in Britain, and is an orthopaedic surgeon by training. She arrived in West Beirut on 18 August with part of the Christian Aid medical team, which had been sent from London. Dr Ang was seconded to Gaza Hospital and started work there on 28 August.

Dr Phil McKenna is an Irish citizen and volunteered to work at Gaza Hospital. She worked in West Beirut July-October 1982.

Commission: Dr Ang, can you relate to us your experiences from 15 September?
Dr Ang: On 14 September, evening, President-elect Gemayel was assassinated. On 15 September, early in the morning, about 5-5:30 AM, flights of airplanes began flying in at great speed towards Sabra and Chatila.

We expected trouble then. Shelling of Sabra, Chatila, Fakhani and Corniche Mazra began about 7.30-8 am. We didn’t receive many casualties then because the roads were almost totally blocked. Two Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances left to collect casualties, but they never returned. Up to today, I cannot find out what happened to them. On the whole of Wednesday (15 September) we had very few casualties except people who were wounded by shrapnel, who could be brought in by their families.
But on Thursday (16 September) our first major casualties arrived, and these were definitely high-velocity gunshot wounds. As a doctor I can say this, because the wound was small, there was a high vacuum, a huge area of tissue damage and a large area of exit wound. These can only be caused by high-velocity gunshot – rifle type weapons.
We had people who were shot through the jaw, shot through the brain, shot through their legs, shot through their abdomen. And our bed capacity increased from about 45 to 82 in the same day. We had to transfer about 30 patients to Makassad hospital, because we were too overworked, we couldn’t cope. And our mortuary filled up. I have a set of slides of the dead bodies in the mortuary. I was actually terrified of being killed before being able to produce this evidence.
It was evident from the casualties brought in then that gunmen had gone into the homes of the people in Sabra and Chatila camps and started shooting them in their homes. We were told by the casualties that the gunmen were not Israelis, but Lebanese with a Ba’albek accent.
On the whole of Thursday night and Friday morning we were operating very hard. On Friday morning, a hospital administrator sensed that something was going very wrong, so she went out of the hospital in an ambulance, wearing a white coat, to Makassad hospital, where she contacted the ICRC to say that there was a whole team of foreigners working in Gaza hospital, and that the Israelis should at least protect the foreigners, and spare them. The second thing she did was, she tried to radio contact the Israelis, to tell them that we have 2,000 refugees in the hospital, plus a whole team of foreign doctors. She registered all of us with the ICRC. She came back and said that – this was on Friday 17 – something very, very terrible is going to happen by sunset, and she believes that either the Kataebs or maybe the Haddads are going to come into the hospital and kill everybody. At this warning, she went round the whole hospital and told the refugees to evacuate. Also the patients began to take their own discharge.
After the hospital was evacuated, Dr Phil McKenna and myself and a whole team of foreigners were left behind.
On the following day (18 September) at 6.45 am soldiers appeared, and an American nurse spotted them and told me. So I sent one of the male doctors down to negotiate with them. And I went down as well. What they wanted at that time was all the foreign doctors and nurses to assemble in front of the hall. So I sent this doctor upstairs to collect all the other staff, and I stood and talked to them and I asked them who they were and they said they were from the army. I asked, ‘what army’? They replied, ‘Lebanese Forces’. Now, I was new to the country and I didn’t know what Lebanese Forces meant. Of course, I subsequently, found out that Lebanese Forces meant Kataeb.

Q: How were these militiamen dressed?

Ang: They had two yellow Arabic words on green uniforms, the Lebanese crest on one arm, and some of them had a blue triangle. Others had yellow insignia on their pockets.
They said, ‘Don’t be afraid. We want all foreign doctors to come down here, and we want to take you away for two or three hours for some interrogation, and we’ll bring you back’. So I asked him whether we should bring our luggage, but they said ‘No, don’t worry, we will come back with you’. The rest of the members of the team came down, and we were taken away by these so-called Lebanese Forces. We left behind a Swedish nurse, and a medical student to look after the intensive care. They later said that about half an hour after we left there was heavy machine gun-like shots for 20- 30 minutes, lots of screaming and crying and after that there was complete silence.
We were passed to a different group of soldiers, and a different group of soldiers, and a different group of soldiers. We were passed through four different groups of soldiers.
The first lot definitely looked Lebanese, but later on, by the time we were marched down Rue Sabra and taken to the UNICEF building for interrogation, the soldiers no longer looked like Kataeb. On the way I saw a lot of militiamen who had no identification at all. Just green uniforms and wearing baseball caps. No identification. The officer that took us from the camp was dressed in that kind of proper, Lebanese uniform, but as we got passed on and on the identification was lost. There was no more until we arrived at the Israeli headquarters and then the Israeli signs became clear.
They didn’t know what the World Council of Churches was, which surprised me, because if they were Phalangists, they would have known very well what the Middle East Council of Churches represents.

Q: Were they speaking Arabic?

Ang: Yes.

Q: Could you go over what you saw as you were taken from the hospital?

Ang: As we were marched down Rue Sabra, at 7-7.30 in the morning we saw about 800-1,000 people lined up in groups on both sides of the street. I can remember clearly seeing about five or six dead bodies who seemed to have been dead for a long time as a doctor I would say they had been dead for more than 12 hours. They were lying on the roadside. I remember seeing three bulldozers, big ones, tearing down the camp houses, and pulling down the rubble, and I don’t know whether I am imagining it, but I could see that some of that rubble had bodies in it.

Dr McKenna: I’d like to make a point here. By Saturday morning and by late Friday evening, all the Palestinian staff had left the hospital at our request and with our full approval. All of them, except for two teenage boys.

And when the staff of the hospital met on the steps, before the ‘Lebanese Forces’, these two Palestinians came with us, introduced themselves, showed their identity cards, and they were welcomed in Arabic. Together we all walked down through Chatila where the civilians were gathered in groups on either side of the road. About three or four hundred yards beyond that, one of the Palestinians was taken out of the group and brought behind us. And a German girl and myself looked behind. She said ‘Where are you taking him?’ And they replied ‘Mind your own business, we’re doing our duty, just like you’re doing your duty’. And about ten seconds later we heard shots. That boy is now dead.
As we came up the hill on the right hand side of the road (towards the Israeli headquarters), we were told to take off all white medical clothes. Some people were in white coats. Then we crossed the road towards the United Nations building. Suddenly an Israeli soldier approached the stragglers, of whom I was one and asked ‘where are they taking you’? He appeared out of nowhere, I don’t know where he came from, but suddenly he was there and I was, kind of, very happy to see somebody very worried about us. We said that we were being taken to the building ahead and asked him to get an Israeli officer here at once.
We were taken into a compound, where our passports were all gathered up, and then one by one we were taken for a little chat. Some were questioned by somebody speaking German. I was questioned by somebody speaking good English and they were very interested in the people from Germany. At this point we met a female soldier. When she heard that we were Christians, working mainly (though I wasn’t myself) with the Middle East Council of Churches she was aghast, surprised that we were working with Palestinians and in Gaza Hospital. Did we go there voluntarily, or were we sent by somebody? And why didn’t we work in East Beirut? We explained that there were people working in East Beirut, for example in Mother Theresa’s home for children.

Ang: We were taken from the UNICEF building, which is at the end of Rue Sabra, back to the Kuwaiti Embassy, up to a high ground area, which is the Israeli headquarters. And there we met an Israeli officer, who told us not to be afraid, and that he will do everything to help us and our patients, and an Israeli television crew was there and we were all given food and water and so on in front of the Israeli cameras. The building is about five stories tall, and I could see Israeli soldiers on top of the building, and now having gone back to where the spot is, I realise that where the Israeli general headquarters is, is within eye-range of what was going on in Sabra-Chatila. So there is no denying that the Israelis knew.
And also during this period of detention the Israelis kept telling us that they’re trying to protect us from the Haddads. At one stage the so-called Haddads were trying to take away one physiotherapist with them, and an Israeli officer just went up to them and said stop it. Immediately they stopped. So obviously, I was very clear that whatever Haddad militiamen or Kataebs were present they were all directly taking command from the Israelis.
Then at this stage, the Israelis asked us what we wanted to do. We said that we wanted to go back to the hospital, because there were very sick patients there, and we wanted to be with our patients. And they said, ‘no it is too dangerous, you can’t go back’. After a little bit of argument, the Israelis said, ‘Okay, we will allow three of you to go back’. So two male doctors and one male nurse were allowed to go from the Israeli headquarters, back to Gaza [hospital]. They said they could escort us up to the Sports Stadium and from there we could find our way back to Gaza. Of course I wasn’t with those three, but I spoke to them afterwards. They were taken to the Stadium and one of the doctors said, ‘we are not going to walk from the Stadium to Gaza; anything could happen to us. We want a guarantee of safety’. So the Israeli colonel who was with them wrote a pass in Hebrew, saying ‘This pass will get you through the whole camp, don’t worry’. The doctor replied, ‘No. I’m not going to have it because the Haddads wouldn’t read Hebrew’. The colonel said, ‘Don’t worry, just show it to the Haddads, you will get through’. They continued to argue, so in the end the colonel called a soldier who wrote Arabic. So the soldier translated the pass into Arabic, and then with that pass, they found their way back to Gaza. No problem.
The whole camp, Kuwaiti Embassy and Stadium seemed to be controlled by Israelis. The actual massacre could have been done by Kataebs, Haddads – and survivors from Sabra and Chatila told me there were a lot of gunmen who don’t even speak Arabic. So, it could be a mixture of Kataebs, Haddads, mercenaries, but certainly all of them took orders from the Israelis.

McKenna: There are children, there are lots of people in Sabra and Chatila today, who could tell more about it, than we’re telling you. What we’re telling you is a pittance to what. . . I met a woman yesterday, who can tell me that the child who was on her back, and her other three children, and her hus band, were all shot. She and her daughter were the only survivors in that room, of six people. She had bullet wounds in her back, and in her arm. Her daughter is lying in AUH [American University Hospital] and will probably [be] a paraplegic for the rest of her life. She got a bullet in her spine. That’s just one woman. If she wasn’t so afraid, she could talk. There are many, many, many people in Chatila.   

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The following statement was made to the Commission in Oslo on 30 October 1982 by Ryuichi Hirokawa, a Japanese photographer.

At 8 o’clock in the morning of 18th [September], I left a hotel in West Beirut for the Chatila Camp. I arrived at the camp at 8.20 or 8.30 am.
I tried to enter the Chatila and Sabra camps from the north entrance, when I found two Israeli tanks whose barrels were set towards the camps. “I am a Japanese journalist. Let me enter the camp,’ I said to the Israeli soldiers. But I was forced to get back by them. Then I went to the eastern entrance to find it closed, too. Therefore I tried to go into the camp from the southern side street, where there were still the remains of fire. The street was scorched and the trees seemed to be blown down by shelling. Anyhow I entered the camp. Nobody could be seen. Just when I was going out of the camp, somebody called me from the opposite side of the camp. He seemed to be a Lebanese. He told me that the execution of Palestinian people was taking place in the camp. According to him, Haddad’s soldiers were executing Palestinian residents. Being very surprised to hear that, I asked him to take me there. But he was afraid of being killed, and ran away. So there was no other alternative for me but to go into the camp by myself.
Just then, I was almost hit; a shell exploded just 20 meters from me. I felt a fierce wind of explosion. Fortunately, I didn’t get injured. I went toward the Akka Hospital which I had visited several times before. On entering the hospital, I found traces of caterpillar [tracks] of tanks in the court yard. It showed that Israeli tanks were there a little while ago. Nobody is there. Fourth and fifth floor of the hospital building were still smoking. In the inner part of the first floor, I found an old woman who was crouching on the bed which was not burned yet. She was shaking with fear and never looked at me.
Having walked in about 200 meters from there, I found a dead body on the left side for the first time. That was a corpse crushed out of shape in the rubble. Beside it, another dead body was tound in the same condition; then another corpse was found after I walked again about 50 meters from there. I could not understand why these dead bodies were in the rubble and in such terrible shapes and conditions as I saw them. I imagined that they were probably blown up altogether with the houses as they were shelled in the midst of war. But this guess was wrong as I found the third and fourth corpses. The third corpse was of an old man who was shot in the temple by one bullet. Stiffening of the corpse did not seem to have started yet and the blood was not dried yet, either. The corpse lying next to [it] was also of an old man. As there was something green under the thigh of the latter old man, I approached to see what actually that is. It was a grenade whose safety valve was taken off. This means any relative or any group collecting corpses who come and touch the dead body is going to be injured by the explosion of the grenade. This is how I came to understand that the mass execution has taken place. Nevertheless, I could not know on what scale and how these mass executions were carried out at all. Besides the executors may still be wandering or patrolling somewhere near.
Then I decided to walk into the alley leading to a school where I had visited once. On the way, I saw a dead body of a woman whose age was forty or fifty.
Then I returned to the previous wide street, when two women whose ages were thirty or forty came out of the shadow running towards me and cried ‘Help us, Help!’ Then they pulled me by the sleeve of my shirt and, led by them, I entered with them deep inside the alley where I saw an old man killed in front of a house. Beside the house, there was an iron door. It was locked and we could not open it. The women cried at me saying, ‘Open it, please. At any cost! My father is inside.’
I climbed up the wall and jumped inside, gathering my courage as I thought that I may never be able to get out of there. As soon as I opened the door from the inside, the women rushed in.
Their father was still alive. That old man was lying on the mattress. The women left two loaves of bread and I locked the door from the inside again. Then we all jumped out of the house to run through Chatila and Sabra camps towards the Lebanese residential area beyond the camps. In that area some people are. . . walking around; therefore, I myself returned into the camps after taking the women to the safe area.
On the top of the hill, there was a watch tower from where the Israeli army must be able to see everything in the camps. They were calling for surrender in poor Arabic, saying that if anyone who is alive were staying in the camps, he had better surrender.
I entered the garage; tens of people were lying one upon another I walked up to a little hilly place and turned around there. There were seven or eight women and children fallen on the ground.
Descending that hilly ground, in the garden I arrived at I found all the family members of that house massacred. It looked as if those corpses were hidden by the bulldozer. A dead body of about two-year-old child was thrown out of the rubble.
Next to that alley there, a girl and a boy, probably 5 years old or so, were also found killed. Only their mother was covered with rubble by a bulldozer. The rubble did not completely cover her dead body and some parts of her body could be seen. A girl was wearing toy earrings in her ears. A boy was wearing something like a chain which apppeared to have been tightened around his neck. I left that place around noon when journalists gathered around. When a journalist said, ‘Israeli army has come here,’ or ‘Haddad’s gang has also come,’ everybody started to run escaping at once and the witnesses were killed. The journalists were also seized with panic. This is how we were in those moments.
Anyhow as far as the number of the corpses I witnessed is concerned, it amounted [to] at least 50. This number is limited to the ones I confirmed with my own eyes in the wide streets and the alleys in the short distance. Therefore we can imagine quite probably far more people were killed, for the camps are several hundred times bigger than the scale I walked around. We cannot tell how many more people were massacred by then.
Then, I rushed to the office ofJiji Press, one of the Japanese news agencies in Beirut. But no one was there in their residence nor in the office. I found the Israeli army was in the midst of selecting Palestinians in the  neighbouring building by closing one part of the apartments, taking all inhabitants out to have them sit on the ground, and by checking every identity card. If they found any Palestinians there, they immediately took them away. In other words, they were doing the same way to the Palestinians as they were once selected by the Nazis. . . in the same manner that the Jewish people were ordered to stand to the right and non-Jewish to the left.
I then ran to the office of the other Japanese news agency, Kyodo. While waiting for the Kyodo correspondent to come back to the office who was running to the nearest hotel to send telex to Tokyo, I could not stop my tears of deep regret.
Palestinians were betrayed not only by Israel but also by the United States, Italy and France. These states by the name of national forces cheated the Palestinians by promising safety of the Palestinians, saying ‘Don’t worry. As we will stay here, PLO can live with no fear at all.’ They implemented their guarantee only for enabling PLO to withdraw and after that they pulled out, leaving the Israeli troops to do anything they liked.
Then I went to the International Red Cross office to tell them about the massacre. The officials of the office, however, said that they were informed that so far about one hundred bodies had been found but they could not figure out the number of casualties nor could they know how many people more would be killed.
Kyodo correspondent came back and told me that all the telex lines were cut by the Israeli army. He also said that no line was available for international calls.
On Monday afternoon [20 Sept] while I was walking along Hamra Street I saw about 20 soldiers in strange uniforms marching in battle position from the opposite direction of the main street. As people were watching them fearfully, I asked who they were. People told me they were Haddad militiamen. I asked: ‘For what are they coming?’ ‘To hunt Palestinians’, was the reply.
As I found this very important, I told it to one of the foreign correspondents I met, but he didn’t believe at the beginning, saying that nobody could expect the Haddad troops to appear in Beirut. He went out to make sure. Then he came back after he had confirmed that they really were Haddad gangs.
Then what would happen to the Palestinians in the camps? I started to worry about them, so I hired a taxi by special fee and tried to rush down the street. While shooting the scenes by hiding the 8mm camera inside the car, we were stopped by the soldiers and ordered to go out of the car. After being interrogated, I was forced to leave the place. It was impossible to get closer. And when I visited this place for the next time, nobody was there. So next day, that was 21 September, I left to Damascus.
I had to add here one more point as a conclusion. The responsibility for the massacre is much more on the Israeli side than on the side of Haddad and Kataeb gangs. One fact which proves this is that on Saturday 18 when I tried to enter the camps I was driven away by Israeli soldiers. The Israeli army was controlling the camps which is proved by the imprints of the wheels of the tanks on the ground near Akka hospital.   

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Extracts from the testimony submitted by Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone at the private hearings of the Commission in Oslo on 30 October 1982. (Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone are American journalists and spent six weeks in Lebanon, from 9 August to 23 September 1982.)

We entered [Sabra-Chatila] on the Saturday [18 September], the final day of the killing, shortly after 12 noon. . . When we entered the camp we saw bodies everywhere. We proceeded to photograph. We had earlier that day spoken to doctors and nurses who had been at Akka and Gaza and they had described to us what had happened to them that [Saturday] morning. We had also been with one of the nurses the previous day and had heard her story. But none of them had a complete understanding of the nature of the slaughter that was taking place, because they were confined to the hospital and the shelling was so intense inside the camps.
The artillery shelling came from Israeli artillery units. The camps were subjected to intense shelling throughout the period following the assassination of Bashir Gemayel. The shelling was one of the reasons why people could not move around easily in the camps and it prevented people in one part of the camp from being aware that there was slaughter taking place in another part.
We spent four days talking to survivors in the camp. We photographed victims that had been mutilated with axes and knives. Only a few of the people we photographed had been machine-gunned. Others had had their heads smashed, their eyes removed, their throats cut, skin was stripped from their bodies, limbs were severed, some people were eviscerated. We confirmed from talking to doctors that free-flowing blood is indicative of mutilation prior to death rather than after it.
We went to Akka hospital. The building was smouldering; the rehabilitation unit was on fire. As we emerged from there we were caught up in an Israeli military operation which we photographed. Tanks, half-tracks, Israeli soldiers in combat uniform and flak-jackets were advancing on Chatila down the main road from the Kuwaiti Embassy. This was on Saturday at maybe 12.45. They were broadcasting into the camp: ‘Anyone who does not surrender will be killed’. The broadcasts were in Arabic and made from loudspeakers on the half-tracks.
We entered the camps again from a different vantage point and continued to photograph for the rest of the afternoon and to talk to survivors. Some of the survivors were people who had come back from north of the camp to look for relatives; some were people still inside the camps who emerged from  shelters and houses and spoke to us. We established from interviews with people that on Thursday afternoon in the north of Sabra camp a delegation of four men were sent with a white flag to the Israeli command headquarters at the Kuwaiti Embassy in order to speak to the Israeli authorities and tell them that the camp was in a position of surrender. They went to say that the population was offering no resistance and was not intending to offer resistance and to appeal to the Israelis to cease the shelling into the camp and the killing caused by the shelling.
The four men were found dead at the Israeli checkpoint, which is adjacent to the embassy. We were told that on the following day, Friday (l7th), Israeli soldiers were in the camp. They apparently came down the main street of Chatila and fanned into the smaller alleys where they met no resistance. They then withdrew and formed aline, through which the militia units came and continued the killing. The slaughter continued until Saturday and many people were killed on Saturday morning.
When we entered the camps we were unprepared for what we saw. We had heard that there had been some killing, but we were totally unprepared for what we found. We were in a state of shock, and concerned for our own safety. We were afraid that we might encounter some militia unit around the next corner. Our aim was to photograph whatever we could as fast as we could, and get out, before we were at the very least deprived of our pictures.
It was clear that an attempt had been made not long before we arrived to bulldoze bodies under the rubble, and there had been a mass grave made.
Some soldiers in the Lebanese Army mentioned that the Israelis had brought militia units into the airport. An officer in the Lebanese army told us that people had been detained in the airport area and that he thought he would go mad from the screaming. We have been to the Stadium where new bodies are being found and we photographed Palestinians and Lebanese being held there or subjected to identity checks and stamps. From amongst those checked, people have been pulled out and held, their present fate unknown. We have spoken to eye-witnesses who described truckloads of people being taken away from Sabra and Chatila. One woman told us she had seen the bodies of ten people who had been taken away. We spoke to many people from the north of Sabra camp, particularly on Natio~al Unity Street, who described how the militia killed with axes and knives. One man we spoke to had not been killed because the child he was holding was screaming so hysterically. There were two old women, sisters, who had been marched towards the stadium and they described to us how people on that march were forced to dig ditches and were then shot into the ditches. We were later told that these two women were Jews, living amongst the Palestinians.
Bodies of people from the camps were later found in places such as the Pine Forest. We don’t know whether the Israelis killed these people, but we were satisfied that the whole episode was an integral military operation and that if particular units were deployed by the Israeli armed forces it does not justify the conclusion that therefore the Israeli armed forces were not fully involved in the process.

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On 20 September Dr David Gray of the World Council of Churches was interviewed by David Sells for the BBC 2 television programme Newsnight. The following is an extract from that interview.

David Sells: What, to the best of your knowledge, was going on in the camp? Did any of the refugees say?

Dr David Gray: It’s very difficult to say, because we heard all sorts of rumours. First we heard the Israelis were in the camp and then we heard the Kataeb [Phalangists] were in the camp and then we heard the shooting no

Appendix V, Part 4: Rvidence re. the Siege of Beirut

Appendix V: Selected testimony and reports

Part 4: Evidence relating to the Siege of Beirut

Extracts from Prime Minister Shafik’s evidence

Can you imagine a city deprived of water and electricity in such modern times? The Israelis witnessed how the people of West Beirut resisted with the Palestinians, and this was because they refused to be treated in this inhuman way. . . Do you know, I spoke twice to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, so that he should speak to President Reagan, in order that the latter exert pressure on Begin to open the water taps for West Beirut. 700,000 people continued to live in this part of Beirut. All the hospitals have been destroyed, even the American University Hospital had to stop functioning because it lacked the supplies it required. You should ask M. de Salis, the representative of the International Red Cross in Lebanon, how they treated the wounded. What could we expect from a country which treats people in this way and does not take into consideration the UN resolutions that demanded the removal of the blockade in West Beirut?

On Thursday, 12 August, we were bombarded for eleven consecutive hours, continuous bombardment. I had to go to the presidential palace at Baabda. Unfortunately, I couldn’t because of the bombardment and I told President Reagan’s mediator Habib that I could no longer assume my responsibilities. At this moment Reagan interfered. You cannot conceive the intensity of the bombardment from the sea, air and ground. It’s a war made by one party – and this is no more a war, but a massacre.’   

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Interview with Dr Heger, an Anaesthetist in the University Hospital in Oslo, who went to Beirut on the 22 June 1982.

Commission: You went to Lebanon by yourself?

Dr Heger: With a team from the Palestinian Committee, in fact, we were the first team to get inside Beirut during the siege.

Q: How many of you were there?

Heger: We were three.

Q: Where did you go.

Heger: To West Beirut. But I think I will describe the events leading up to that. The Israelis prevented more than 150 volunteer doctors and nurses who had been sent by the internationally recognised humanitarian organisations from entering Beirut.

Q: How did you know that?

Heger: Because I was one of them and we were in Damascus one week trying very hard to get inside and it was impossible. The Red Cross tried three times to get inside with the big convoys and each time they were stopped by the Israeli checkpoints.

Q: And turned back?

Heger: And returned back, yes. In Damascus there were hundreds of tonnes of medical equipment sent from all over the world and destined for West Beirut. It was partly wasted because it was like blood. We were the only team to get into Beirut and we had to be smuggled in. It was absurd to see the gross lack of everything inside the city and to know the resources waiting outside.

Q: You were in the Gaza hospital?

Heger: Yes we were in Gaza Hospital during the shelling. It is a high building of 8 floors and it is surrounded by small houses on the outskirts of ChatiIa and Sabra refugee camps, it is painted white in contrast to its surroundings and it is well marked with the Red Crescent and the Red Cross flags. At the time when we arrived the Israeli positions were less than one and a half kilometers away on the hillside, with an excellent view of the camps and the hospital. The camp and the hospital were under more or less constant shelling and the hospital was hit but still operational. It was absolutely necessary to keep it open. 80% of the people in the surrounding camps had left their homes and moved to what they believed were safer places; but 20% were left in the camp, mostly the old and the poor, who had no place to go. Gaza was the only hospital in the area, the only hospital near the damage and. the injuries. After operations they tried to evacuate the patients to safer places, as far as possible. The operating theatre was under the ground in concrete, and they opened this shelter to the local people in the surrounding camps and neighbourhood. When there was shelling there could be more than one hundred civilians in the operating and the X-ray rooms in the cellar.
We started to work at Gaza because we were needed there. When we came to Beirut, the Head of the Anaesthesia Department from the American University Hospital said ‘if you really want to help these people you must go to Gaza Hospital’. At the American University Hospital they worked very hard day and night, but for the time being they had enough people. We worked only one and a half days at the Gaza before it was evacuated but it was a shocking experience, seriously wounded and dying patients, and when many people came at the same time you had to decide who was to live and who was to die. You couldn’t take care of them all.
As an anaesthetist I had to take care of the seriously wounded immediately and when the casualties rushed in the first thing to do was to pull off their clothes to see where the injury was. Three times I foundllo external injuries but when I intubated the patient I found the lungs full of blood, they were crushed by the pressure from the explosions. . . During one and a half days we operated [on) twelve major and ten small casualties, most of them from so called high velocity fragmentation weapons and three hit by cluster bombs: the mortality was more than 50%. If one of the fragments had hit the patient in the abdomen, chest or head, he had no chance at all, the damage was too great. Usually he died in the receiving ward, that’s why most of our operations were amputations and you had to operate very fast. You did the amputation initially and then left it open and waited for a better chance for secondary closure.
Around 3 o’clock on the 25 June, the Israelis flew low over the hospital and dropped leaflets in Hebrew (which nobody could read) and we wondered at the meaning. Everybody became scared and one or two hours later they started heavy shelling, concentrated on the hospital. People rushed to the cellar and I believe there were more than 100 civilians there. We tried to continue the operative treatment, but each new explosion I believe would be the last one and the building would fall down. The people were scared to death, so was I, and it was not possible to go upstairs. One time I tried to go up to give analgesics to the injured upstairs, but I was literally knocked to the ground by the explosions outside, and the patients on the first and second floors we had to leave alone. One Palestinian boy, an orderly, 17-years-old was the only one of the staff who took care of the patients on the first floor during the shelling, talking to them to calm them; he is the biggest hero I have ever met. After three hours it became dark and they decided to evacuate and when the dark came the shelling became more scattered and it was possible to escape. In less than half an hour we were all outside the main security gate. The last patient was transported from the operating table while still in anaesthesia. I will never forget the transport with his head between my legs, working hard to keep his airway free, the ambulance without lights and full.

Q: How long did it take to evacuate the hospital do you know?

Heger: I am very impressed by how fast they did it, I think in half an hour.

Q: How many patients were evacuated do you know?

Heger: Sixty persons I think.

Q: What’s the total capacity with regard to the hospital?

Heger: I am not quite sure because it was 8 floors, but only two of them were operating. So I’m not sure: its a big hospital, 100 beds I think. To sum up, there is no doubt in my opinion that this was premeditated and specific shelling of a fully operational hospital without military installations.

Q: No military installations?

Heger: No, none, and it was the second Palestinian hospital they had to evacuate because of the shelling. The first one was Akka, it was evacuated three or four days before we arrived in Beirut and after the Gaza was closed the Palestinians had no hospital of their own remaining in operation in Beirut.

Q: What was the ratio of civilian patients to combatants?

Heger: Perhaps 20% were commandos, not more; they were dressed to distinguish.

Q: That’s one in five then. How many shells hit the Gaza hospital?

Heger: Oh, it is impossible to say, it was continuous shelling, whole floors were completely destroyed.

Q: And was Gaza hospital shelled after the evacuation?

Heger: Yes, I think so, but this is not evidence of my own opinion; shelling of the hospital before and after this day was more scattered; sometimes they were hit and sometimes they were not.

Q: On the 25 June were buildings around the hospital shelled?

Heger: The hospital was the centre of the shelling.

Q: And the damage?

Heger:. I think the four upper floors were completely destroyed. But there was no medical functions in the upper floors, just in the basement and the first floor.

Q: Did they work to have the other floors repaired?

Heger: Yes, they actually put blocks of concrete in all the windows leaving only a small space on the upper limit of the windows to protect the rooms from further shelling and from shrapnel coming in. After that day we held a press conference in West Beirut. And the press people at the Commodore [Hotel] said that after our press conference the Israeli authorities admitted to them they they had shelled the hospital because it was a military target.

Q: After your press conference.

Heger: Yes. In my opinion its very special that we are from Western Europe.
It is not the first time a hospital was shelled tht~way because Akka hospital
was shelled one week before, but when three peb’ple from Western Europe, not Palestinian, came and told the journalists we were there when the hospital was shelled, then the Israelis had to admit it.

Q: Can you tell us two things about the blockade of Beirut? How many medics had been stopped in all from entering?

Heger: 150 doctors and nurses in Da~scus I think.

Q: And you tried to cross the border with the ICRC or by yourself?

Heger: No, everybody told us it was impossible and they had tried many times. But we tried three times to get inside with doctors and medical equipment, with the Red Cross, and we have been stopped every time by the Israeli checkpoints.

Q: SO three times unsuccessful?

Heger: Yes, and when we left Beirut the Israeli officer at the checkpoint asked us what we were doing in Beirut. We told them that we were Norwegian doctors and nurses and working in a humanitarian way in West Beirut, “lnd they said ‘OK, do you know the rules?’ I said, ‘what rules, what are you talking about?’ – and he said ‘you can go but you can never, never come back.’   

* * *

Abdul Rahman Laban was Lebanese Minister of Labour and Special Affairs. Profession: Psychiatrist, Chief Medical Officer of the Islamic Psychiatric Hospital, situated near Sports City and boundary of Sabra Camp. Interviewed 4 September 1982

Commission: What has been the experience of the Islamic Hospital since the invasion?

Laban: The area around the hospital and the Sports City was bombarded before the 6 June invasion but the hospital was only lightly damaged. However after the invasion and during the siege of Beirut the hospital was hit by 20-25 shells (some were phosphorus bombs). Nine patients were killed and 22 injured, two of which died later on. I informed the President of Lebanon and he being highly distressed communicated his concern to Habib. On the first occasion the bombing of the hospital stopped within half an hour as a result of Habib’s communication of restraint to the Israelis. This however did not stop the Israelis hitting the hospital in the shelling of Beirut which followed. The top floor of the hospital which was the children’s quarter was completely destroyed, such that the 60 children were transferred elsewhere and some were looked after by Mother Theresa’s helpers. The staircase and dormitories were also hit. Due to the bombing and the general insecurity only 15 of the 270 staff turned up to work; whilst 400 of the 800 patients were taken away by their families.
During the bombardments of Beirut movement around the city was very difficult and this alone meant that people suffered from a shortage of provisions. There was also no water, electricity or petrol and most general public services were destroyed. The ability to come and go to and from the hospital was seriously impaired except during the cease-fires which usually occured at 5 to 5.15 in the afternoon. These conditions were not unique to my hospital and were experienced by many other hospitals. Makassad and Barbir hospitals were also badly damaged, especially the latter.
I am also the president of the High Relief Committee which was set up in 1977 and caters for homeless and displaced families. Our main task is to provide food, blankets, beds, medical supplies and general provisions to the needy. During the siege it was really very difficult to cope. We were all lucky in one respect in that due to some foresight we managed to physically put ourselves up in West Beirut and also managed to transfer large amounts of rice, sugar and general provisions into the city. In the final analysis these provisions to a certain degree saved the population from virtual starvation since bare necessities were distributed to hospitals, schools, orphanages, old people’s homes and families.
During the siege itself water, electricity, fuel and most food supplies were cut off. At the beginning of the siege I sent a letter to the International Red Cross demanding the entrance of basic provisions into the city. [Letter dated 12 July]. Two essential needs were flour (for bread) and milk. I also asked for some trucks to be allowed in to clear the rubbish. However the Red Cross were unable to get through the bulk of these provisions. I asked UNICEF to declare this fact publicly. The Israelis argued that these provisions could be used by the Palestinian guerrillas but the Palestinians were well provided for as they had foreseen the situation and it was the civilian population who were in need. The danger of famine and health hazards were rife during the siege. Luckily we managed to cope with the situation although this does not in any way excuse Israel’s criminal act. We were not only besieged physically but also psychologically through leafletting. Many people were deeply disturbed by the mock Israeli air raids (especially at night) which unlike real bombings damaged everyone psychologically.

Q: How often did these raids take place?

Laban: A few times, but they were severe enough. There was continuous bombardment from land, sea and air, which had a total psychological effect. People felt totally insecure. Every minute day and night was tense. All the population was materially and psychologically coerced as well as feeling isolation since all the communication lines were destroyed. These three factors of constant bombardment, awareness of material deprivation and socio-political isolation are very psychologically damaging. 600,000 people lived in these inhuman conditions. Most of the hospitals were closed due to damage and scarcity of medical supplies and thereby most patients were concentrated in the American Hospital. We had to fetch fuel from devastated buildings, pumping out what fuel they had and concentrating it all in this one hospital in order to meet the needs. Even the trucks which were let in by UNICEF were emptied of their fuel so that nobody could pump it out for other use. The Red Cross had to vow to the Israeli/Phalangist soldiers that it would not allow anybody to take fuel from the tanks.

Q: What did people do who had no monetary resources in this period?

Laban: The High Relief Committee provided free food and provisions to the people who needed it. Generally people co-operated and helped each other such that people did not go without basic foodstuffs.

Q: Was there a significant influx of people into Beirut?

Laban: No, not really, since many people from the central and southern suburbs left town and went to East Beirut. The people who went were the richer class since life in East Beirut is expensive. People left for East Beirut at the continuous suggestion of Israeli Radio Broadcasts. The ones who were left were mostly from the poorer classes. . . Most of the ones who did leave however returned after the evacuation of the Palestinian fighters.

Q: We were informed that there was an increase in the population of Beirut due to people fleeing from Southern Lebanon.

Leban: No, not Southern Lebanon but the southern suburbs of Beirut. The southern suburbs have been under continuous bombardment. This sector which is known as the slums of Beirut is the most populated area as most of the working classes live there. The reason for this is that most industries are in the proximity of the southern suburbs and they were all destroyed during the shelling. Many of the workers in this area wefe Lebanese – about 1.2 million – who worked at the industries and they all fled to the city. I cannot tell you how many came into Beirut or went to the south or how many stayed. These are all impressions and not based on statistics. There are no statistics in Lebanon today. We could tell however that areas were specifically mapped out to be devastated by Israeli bombardment and this had the migratory effect. If you walk around the city you will see stark evidence of this pattern of destruction and its magnitude. This destruction was aimed at the base of the community and could have no military purpose. The idea must have been to shell carelessly within sectors so as to hit everything. It was obviously callously planned like this since they are able to hit what they want with their sophisticated weaponry. It cost billions of dollars to destroy Beirut and if we had as much money to rebuild it we would not be near to repairing the damage done. This is mainly due to the massive disruption and destruction of the intricate interpersonal relations which existed in the Beirut community. Just one example is the chaos which now exists in property relations, ie former rented/owned accomodation.

Q: In looking at the problems of reconstruction what immediate problems do you foresee in the winter?

Laban: Our winter is very wet. We have lots of rain although its not very cold. This will cause more hardship than is usually the case. We will also face a lack of manual labour since most of our labour was Palestinian and Syrian with almost half a million working in building and agriculture. There is also a lack of skilled labour as well as materials and this will raise prices of both as demand is now high. The third problem is that most of our industry has been destroyed. Consequently industrialists are not able to pay workers and many industrialists are attempting to dismiss workers. Due to the emergency situation the Government will allow these industrialists to get rid of as many workers as they see fit in order to survive. There will therefore be an increase in unemployment which will cause further social problems. Means therefore must be found to repair this damage as soon as possible. It was of course Israel’s aim to land us exactly in this situation; to destroy the Lebanese community and infrastructure – industry, tourism, social services, etc. Israel has done this to destroy competition from the most efficient national economy in the Arab world. Generally speaking I can see no justification for laying siege to a modern city which is dependent for all its basic needs on outside supplies ie, water, electricity, food, medical provisions, etc. It is the most inhuman act and transcends all military excuses because in laying siege to a city you know that it will tragically affect everybody – women, children, the sick, old people, the handicapped and innocent civilians in general. It is unwarranted, uncivilized and inhuman.   

* * *

Extracts from an article published in The Times, London, on 12 July 1982, by Robert     Fisk.

A 2 ft wide trail of blood runs from the children’s ward on the third floor of Barbir hospital. Between the shards of glass and broken fittings, it snakes 20 feet across the tiled floor to the stairs.
The Israeli shell had exploded scarcely 20 feet from the windows and in some places the blood is darker than usual, as if an abstract artist had run amuck with a tin of light brown paint. . .
Thirty per cent of the wounded crammed onto makeshift beds and floors of the Barbir’s lower rooms are guerrillas, sometimes still in their torn khaki battledress or stripped beneath blood stained sheets, their faces bandaged beneath a vortex of drip-feeds and glucose bottles. . .
But many of the Barbir’s patients have had to be transferred to other hospitals after the shellfire that damaged the building and more than half the 40 who still remain are civilians. Of the 21 brought in during Sunday’s bombardment, most were suffering from shrapnel wounds.
“We had six casualties inside the hospital when the shells hit round us,” Dr Shamaa says. ‘The bombardment was continuous for nearly four hours in this vicinity and we were nearly paralysed. We were unable to use the operating theatre upstairs and when people arrived here needing immediate surgery we had to transfer them.
‘We were short of blood and in the end we had to ask volunteers from the hospital to go out into the shelling to two centres where we were told there were blood donors. It was a very tough decision to make. But they came back.’
They were lucky. Three of the wounded brought to the Barbir during Sunday’s bombardment were dead on arrival. The hospital has received more than 200 dead since June 4. .

All yesterday workmen were sweeping the floors of the broken wards, washing the floors and plastic screens and beds of blood, smashing out the remains of the windows. If the Israelis did not mean to shell the Barbir, the gunners did indeed pay precious little attention to its presence.   

* * *

The following item was broadcast by LBC (London Broadcasting Corporation) on 20     July 1982.

Our reporter Andrew Simmonds has visited the Muslim Orphanage Institute, where the children live in unventilated storerooms because of the danger of bombs and shells.
‘It’s a pitiful sight. Twenty toddlers, none with any parents, living in the ridiculously crowded space of a storeroom, waving their only possessions, squeaky toys, in the air. They stare with eyes that cannot comprehend what is going on around them, within walking distance of the front line. Their institute has been hit by shells on two occasions. Now the Welfare workers insist that the children, around 100 in all, live on the ground floor. Their nurseries upstairs have cracked walls and floors that are crumbling away. These toddlers are of course too young to understand, but next door a group of little boys aged between 2 and 4, wearing just dark grey shorts and shabby vests, ask questions that have answers that lead to tears. The Institute’s Director General, Mohammed Barakat tried to comfort a little boy crying in the corner of the room.
Mr Barakat says that up to 6,000 children have been orphaned during this war. Not all through the death of their parents though; many have been abandoned by mothers who are unable to cope after losing their homes. But even more disturbing than the number is that fact that the children of this Institute are in the war zone.   

* * *

The following item was broadcast in the BBC radio programme The World Tonight on 2 August 1982 from Chris Drake.

I think probably the best way to describe it [the situation in Beirut] is to imagine in one’s own home in Britain getting up in the morning. There is no electricity; there is no running water; there is no fresh food; any food that might have been refrigerated is now rotten, is now useless, because there’s been no electricity for the past week; there is very little fuel. The offices and the vast majority of shops have been closed for almost two months. It is the middle of the summer here and that means temperatures of eighty to ninety degrees every day; there is very little in the way of a fresh breeze and that may not sound significant in Britain, but here it is the one thing one looks forward to just to cool things down. And then when you put all that together and realise that the chances of being able to wash one’s hair, to be able to get a drink of water, are just so slim everyday; or if one can find water, or one can find fresh food, it has been a major battle to get it.
Far more now is the daily plight of these children, whose first task as soon as it becomes light is to go out and try and find water. The Israelis say they’ve turned it back on but of course there is no electricity to actually pump it to any obvious destination, so it’s a major search. Those that aren’t looking for water are looking for bread, that’s the staple diet here, a few bakeries have managed to get a little fuel and are able to bake a little every day, but there are always long queues.   

* * *

The following dispatch from James Buchan in Beirut was published in the Financial
Times on 9 July 1982.

Doctor Khaled, a neurosurgeon born in Jaffa, [now in] Israel, but trained in East Germany, performed a craniotomy on Tuesday on the first floor of Beirut’s Gaza Hospital, slept in his green threatre overalls that night and was still wearing them the next day.
Dr Khaled, who is 34, washes his overalls by hand himself, but the water comes from a well under the hospital and may well be contaminated. He does have sterile disposable gloves, but they are too valuable to be thrown away and cannot be properly sterilised unless there is a secure source of unvarying power for a specific length of time. It often seems that the Israelis, who have been tinkering with power and water since last Saturday,.will not permit this.
The intensive care room, where nurses are beginning to draw fluid from the unknown patient’s brain, is full of sandbags for fear of Israeli shelling from the hills to the east. The door has no glass, but Dr Khaled blocks my way. ‘This is the green, or rather the sterile, line,’ he says.
 The patient has acute bleeding within the brain and has about a one-in-10 chance of surviving with total paralysis of his right side.
The Gaza Hospital which is run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, began operating in the southern suburb of Sabra with 11 floors and 100 beds in 1975.
Dr Khaled now has seven surgeons and 12 beds. He also has a kitchen, with which he feeds the surrounding streets where a handful of the poorest people in Beirut have remained.
The kitchen is also shared with Ramallah, now doing about one delivery a day although on 4 June, the day the attack on Beirut began, three women gave premature birth in the basement, the lift and the lavatory.
Dr Khaled divides his problems into two sorts. First are those of warfare, comprising the danger to the building and the injuries caused by new Israeli weapons which have altered the ‘traditional’ balance between death and injury from about 2:8 to 5:5. He particularly refers to the immense and extensive damage to several different organs, caused by cluster bombs.
The second problem concerns the lack of secure electricity and water although the Israelis have apparently turned on mains power. The Gaza generator cannot berelied on for, say, the maintenance of a blood bank at the required temperature of four degrees centigrade. His approach has therefore been to take the addresses of blood donors, and send out ambulances with loudhailers during bombardments to transfuse patients in the streets or in basements.
    The lift also cannot be relied on. Often severely injured people are carried bodily down or up stairs.
Hospital staff make no distinction between soldiers and civilians, and Dr Khaled said that Gaza treated an Israeli pilot now being held by the Palestinians as a prisoner of war.
When the mental hospital was hit, 800 patients varying in condition from senile dementia to violent schizophrenia were released onto the streets of Beirut, Dr Khaled says. West Beirut has long been a barbaric place, but the Israeli siege is sending it back into the middle ages.   

* * *

Appendix V, Part 3: Evidence re. nature of Israeli occupation

Appendix V: Selected testimony and reports

Part 3: Evidence relating to the nature of the Israeli Occupation

Statement of Dr Chris Giannou, Canadian, made on 15 August 1982 in Nicosia, Cyprus

My name is Dr C. Giannou. For the last two years I have been a surgeon with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). I was Medical Director of the Nabatieh Hospital and most recently was working in Sidon, Lebanon, during hostilities there. I am not a spokesman or representative of the Lebanese Government, nor of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Lebanon, and then until 20 June in the Megiddo prison in the north of Israel. The Israeli authorities denied holding me and my two Norwegian colleagues* in detention until 18 June, in spite of representations by the Canadian and Norwegian Foreign Ministries. My release from Israeli prison on 20 June was ‘unconditional’. I was not released into the custody of the Canadian Embassy, nor was I expelled from the country, and no charges were ever made against me. We were released and are free today to appear before this Committee because we are holders of Canadian and Norwegian passports. My colleagues of various nationalities are still in custody. Surgeons, general practitioners, male nurses, para-medical technicans and ambulance drivers who have done no more or less than we, are still being detained because they are not in possession of passports such as ours.

(*) Dr Steinar Berge, Physician / Mr Oyvind Möller, Child Psychologist

[Describing the scene when he was arrested and detained, along with several hundred mainly Palestinian prisoners, in a schoolyard at Sidon shortly after the Israeli invasion, Dr Giannou said:]

The scene in the schoolyard was one of savage and indiscriminate beatings of the prisoners by the forty Israeli guards. A prisoner would call out for water and be told that there was none. When he continued to call out, he would be insulted and then a guard would wade into the crowd and start to beat him. The physical abuse ranged from simple punching and kicking to beatings with wooden sticks, plastic hose or even a bunch of pieces of rope with nuts and bolts tied to the ends; a sort of modern cat-o-nine-tails. One Palestinian, Dr Nabil, was at one point hung by his hands from a tree and beaten. An Iraqi surgeon, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim was beaten by several guards viciously, and left to lie in the sun with his face buried in the sand. Other surgeons and doctors were also beaten: Dr Ahmed Sou bra, a Lebanese; Drs Saifeddin, Mohammad Iman and Shafiq al-Islam, Bangladeshi nationals. The two Norwegians and I were not beaten. I, myself, was struck but once. It was obvious that orders had been given that we were not to be molested. The darker-skinned Arabs, Africans and Asians (Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indians), present were those who were beaten the most severely.
I have been a witness to four prisoners who were beaten to death. I was called upon by an Israeli soldier to examine two of the cadavers. Dr Berge examined another two cadavers and saw another five or six piled into an ambulance. It is impossible to say whether the two corpses that I examined were amongst the five or six in the ambulance, and therefore I cannot say with exactitude the number of prisoners beaten to death during those four days.
I have been a witness to the Israeli officers and even the military governor of Sidon, a Colonel Arnon Mozer, being witness to these beatings and not doing anything about it. I have also been a witness to several of the Israeli guards who attempted to stop the beatings, and on several occasions, actual arguments breaking out amongst the guards, between those doing the beating and those who attempted to have them cease.   

* * *

The Commission interviewed Dr Yehuda Melzer, of the ‘There is a Limit’ Group of Israeli Reservists, in Jerusalem, 8-9 September 1982

I represent a group which calls itself ‘Yesh Gvul’, which literally means ‘There is a Limit’. Basically, the connotation which we want it to have is, ‘Enough is enough’; ‘there is a border’ [limit] too, in other words don’t cross that border. Anyhow, this group was organised very quickly in the first week of the war, and I guess the general motivation was a feeling on the part of many of us that there’s no hope that the Peace N ow movement, which is the biggest protest group in the country, will come forth strongly enough and quickly enough. . . people who are like myself, active or have been active for many years, either on the left, or generally in the anti-government groups in the country are basically used to a lot of disappointment and a lot of frustration, and generally feeling apathetic about organising with a lot of rage because nothing comes out of it. So we were very sutprised to find that instead of getting like 10, 15, 20 people who would be willing to be very outspoken about not wanting to go to serve in the war suddenly the group managed to get several hundred very quickly, and this is with almost no organisational basis. In other words, we feel that if we had more money, more time, and more people available, we would have grown to maybe several thousand. For you people, coming from outside, that may not seem so meaningful, but for us it’s really a dramatic change. . .This is a major breakthrough in terms of the resistance movement, which is basically non

Appendix V, Part 2: Evidence re. Israeli conduct of the war

Appendix V: Selected testimony and reports

Part 2: Evidence relating to Israeli conduct of the war in Lebanon

Troy Rusli, Norwegian, is a surgeon who worked in Lahout Field Hospital from 15 July to the end of August. He was interviewed by the Commission on 4 October 1982 at the Gaza Hospital in Beirut.

Commission: Have you as a doctor come across any wounds, caused by weapons which are banned by International Law?

Dr Rusli: We can divide the weapons used into five types. The first weapon is the concussion bomb which can destroy a whole eight storey building until it’s flat. I understand from a military expert that this bomb will explode in three stages. It penetrates the top floors, then explode two or three floors down and then explode again lower. The second weapon is what they call phosphorus shell bombs. Actually it is better to say a rocket, because it is not a bomb. Phosphorus shell rockets are usually used as a marker or target, it is not allowed to be used on civilian places. But, in this situation, in the city it is difficult to divide a civilian mark [target] from a military mark. So there are some civilian casualties from these phosphorus rockets. The third weapon, we call it a cluster bomb. A big canister, which consists of about 200 or 300 bomblets, small bombs. It’s exploded about 50 meters above the earth so that then the small bomb will come out and then explode again. Again, this cluster bomb should be used only to hit, like, a Panzer wagon, a tank, but again in the city it’s difficult to define whether it’s a military or civilian target. And some of the – a lot, not some, a lot of the people has been hit by these cluster bombs, we have proof of this. And some of the small bomb lets doesn’t explode at all. And they lay around; children can pick it up and then explode it, and then a lot of them have to be amputated, legs or arms. Or we find shrapnel inside the stomach, we have to open it and remove it.

The fourth type of weapons that has been used is high explosive bombs. I don’t know if that is allowed under the Geneva Convention or not, but it cause a lot of casualties. In one day we had eighty persons living in a cellar, and this type of bomb exploded in the cellar, I believe thirty persons were directly killed from these bombs, and fifty were injured, burn injuries, and 22 of these come to our hospital. From these 22, five die. They have about second and third degree burn injuries.

And the fifth that is recognised by Geneva Convention is what we call high velocity weapon. Like for example, Kalashnikov AK-47, or M-16, this bullet have a different effect to a normal pistol, because this bullet if it hit the body makes a vacuum mechanism and they explode inside the bodies, and you see total destruction of the soft tissues and the bones; what is left is more or less like porridge.

Concerning the patient, for me, whether it is from phosphorus shells or from high explosive bombs, or this high velocity weapon, the patient have to be amputated anyway, so I believe all five weapons are very dangerous to be used on civilians.

Q: You have given us this list of banned weapons. Can you tell us, with the patients you’ve treated personally, which kind of wounds did you come across?

Rusli: We have treated two patients who I am clinically sure have phosphorus bomb injuries. We have got fifty patients with high explosive burn injuries, and many of the rest have this kind of high velocity weapon injury. These very often end with amputation; the rate of amputation in our hospital is between fifteen and twenty per cent.

Q: You have seen people burnt allegedly with phosphorus?

Rusli: Yes we have, clinically speaking. Phosphorus is very difficult to detect. . . I try to take some sample to the American University Hospital, but they cannot say that it is phosphorus or not. So when I say clinically, I mean we found shrapnel inside the body still burning and smoking. We have two patients like this; one, which is an old man, have smoke coming through the breath, through his lungs.    

* * *

Auden Tommesen, presently a resident surgeon in a hospital in Norway, who worked as a surgeon at the Lahout Field Hospital between 25 July and 5 August 1982, interviewed by the Commission in Oslo some 3 or 4 weeks after Dr Rusli (30 October), also mentioned these two particular patients:

Auden Tommesen: I would like to give two case descriptions of patients with chemical burns; the suspected causative agent is a thermal chemical artillery grenade. On Monday 2 August in the morning we. received a 20-year-old patient, male, in an unconscious state, with normal cardial and neurological findings. According to ambulance personnel he was a casualty of the day before and he had been treated in an emergency centre down town before admission to Lahout. His only obvious lesions were multiple, about 15 to 20 round craters in the skin, ranging from a few millimetres to about 7 to 8 centimetres in diameter. They were distributed on the right side of the body, leg, right trunk, right arm, right side of the neck and the head. The lesions consisted in chemical burns, with coagulation necrosis of the tissues in and immediately around the lesions. In the craters were found small greyish particles, in an amount of about, let’s say, half a teaspoon in a crater of about 6 centimetres in diameter. The particles were later submitted to chemical analysis.

Commission: Where?

Tommesen: In Norway, in a laboratory. Later the same day we received a recently injured 60-year-old man, civilian, Palestinian, living in one of the refugee camps. Before admission to Lahout he had been padded and bandaged in an emergency centre down town. Only a belt around the mid

Appendix III: Chronology of Events

Appendix III: Chronology of Events




Israeli Air force bombs West Beirut and the South in retaliation for attempted assassination of Israeli ambassador in London.






PLO-IDF artillery battles in border area. Continued bombardments.

UN Security Council Resolution 508.




‘Operation Peace for Galilee’ begins. Claimed objective: to push Palestinian forces to a 40km distance from Israeli Lebanese border. IDF pushes on three axes into South Lebanon through UNIFIL-controlled territory.

UN SC Resolution 509 Lebanese Govt. seeks Arab Summit Conference to confront Israeli invasion.




IDF enters and captures Tyre, Nabatiyeh, Hasbaiya. 40km line in many places passed. Streetfighting in Sidon. Air-raids on Damour, Naame, West Beirut.


US special envoy Philip Habib starts mission. Begin ‘gives’ Chateau Beaufort to Saad Haddad. Israeli spokesman in Washington says war-aim is complete destruction of PLO influence in Lebanon.




Sidon captured. IDF occupies Chouf province (Druze stronghold).


US vetoes SC Resolution demanding immediate and unconditional retreat of IDF from Lebanon.




Syrian SAM-6 missile sites in Beka’a destroyed by IDF airforce. IDF tanks 10km south of Beirut.


EEC condemns Israeli invasion of Lebanon.



Air-raids on Southern Beirut (UNESCO, Bir Hassan, Corniche Mazra); failure to land airborne units in Beirut Airport. Syrian-IDJ fighting in Beka’a.


Habib meets President Assad in Damascus.



IDF strike (air, sea, land) South Beirut and airport. Bridgehead at Khald

Note of Acknowledgement

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon


Note of Acknowledgement

The work of the Commission was facilitated in many ways by people too numerous to mention by name, especially those witnesses who gave valuable evidence, oral and written, in the Middle East and Europe. The Report could not have been produced without generous financial support from nany sources. The stature of the Report also benefited from the wide sponsorship that the Commission has received from many concerned ndividuals around the world.

The Commission would be remiss in the extreme if it did not specifically refer to the concrete and substantial contributions of a number of individuals. On both Commission trips to the Middle East it was greatly lelped by Sana Osseiran, whose knowledge of, familiarity with and contacts in the Lebanon were invaluable. We thank her also for providing us with gracious companionship and assistance under difficult circumstances of strain.
The Commission also wish to thank by name the Research Staff and Secretariat whose members worked with great dedication and skill:

Annabel Black     Musa Budeiri        Michael Hanley
Saroush J avadi    Hilary Lim            Maria Maguire
Ali Zarbafi           Angie Blowman    Jane Foxworthy

In countless respects, the Report bears the unsung imprint of their influence by way of documentation and information.   

In an even more comprehensive sense the Commission is indebted to the Convening Committee consisting of the following persons:

Michael Adams
Uri Davis
Kate Maguire
Ernie Ross, MP, and
Lord Tony Gifford who acted as adviser to the Committee

The Convening Committee struggled hard to meet a great array of requests made by the Commission, mostly large and some small and assured arrangements and facilities that enabled us to carry on with the job of investigating in a manner at once efficient, pleasant and free from all unnecessary pressures.

Despite the anguish of dealing with the terrible human ordeal of the Lebanon War and the delicate and controversial nature of its undertaking, the Commission completed its work in a spirit of mutual respect and warm collegial relations.


Appendix V, Part 1: Evidence relating to Israeli War Aims

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Appendix V
Selected Testimony and Reports

In the course of its investigation, the Commission considered evidence of many kinds which was presented to it in Lebanon, in Israel, elsewhere in the Middle East, and in Europe. The evidence included testimony, both spoken and written, from ministers and officials, medical personnel, welfare workers, soldiers, refugees, journalists and others. Through the work of its research team the Commission also had access to a very wide selection of other evidence provided by the international press and broadcasting services.

This appendix contains a selection from this mass of material which has particular relevance to one section or another of the Commission’s report.

Part 1: Evidence relating to Israeli War Aims

Extract from an article published in The Guardian on 28 June 1982, by Michael Adams

In a half-page advertisement in The Guardian and other newspapers the Zionist Federation of Great Britain has claimed that the invasion was aimed at ‘liberating Israel’s civilian population from continuous acts of terror and aggression’. But every authority agrees, including The Guardian, The Times and the British Foreign Secretary, that it was Israel itself and not the Palestinians who broke the cease-fire along Israeli’s northern border and that the PLO had in fact shown considerable restraint in the face of Israeli bombing raids on south Lebanon and Beirut.
. . . When General Sharon persuaded Begin to allow him to embark on the invasion of Lebanon, was his aim merely to eliminate the PLO as a fighting organisation – and if so, could its cost in blood and destruction possibly be justified? Or was there a different, a much wider objective? It is a question many people have asked and the most authoritative answer to it has come from a Jew and a Zionist, a man who has been closely associated for longer than anyone else now living with the Zionist movement and the emergence of the Jewish state, the former president of the World Jewish Congress, Dr Nahum Goldman.
In the course of an interview published in The Guardian on 18 June, Dr Goldman told the paper’s Paris correspondent that he thought the Israeli action in Lebanon ‘out of all proportion to the threat faced on the northern border’ (of Israel). And he went on to say, in what was surely a carefully considered judgment: ‘The apparent aim is to liquidate the Palestinian people – something you cannot do to four million people.’

* * *

The following are extracts from an article by the Jerusalem correspondent of The Times which was published on 29 July under the headline Israel’s battle against time

. . . Professor Yuval Ne’eman, Israel’s newest cabinet minister yesterday described occupied Lebanon up to the port city of Sidon as part of Eretz Israel – the biblical land of Israel – and he advocated that Israel’s army should now remain there for an extended period of ‘years rather than months’ .

He said that Israel should put special emphasis on control of events in the southern part of the country to the Zahrani river, ‘because that area touches on us from every point of view’ .

Among projects which his party would be pressing for inside the Cabinet was joint use of the resources of the Litani river a few miles north of Israel’s present border.

 ‘What I am saying does not precisely involve a change in the border. It can be done without changing any borders’ he said.

‘We think that by invading, the Government has in fact started the last act of the war for this country, for the whole of Eretz Israel. It has also finally pricked the balloon of the PLO’, he said.

‘It is now a matter of working every day and every month to accelerate the Jewish colonization of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza. It is a battle of time now, because we know that the political pressures on the state ofIsrael to give it up will be tremendous. But if we create a Jewish presence there as we have around Jerusalem the idea will no longer be realistic.’
The minister would not confirm reports of the price paid by the Government to secure Techiya’s entry into the coalition, but Israeli sources claimed it included an extra 6,000 housing units and seven new settlements in the West Bank and Gaza before the end of the year.   

* * *

Interview with Georges Howi, Vice-President of the Lebanese National Movement, in Beirut, 1 September 1982


. . . We have all reasons to think that the most important objective of the Israeli aggression against the Lebanon was not the Palestinian revolution, but the Lebanon itself as an independent country, an entity of existing confessions, of religions: its ecumenical development, progress, cultural activities, traditions and, if you want, even the morale of the population. I mean the psychological aspect.

For instance, in the port of Naame the Israelis bombed the population as well as the factories. They also carried out wides pread sabotage, for example dynamiting some factories after they had occupied N aame. These actions could not have any military purpose.

They are also cutting down the orange groves in the south on the pretext that the Palestinians are hiding in these orchards to carry out guerrilla raids. These orchards exist on both sides of a road which runs 50 kilometres from Sidon to Tyre. On both sides there are oranges and all types of fruit and vegetables. But this is not a jungle that the Palestinians can hide in, this is trees of oranges and bananas and other crops. The reason [for cutting them down] is the economic competition between the Lebanese products and the Israeli products. . .

I believe there is a plan to destroy all touristic installations, for instance the Hotel Summerland, Maryland, Coral Beach, which are first class, modern, American-style hotels on the coast – all completely destroyed. Also the airport: even after the occupation they stole everything from the airport. From the palace of UNESCO they have stolen considerable paintings and cultural heritage; paintings too from the Lebanese University – and from the faculty of science they have stolen all the equipment. .

The tobacco factory have been destroyed, also the Ghandur factory – it’s one of the largest in the Middle East; all kinds of alimentation and chocolate are made there. This factory, which was 300 metres of building, was damaged before the occupation but not all was destroyed. After the occupation the Israeli troops took everything and then destroyed it, destroyed with dynamite and they burned some parts of the factory.

There was a variety of approaches to these factories. Sometimes the Israelis would steal, sometimes they burn so that people can see they have been burned, sometimes they would use dynamite. Under all conditions they stole all the equipment and machinery, specially electronic equipment. They have stolen even two aeroplanes, one helicopter and another private plane. The Israeli press have spoken about this [but] they have not returned the planes. The Israeli troopers have even stolen television sets from homes in areas where they have occupied, and videos. [There are] a lot of scandals about Israeli soldiers taking these videos on the tanks on the way to Israel to sell them. Israel has announced [it] in the Israeli press.   

* * *

Extracts from an interview given to the Commission by Lebanese Prime Minister Shafik al-Wazzan in Beirut on 2 September 1982.

. . . One has to say one thing: that mistakes lead to blunders and harm entails evil. The Palestinian cause was not solved in 1948. They are waiting for their retUrn to their homeland. They tried all possible means through the UN, the Arab governments, and by other means, but to no avail… As the Palestinians became desperate and hopeless because they could not return to their homeland by the intermediary of the UN, the Palestinian guerrilla movement took shape. . . The big mistake of the UN was to recognise the right of a people to have a country and to throw out the original inhabitants of that country. . .
Every time something took place in Palestine, the Israelis threatened Lebanon. Lebanon carries a heavy burden because of the Palestinian presence. . . We know that the Israelis have a long expansionist plan to settle the Palestinians elsewhere. They say you, the Lebanese, should take some Palestinians and settle them in the south of Lebanon and in the Bekaa region, and the Arab countries should take charge of settling the rest of them. With this expansionist idea, Israel takes the pretext to invade or attack, using the argument that the purpose of its invasion is to arrive at a distance whereby the inhabitants of Galilee are no more subjected to any attack. And now they have reached a distance very far from their northern borders. There is already a phrase. . . that the Land of Israel is from the Nile to the Euphrates. Israel has succeeded with the help of its greatest ally to take the Arab world little by little: the Golan Heights, the West Bank, Gaza, and now the Lebanon. I don’t know whether they will leave . ..

* * *

Interview with Marwan Hamade, Lebanese Minister of Tourism, in Beirut, 3 September 1982. Also present were Mustafa Durneika, Minister of Agriculture, and Munir Abu-Fadel, Deputy Speaker of the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies.

Hamade: Despite the accuracy of the Israeli [war] machine, we can ask why did they systematically hit hospitals, schools, dispensaries, religious monuments, mosques, factories (or loot what was not destroyed), hotels and touristic complexes, namely Carlton Hotel, the Coral Beach, the Summerland? Why did they loot Beirut airport, looting totally [the] mechanical department of the MEA [Middle East Airlines] which services almost all planes?
They stole from the Trans-Mediterranean Airways and the Aero Club of Lebanon, even flying out projectors and transmitters from the airport terminal. (This was much after they have occupied it and battles have ceased to take place.) This is why we think they are trying to deprive Lebanon economically and socially and of its glamour, even in the eastern sector of Beirut. They looted mountain schools: the Jesuit School of Jamhour, Ecole Notre Dame, Mont La Salle School, College des Freres Maris [?], College de I’Ordre Antoniah, College Louis Wagman in Bshemoun and College Athena in Bshemoun.

Commission: Did the looting follow the same pattern or was it random?

Hamade: It looked random, but with a green light. The Lebanese military commander, General Souweid, said that he spent his time running after the Israelis. They tried to interfere with the banking system, imposing on the banks to give them a complete list of their clients and their accounts, thus violating the bank secrecy which [?covers] the flow of all capital out of Lebanon. But the banks refused to comply with their attempts. In my own department they have destroyed touristic complexes and first estimates of the financial loss are 120-150 million dollars in this sector. They have tried to impose a touristic flow to Israel, in order to handicap national couriers and force Lebanese to take El AI, the Israeli national airline. This picture can be completed by what Mr Durneika can tell you as Minister of Agriculture. Durneika: For two months we could find nothing but Israeli vegetables and fruits. The light industry sector was destroyed, along with the tourist sector and the [trade in] vegetables and fruits to the Arab countries. [Their] first idea is to bring the Lebanese population to accept the idea of cooperating with Israel at very cheap prices (because the Israeli products are subsidised), so [that] the Lebanese people will like to buy their cheap vegetable products. Our products are usually exported to the Arab world, but now everything is closed [and] our farmers are in a very bad situation. They do not have enough income to cover their expenses.
They have cut [down] all orange trees on the road to the south, in order to have a better view and a better way to get the ‘terrorists’ away from the camps. This was done after the PLO departure.
They destroyed our research centres, our Ministry centres in the south and in the Bekaa, because they say the PLO had used these centres. They stole all our equipment, vehicles, trucks, shovels. All what we need to work with in the fields, they stole it, even small tractors given by the Ministry of Agriculture in a loan for the farmers.

Q: Who were ‘they’: Israeli soldiers or officers? Is it a plan?

Durneika: It is an organised operation.

* * *

Testimony given to the Commission in Jerusalem on 8 September by Gideon Spiro, employee of the Israeli Ministry of Education and former journalist and reservist.

I made it quite clear to the army that I was not ready to participate either in the war in Lebanon nor to serve in the occupied territories. I think that Israeli society went through – and is still going through a process of dehumanisation and ‘fascisisation’ in its values. We are now in a very interesting moment where Israeli society still enjoys democracy, mainly for Jews. I mean, a Jew like me can say what he wants, but we are in a very delicate moment today since we don’t know when this democracy will finish. Because I believe that, with the present values, Israel is ready for a military junta – if, of course, it is directed against Arabs and against leftists and against doves. I think Israeli society is in a process of South Africanisation: we have a clear policy of apartheid vis-a-vis the Arabs. The Hebrew language is full of racist expressions which are already in daily use and people use them without feeling that they are using expressions which, if they are used against Jews abroad, we would be very sad and angry and protest against it. Like you would say in English ‘bloody Jew’: it’s an expression which shouldn’t be used in civilised circles, but today in Israel, in conversations between Israelis, if you want to say this work here is very badly done, you said it is ‘avodah aravit’, ‘Arab work’.

For instance, our prime minister Begin introduced in one of his speeches in the Knesset a new expression when he wanted to describe the Palestinians: he called them ‘two-legged animals’. This is very similar to some expressions the Nazis used against the Jews, when they compared them to rats, for instance. What Israel did in the last 15 years since ’67, they made a dehumanisation of the Palestinians. If they are equal to animals on two legs, this is actually saying we should exterminate them.

You see, what happened in Israel is that all the wars are ‘luxury wars’ . . . We don’t pay the price of anything that we are doing, not in the occupied territories, because Israel is in this a unique miracle. There is no country in the world which has over 100% inflation, which is occupying the West Bank, occupying another people, and building all these settlements with billions of dollars, and spending 30% of the GNP on defence – and still we can live here. I mean, somebody is paying for everything, so if everybody can live well and go abroad and buy cars, why not be for the occupation? So they are all luxury wars and people are very proud of the way we are fighting, the quick victories, the self-image of the brave Israeli – very flattering!

Now the war of 1982 – Begin said it on television – he said this war finished the trauma of the 1973 war, the Yom Kippur war, because now again we had a quick victory. He said it after two weeks of the war, and of course the Chief of Staff said that the war in Lebanon is one battle in our war for the Land of Israel. They did not make a secret that the war in Lebanon is part of a big strategy to break the political leadership of the Palestinians, to break the PLO, in order to be able to do in the West Bank whatever they want. This is not an interpretation: it is clearly stated by them. . . And of course this is the goal of the big plan of [Minister of Defence] Sharon, which again is not a secret: to break the Palestinian national will by destroying the PLO, throwing them out of Lebanon and establish a regime friendly to Israel. . . then overthrowing King Hussein and establishing [in Jordan] a Palestinian state and sending there at least half the population of the West Bank. . . leaving behind only those [Palestinians] who are needed for labour, because the West Bank is, for Israeli purposes, only like Soweto.

It’s cheap labour. Go in the afternoon at 4 o’clock to the West Bank and look how the buses bring back the Arab workers from Beersheva, from Jerusalem, fmm all the Jewish cities around – and this is like Soweto. These are the sleeping [ie dormitory] cities. But there are too many of them [Palestinians] today, close to one million; the ratio is not good and the plan is, in the sterile Hebrew words they use today, to ‘clean the West Bank of Arabs’ by sending them to Jordan. . .

I think what is the strongest today in the Israeli leadership is the thing called in Hebrew a dybbuk. You know what is a dybbuk? It’s not a devil; it’s an obsession. They have an anti-Palestinian obsession which, I believe, is not controlled. How can a Palestinian state endanger Israel? It is impossible to speak logically about it. But as long – and here I come to the point – as long as Israelis don’t have to pay the price, as long as we don’t have to stand in queues and decide, either sugar or settlements, either petrol for the car or control of Lebanon – as long as you don’t have to [choose], then you can support everything. . .

There is no country in the world which has such support as Israel. Israel gets more than 50% of the foreign aid of the United States. Look, Israel gets – not per capita, but in absolute figures – more US aid than India with its 600 million people. Israel got from the United States since 1948 such sums that we could actually not work at all, just live from what they are giving us . . . The Common Market has a balance of trade with Israel of 2 billion dollars and as long as they don’t make a blockade on trade with Israel, they’re helping Israel. And as long as the United States is ready to finance Israel with over 3 billion dollars a year, then Begin can do whatever he wants. That’s all; it’s very simple. But once Reagan will say to Israel: ‘You want to do what you want to do: do it at your own cost not at mine’, then Israel would for the first time have a real choice. He [the Israeli] wants the settlements, he wants the territories, he wants to control another people? OK, no food, no sugar, ration everything, no petrol. Then at least I would know they are ready to sacrifice: but now I have the goods of all the worlds together, you see? And this is something that we in Israel cannot do anything about, as long as the US and the Common Market are ready to support Israel in such unbelievable amounts. You see, then this country can do whatever it wants.

* * *


Appendix IV: Maps

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Appendix IV: Maps

Map A (approximate distribution of predominantly Christian and Muslim areas before the beginning of the 1975 Civil War)

Map B (First days of Israeli invasion)

Map C (Beirut areas)

Map D (Map shows where Israeli troops were deployed when Christian militia moved into the Palestinian refugee camps and where mass graves were later discovered)

Appendix III: Chronology of Events

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Appendix III: Chronology of Events



Israeli Air force bombs West Beirut and the South in retaliation for attempted assassination of Israeli ambassador in London.






PLO-IDF artillery battles in border area. Continued bombardments.

UN Security Council Resolution 508.




‘Operation Peace for Galilee’ begins. Claimed objective: to push Palestinian forces to a 40km distance from Israeli Lebanese border. IDF pushes on three axes into South Lebanon through UNIFIL-controlled territory.

UN SC Resolution 509 Lebanese Govt. seeks Arab Summit Conference to confront Israeli invasion.




IDF enters and captures Tyre, Nabatiyeh, Hasbaiya. 40km line in many places passed. Streetfighting in Sidon. Air-raids on Damour, Naame, West Beirut.


US special envoy Philip Habib starts mission. Begin ‘gives’ Chateau Beaufort to Saad Haddad. Israeli spokesman in Washington says war-aim is complete destruction of PLO influence in Lebanon.




Sidon captured. IDF occupies Chouf province (Druze stronghold).


US vetoes SC Resolution demanding immediate and unconditional retreat of IDF from Lebanon.




Syrian SAM-6 missile sites in Beka’a destroyed by IDF airforce. IDF tanks 10km south of Beirut.


EEC condemns Israeli invasion of Lebanon.



Air-raids on Southern Beirut (UNESCO, Bir Hassan, Corniche Mazra); failure to land airborne units in Beirut Airport. Syrian-IDJ fighting in Beka’a.


Habib meets President Assad in Damascus.



IDF strike (air, sea, land) South Beirut and airport. Bridgehead at Khald

Appendix II: List of Witnesses and Organisations who gave evidence

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Appendix II
List of Witnesses and Organisations who gave evidence to the Commission

LEBANON (1st Visit)
Dr Adel Afifi, American Hospital, Beirut
Dr Samih Alami, American Hospital, Beirut
Marwan Anis, Director, Barbir Hospital
Anon, Consultant to the UN
Hedla Ayyubi, Akka Hospital
Mohammed Barakat, Muslim Orphanage, Director of Social Welfare
Dr Nasib Barbir, owner of Barbir Hospital
Nabih Berri, Amal Movement
Nina Busch, Norwegian nurse
Fuad Boutros, Foreign Minister
Moustafa Durnaiqah, Minister of Agriculture
Mounir Abu-Fadel, Vice-President, The National Parliament
Gerard La Fitte, Director, Lycee Verdun, Beirut
Jean-Jacques Frezard, International Committee of Red Cross
Marwan Hamade, Minister of Tourism and Information
Georges Howi, Lebanese MP and Vice-President, Lebanese National
Mary Jean Grove-Hills, nurse
Richard Grove-Hills, Representative, Save the Children Fund
Shafik al-Hout, PLO representative in Lebanon
Mr X, volunteer Lebanese Red Cross ambulance driver
Ali Ismael, accountant
Hassib Abdul Jawad, South Lebanon Trade Union Federation
Jerome Pasquier, French Embassy
Walid Joumblatt, Lebanese National Movement; President, Lebanese
Progressive Socialist Party
Mona Kanafani, Sidon
Professor Rashid Khalidi, American University of Beirut
Dr Abourahman Laban, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
David McDowell, Oxfam
Radwan Mawlawi, Director General, Ministry of Information
Dr Usama Mugharbel, Barbir Hospital
Dr Nabila Nashashibi, Administrator, Akka Hospital
Inam Raad, Leader of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party
Dr Ameen Ramzy, surgeon/traumatologist, Gaza Hospital
Dr Ziyad Renno, anaesthetist
Moustafa Saad, Member of the Lebanese National Movement, Sidon Dr Saeb Salam, former Prime Minister
Ahmed Abdul Salah
Kasim Saleh, Representative in South Lebanon, Syrian Social Nationalist
Professor Kamal Salibi, American University of Beirut
Dr Amal Shamaa, paediatrician, Barbir Hospital
Janet Stevens, journalist, United States
Dr Samir Tabet, Acting President, American University of Beirut
Mr Shafik AI-Wazzan, Prime Minister
Two representatives of the Lebanese National Movement and of the Communist Party of Lebanon
A former prisoner in AI-Ansar
Five members of the Beirut Working Group on Israeli War Crimes
A doctor at the American Hospital
A doctor in South Lebanon

Mohamed Milhem, Mayor of Halhoul
Dr Hattan Mustapha, PLO medical officer
Dr Hanna Nasir, President, Bir Zeit University
Adnan Abu Odeh, Minister of Information, Acting Prime Minister Sgt Ali Othman, Palestine Liberation Army
Lt-Col Mohamed Qudsia, Chief of Staff, Palestine Liberation Army Ghazi al Saad, Editor of Dar al J aliI
Sheik Abdul Hamid AI-Sayegh, Islamic Court of Appeal
Lt-Col Subehi, Brigade Commander, PLA
A United Nations representative

Dr Fathi Arafat, Director, Palestine Red Crescent Society F. Barraji, lawyer, Lebanon
Dr Steinar Berge, doctor, Norway
Major Derek Cooper and Mrs Cooper
E. Makhlouf, Palestine Red Crescent Society

Dr Melvyn H. Brooks, Israeli doctor
Walid Fahum, Advocate, Deputy Mayor of Nazareth
Tamar Gojanski
Yoramo Gojanski
Amnon Kapeliouk, journalist
Dr Yehuda Melzer, ‘There is a Limit’ movement
Muhammed Miari, Chairman of Prisoners’ Committee
Yaron Pik, Israeli soldier
Shimshon Roth, Israeli soldier
Captain S, Israeli soldier
Professor Israel Shahak, Israel League of Human Rights (also interviewed in Paris)
Gideon Spiro, Israeli soldier Ziad Abu Ziad, Al Fajr newspaper
An officer of the Israeli Civil Assistance Unit in Lebanon

Dr Constantinos Alexiou, doctor, Greece
Liv Berit Bredby, nurse, Norway
Dr Francis Capet, Belgium
Mahmoud Darwish, PLO Cultural Department and Palestinian poet
Dr Loucas Floros, doctor, Greece
Dr Mads Gilbert, doctor, Norway
Dr Bernt Heger, Norway
Ryuichi Hirowaka, photographer and journalist, Japan
Dr Shafiq aI-Islam, doctor, Bangladesh
Dr Franklin Lamb, researcher, USA
Dr Terje Lung, general practitioner, Norway
Dr Per Maehlumschlagen
Pascal Mathey, nurse, France
Ralph Schoenman, journalist, USA
Mya Shone, journalist, USA
Dr Auden Tommessen, anaesthetist, Norway

Najib aI-Ahmed, Director, PLO office, Member of Jordanian Parliament
Yasir Amr
Company Commander Gabbary, Palestine Liberation Army Suleiman al-Hadidi, President, Jordanian Bar Association Crown Prince Hassan
Rouhi aI-Khatib, Mayor of Jerusalem

Abu Asim, Emergency Department, Palestine Red Crescent Society
Mrs Ellen Blic, nurse, Norway
Dr Said Dajani, Palestine Red Crescent Society
Abu el-Fadel, Palestine Red Crescent Society
Abu Jihad, Palestine Liberation Organisation
Dr Michael Lichtwarck-Aschoff, doctor, West Germany
Dr Mouwafaq, Palestine Red Crescent Society
Khalia Salam

Yamani, journalist, Iraq
Staff from Jaffa Hospital

LEBANON (2nd Visit)
Georges Assaf, attorney
Dr David Grey, doctor Gaza Hospital, United Kingdom
Beirut Working Group on Israeli War Crimes
Sabri Jiryis, Director-General, Palestine Research Centre
Dr Usama Khalidi
Dr Waed Kheir, attorney
Dr Swee Chai Ang Khoo
Dr Phil McKenna, doctor, Ireland
Ralph Miller, Mennonite Central Committee
Dr Troy Rusli, doctor, Norway
Dr Samir Sabbagh, Vice-President, Mourabitoun
Dr Georges Toume, President, The Lebanese University
A former prisoner from AI-Ansar Camp
Former prisoner in Al-Ansar and Israel
Two American soldiers
Two representatives of American relief organisations
A Lebanese civil servant


Appendix I: Majority Note on Genocide and Ethnocide

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Appendix I
Majority Note on Genocide and Ethnocide

One of the most serious allegations which can be made against a government is that it is either guilty of the crime of genocide or that its policies are genocidal in intent. The emotiveness of such an accusation, in the context of the invasion of Lebanon, is increased when it is recognised that the development of international rules and a moral sensitivity arose largely because of the experience of the Holocaust and the mass extermination policies of the Nazis towards racial or national groups.
The Commission is aware that Israeli policies towards Palestinians have been described as ‘genocidal’, either in relation to the overall policies of the Israeli State towards Palestinians in general or because those adopted in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since 1967 and the attempts to remove the Palestinian presence in Lebanon from 1967 onwards.
The particular form of genocide as applied to the Palestinians does not appear to be aimed at killing the Palestinians in a systematic fashion. It could be argued that if this was the intention, many more could have been killed. The specific form of genocide which can be said to apply is the adoption of all kinds of measures, short of killing, to destroy the national culture, political autonomy and national will in the context of the Palestinian struggle for national liberation and self-determination.
The definition of genocide is not limited to the formula adopted by the United Nations in of 1948. The legal concept of genocide is quite consistent with identifying policies designed to destroy the identity and will of a national group, as well as the Nazi paradigm of the Holocaust.
Governments rarely, if ever, declare and document genocidal plans in the manner of the Nazis. It is from the effect of governmental policies and, on occasion, articulated reasons for particular behaviour, that intent and objective can be identified. But the notion of genocide was never meant to cover simply the physical extermination of a people. Long before the adoption of the United Nations Convention on Genocide in 1948 Raphael Lemkin, who coined the word, explained that genocide was intended to signify a co-ordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of the essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.[1]
The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal in 1946 saw the first international illustration of the use of the word, in the indictment constituting crimes against humanity. The General Assembly of the United Nations, in a resolution adopted unanimously (Res. 96-1, 1946), laid down that the crime of genocide could also occur independently of war crimes or a war of aggression.[2]
The formal legal basis of the crime of genocide is that provided for by the United Nations Genocide Convention,[3] adopted by the General Assembly in 1948 and ratified by Israel, among a large number of states. Genocide is confirmed as a crime under international law whether committed in time of peace or in time of war (Article I).
Article II defines genocide, for the purpose of this Convention (emphasis supplied), as the enumerated acts committed with intentto destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such. The acts enumerated are:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article IV imposes liability on individuals ‘whether they are consti


Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon


1. The Commission recommends the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed forces present in Lebanon without the consent of the Government of Lebanon and recommends the replacement of the United States/France/Italy multilateral force by an adequate security arrangement under United Nations auspices.
2. The Commission recommends that all refugee camps in Lebanon be protected in the future by adequate United Nations forces. The Commission considers that the international community through the United Nations should urgently examine what further measures are necessary to ensure the better protection of refugees, especially those who are victims of armed conflicts, by such means as the clarification and elaboration of principles of refugee law. The recognition of the special status of refugee camps will provide greater protection, as would the wider acceptance of the basic principles for the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts as laid down by General Assembly resolution 2675 of 9 December 1970.
3. The Commission recommends, in the spirit of the Geneva Conventions and Protocols, that adequate steps be taken to implement the solemn obligation of States to uphold the law of war in all its aspects. In pursuit of this end, given the grave breaches of the laws of war committed by Israel during the Lebanon War, it is recommended that the Secretary-General of the United Nations appoint a special expert body to advise on the best steps to improve compliance with the existing law of war by all States.
4. The Commission recommends that all Parties to the Geneva Conventions carry out their legal obligation to prosecute individuals guilty of grave breaches of the laws of war. Such obligations seem particularly relevant to the apprehension of Israeli and Lebanese political and military leaders and participants involved in the massacres at Chatila and Sabra. The Geneva Conventions require the Parties to use their national courts to carry out this responsibility and the Commission recommends that this requirement be honoured in the present instance.
5. The Commission recommends that the Government of Israel make reparation for all damage done in Lebanon by violation of international law. This obligation includes a duty to compensate victims and the survivors.
6. The Commission recommends the payment by Israel of a full indemnity to the Government of Lebanon in respect of the damage inflicted on Lebanese property arising from and incidental to the invasion and occupation of Lebanese territory by Israeli forces. In default of agreement as to the amount payable to the Government of Lebanon, the matter should be submitted to international arbitration.
7. The Commission recommends that Israel should pay to the International Committee of the Red Cross and other voluntary bodies compensation adequate to reimburse such voluntary organisations for the cost of supplies and services provided by them arising from the Israeli invasion and occupation of the Lebanon. In default of an agreement, the amount in each case should be determined by an assessor appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
8. The Commission recommends that the United Nations set up a special international tribunal to investigate and prosecute individuals charged with crimes of state, especially in connection with the Chatila and Sabra massacres. Such prosecutions should be carried by due legal process and with fairness to the accused.
9. The Commission recommends that a competent international body be designated or established to clarify the conception of genocide in relation to Israeli policies and practices toward the Palestinian people.
10. The Commission proposes the suspension of all financial support and of all supplies, direct or indirect, to Israel of any arms or other military equipment (including aircraft, tanks, ammunition, bulldozers etc.) by any member state of the United Nations until the Government ofIsrael accepts and complies with such of the Commission’s recommendations as are applicable to Israel.

A. K. Asmal
B. Bercusson
R. A. Falk
S. MacBride
G. de la Pradelle
S. Wild


The Commission’s Conclusions

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon


The principal and essential judgments of the Commission are concerned and connected with the eight questions which constituted the Terms of Reference of the Commission. In addition, evidence presented to the Commission has led it to formulate additional conclusions. The general conclusions are first related to the eight questions, with the additional conclusions following:

1. Has the Government of Israel committed acts of aggression contrary to international law?

The Commission considers that Israel has been guilty of aggression against the sovereignty of Lebanon and the rights of the Palestinian people. Such aggression has taken place contrary to the provisions of the Charter of the UN and other fundamental principles of international law. Such a violation of international law has been described by the principal legal body of the UN, the International Law Commission, as a crime under international law , since the wrongful act results from a breach of an international obligation ‘essential for the protection of the fundamental interests of the international community as a whole.’
The Commission considers that Israel is also in breach of the international obligation to safeguard the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people and of the rules of law prohibiting the establishment or maintenance by force of colonial domination. The Commission is convinced that until Israel recognises the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right of self-determination, there can be no lasting peace in the Middle East or an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. These crimes of State give rise to criminal liability as far as the State of Israel is concerned. The Commission wishes to draw attention to the legal and political responsibility of other states, international bodies and public and private organisations which assist in the commission of various crimes, but especially the crime of aggression.
Israel has persistently violated the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and has systematically refused to ‘agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council’ in accordance with Article 25 of the Charter. Decisions of the Security Council are not limited to the provisions of Chapter VII of the Charter where the Security Council determines that there is a ‘threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression’. Such a determination by the Security Council has not been made because of the use or threat of the use of the veto by the United States. However, Israel is obliged to carry out the decisions of the Security Council which fall within the competence of the appropriate organ of the United Nations.
The refusal by Israel to withdraw from Lebanon, to lift the blockade of Beirut and to allow free movement to UN Observers as requested by the United Nations, especially as these illegal activities were taking place in the territory of another sovereign state, Lebanon, are serious attacks on the integrity of the United Nations.
Israel, in addition, has systematically refused to settle its disputes peacefully, contrary to the international obligations undertaken under Article 2(3) of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Commission draws the attention of States to the important legal duty not to recognise in any way the consequences of Israel’s illegal action in the Lebanon, especially as they may relate to the continued illegal occupation of Lebanese territory.
As the commission of an intentionally wrongful act entails a State’s international responsibility, Israel is under an obligation to make reparation for the consequences of its wrongful actions. The International Law Commission has described this proposition of law as ‘one of the principles most deeply rooted in the doctrine of international law’. Reparation or compensation is an indispensable complement of a failure to respect rules of law. Israel therefore owes a duty of reparation to the State of Lebanon for the physical destruction, loss oflives and general damage caused. In addition it is obliged to compensate the Palestinian people for the direct and indirect consequences of the war of aggression.

2. Have the Israeli armed forces made use of weapons or methods of warfare fobidden by international law, including the laws of war?

The Commission concludes that the use made of fragmentation and incendiary weapons by the Israeli armed forces violated the international legal principles of proportionality and discrimination. Acts of violence were directed against refugee camps, hospitals, schools, cultural, religious and charitable institutions, commercial and industrial premises, Lebanese Goverment and PLO offices, diplomatic premises and urban areas generally, which were not justified by the principle of military necessity. The damage and destruction to civilian objects and the casualties among the civilian population were, in the Commission’s view, the consequence of violations by the Israeli forces of the legal principles governing the conduct and methods of war.

3. Have Palestinian and Lebanese, or other, prisoners been subjected to treatment forbidden by international law, including inhuman or degrading treatment? Has there been a violation of international law arising out of the classification or denial of status to Palestinian prisoners or detainees?

The Commission concludes that Israel violated international rules dealing with prisoners, both civilians and fighters, particularly by denying Palestinian and Lebanese fighters prisoner-or-war status, as provided under Geneva Convention III of 1949 and the Additional Protocol I of 1977, and by subjecting these prisoners to unlawful treatment which included degrading treatment and brutality, on occasion leading to death, during arrest and transportation. Forbidden interrogation of detainees, both of prisoners-of-war and civilians, was often conducted with violence and sometimes torture, contrary to the Geneva Conventions. Detainees were intentionally deprived of medical care in camps both in Israel and at Al-

Chapter 15: The Massacres of Sabra and Shatila

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Chapter 15

The Massacres at Sabra and Chatila

The massacres at Sabra and Chatila shocked the international conscience as few events in recent international history have done. We recognise their importance by treating the events, in the setting of our enquiry into Israeli responsibility, in a separate chapter. At the same time, in our judgement these massacres were only the culmination of a pattern of warfare carried on against the Palestinian and Lebanese people in Lebanon, especially those resident in the camps. The massacres in the Beirut camps in mid-September 1982 need to be fully understood, accordingly, in the context of this wider Israeli design, one which was evident from the outset in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
The Sabra and Chatila camps are situated close together in the south-west section of Beirut. They are two of the twelve camps established in Lebanon by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, created in 1948, to give shelter to Palestinians expelled from their homes as a result of the creation of the State of Israel.
These two camps occupy an area of three square kilometers. Prior to the invasion of June 1982 they were inhabited by an estimated 90,000 people. The poor of Beirut freely intermingled with the Palestinians; they also worked together and intermarried. 25% of the camp population was Lebanese. The original tents and makeshift shelters which characterised the camps when they were first formed have long since been replaced by permanent structures, some multi-storey housing, but mainly by single floor concrete block houses with corrugated iron roofs. The camp buildings and houses are tightly packed together and are separated by numerous narrow alleyways running off the main streets; these form the maze in which the massacres were perpetrated. The camps embody many contradictions. On the one hand, they constitute an area of poverty and unemployment, such as commonly develops on the edges of prosperous cities; on the other hand, in the camps, there existed a highly developed Palestinian welfare and educational infrastructure. The two hospitals in the camps are Gaza (in Sabra) and Akka (in Chatila). The ten-storey Gaza Hospital is the larger of the two; it has an Orthopaedic Centre and generally handles the more serious patients. Before the war, Gaza had 120 boos and 50 nurses and possessed two operating theatres. Akka was equipped to meet specialist needs, such as cardiac by-pass, micro-surgery and neurosurgery. Certain aspects of life in Sabra and Chatila were highly organised. Popular committees acted like municipal councils in the day-to-day servicing of the camps. Trade unionism was well established among the employed.
During the war, thousands of the camp dwellers fled to other parts of the city. These camps were devastated by repeated bombing and shelling during the period between early June and the middle of August 1982.[1] After the cease-fire, which held from 12 August, thousands had returned to Sabra and Chatila and had begun to reconstruct their lives. The Commission visited these camps during the early days of September and was shocked by the widespread destruction encountered. Commission members discerned no signs of military activity in the camps. Time correspondent, Robert Sutvo, among others, visited the camps shortly after the Israeli siege was lifted ‘and found no signs of military activity’, concluding that ‘(t)here thus appeared to be no need for the Israelis to have sent a strong armed force into the camps to search them thoroughly, much less a Christian force that might want to wreak vengeance on Palestinian civilians.'[2] Many independent reports indicate that the Palestinians living in the camps accepted the Israeli occupation of the country as a reality and regarded the PLO resistance as having ended with the departure from Beirut of some 9,000 Palestinian fighters. For example, a correspondent for the New York Times wrote that ‘On September 11, both the Chatila and Sabra camps were quiet and, according to residents, there was no apprehension over the prospect of the Lebanese Army moving in.'[3] Indeed, a few days earlier than the 11th, the Lebanese Army had taken up positions without incident in and around the large nearby camp at Bourj al Brajneh.
In every sense, then, the residents of the camps were ‘protected persons’ within the meaning of Geneva Convention IV and Israel as an Occupying Power was under a special obligation to prevent the commission of ‘outrages’ against them. Article 73 of Protocol I expressly extends protected persons status to refugees and stateless persons, a status clearly applicable to Palestinians, including males. Articles 75-77 of the Protocol elaborate on the quality of the protection that is legally imposed on an Occupying Power, singling out in Articles 76 and 77 women and children for particular concern. Article 51(1) (of the Protocol) asserts the basic rule that ‘The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations.’ Given the peace and quiet that pertained in the camps in early September, there appears every reason to regard their inhabitants as ‘civilians’, even if among their number were some individuals with ties to the PLO.
It is against this general background, then, that we must consider allegations charging Israel with the violation of its duties as Occupying Power in relation to the shocking events of 16-18 September in the camps. It goes without saying that Israeli responsibility for these events is shared with the Lebanese militia commanders and combat personnel who actually carried out the slaughter. There are many details about the massacres that camps, the arguments which immediately arose within the Popular Committees in the camps can be summarised as involving the choice either to abandon the camps and seek refuge in safer areas of West Beirut (as many had done during the bombardments and the siege) or to remain in the camps and offer no resistance (as none was possible) in the hope that the defencelessness of the inhabitants would be respected. The latter argument prevailed for the vast majority of the inhabitants of the camps. It was understood that no place in the city would be safer since the PLO had been evacuated. [16] Clearly, an effort at an armed defence of the sort attempted at Ain el Hilweh[17] was not made in Sabra and Chatila.
(2) The Lebanese Army, under Prime Minister AI-Wazzan’s plan for its deployment in West Beirut, had been taking up positions since 1 September and had already taken control of Bourj al Brajneh camp. The Commission is convinced that the camps were not resistance centres and that the Lebanese Army would have had the capacity to exercise normal policing responsibilities inside them.
(3) From 14 September General Sharon made allegations that 2,000 ‘terrorists’ had remained in West Beirut. It was widely thought that Sharon’s carefully introduced references to 2,000 PLO guerrillas remaining was a ‘disingenuous excuse to justify the invasion which he had already planned’.[18] Supplies were certainly left behind by the PLO, but there is no evidence to suggest that any substantial number of PLO fighters themselves remained in any part of West Beirut. It seems evident and is confirmed by Dr Ang’s testimony, that such resistance as there was to the Israeli advance on 15 September in the Sabra-Chatila area came from the Mourabitoun militia and that even that resistance took place outside the camps. But the most conclusive evidence of the falsity of the allegation about ‘2000 fighters’ must be that there was absolutely no resistance to the massacres which later took place. The militiamen suffered virtually no casualties in their execution of the massacres. When, in the aftermath, the massacres were investigated by countless journalists, relief workers and officials of international organisations, there were no signs of even the slightest resistance having been put forth. David MacDowell (an Oxfam field worker) cites a sporting pellet gun lying beside the corpse of a young boy as epitomising the total defencelessness of the camp population.
The Commission rejects unconditionally the Israeli allegation that 2,000 ‘terrorists’ in the camps made it reasonable to mount a military action against the inhabitants and regards the camps as civilian, non-military places of refuge at the time of the massacres. The Commission does not believe that Israeli intelligence ” which had manifestly accepted the numbers of departing PLO fighters as accurate ? could have subsequently estimated in good faith that such a large number of fighters remained. While the Commission therefore totally rejects Sharon’s figures, it must be emphasized that even if this Israeli allegation had been true, or even if Israel had in good faith believed it to be substantially true, the actions taken after the camps had been encircled would nevertheless have constituted the gravest breach of Israel’s responsibilities as an Occupying Power. What occurred would still have constituted a gross failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants.
The Commission finds that without doubt the civilian population of Sabra and Chatila were protected persons within the meaning of Geneva Convention IV and Protocol I.
Having clarified the international legal framework within which Israel was required to operate, it is necessary to review the details of the events that took place in Sabra and Chatila from 16-18 September. Our sources are: the testimonies of the survivors, journalists’ reports which appeared in the newspapers (particularly the Israeli press), evidence which has so far been made public by the Israeli Commission of Enquiry, headed by Chief Justice Kahan, and most significantly, the evidence and testimonies taken by the International Commission during its second visit to the Lebanon and during the private sessions at the Oslo hearings.
On Wednesday 15 September, at 3.30 am (according to General Sharon, 3.30 pm), the Israeli Chief of Staff, General Rafael Eitan and the IDF Northern Commander, General Amir Drori, met with Phalangist officers in East Beirut and agreed that Phalangist militiamen would enter Sabra and Chatila to ‘mop up (the) remaining “terrorists”’.[20]
At 5-5.30 am Israeli planes made low level flights over the camps.[21] At 8 am artillery or tank shelling of the camps commenced and grew gradually heavier.[22]
Large concentrations of Israeli troops and tanks were seen at the remains of the Kuwaiti Embassy, which is a few hundred yards from the edge of Chatila.[23] At 3.30-4 pm the shelling was very heavy and shells were falling within half a kilometer of Gaza Hospital. [24] On entering into West Beirut, the Israeli Defence Forces took up controlling positions west of the camps. [25]
By 16 September, Israeli troops and armour had completely surrounded Sabra and Chatila and were 50 yards at the nearest point and 300 yards at the furthest point from the camps. A ridge of high ground at the south west corner of Chatila was also occupied by the Israelis.[26]
From 5-5.30 am low level flights of Israeli planes over Sabra and Chatila
took place, after which shelling promptly commenced.[27]
Residents close to the airport reported that they saw militiamen mustering
under Israeli control.[28]
Local inhabitants reported that freshly placed road signs appeared, showing a red circle, with the letter MP for ‘meeting place’ inside, over an arrow pointing to Sabra and Chatila. Arrows led from the golf course, which lies between the airport and the camps, to the camps.[29]
Lebanese Army soldiers said that the militia force was composed largely of men from Damour, Saadyat and Naameh – Christian villages that had been sacked by the Palestinian forces during the Civil War.[30] Other Lebanese soldiers reported that they recognised the uniforms of Haddad’s militia near the Kuwaiti Embassy.[31] The Israelis established observation posts on top of multi-storey buildings in the north-west quadrant of the Kuwaiti Embassy. From these posts, the naked eye has a clear view of several sections of the camps, including those parts of Chatila where piles of bodies were found;[32] in addition, Israeli observers were reported to have had high

Chapter 14: The Siege of Beirut

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Chapter 14

The Siege of Beirut

The siege of Beirut was the logical outcome of Israel’s invasion of the Lebanon, the ultimate aim of which, made public only after the invasion got under way, was the destruction of the PLO. Only a siege could ‘completely eradicate the nerve centre of terrorism. . . the centre of international terrorism located in Beirut’, according to the Israeli Chief of Staff, General Eitan;[l] only a siege could ‘wipe out the PLO’.[2] On 9 July on Israeli television, Deputy Prime Minister David Levy admitted that Beirut was necessarily one of the Israeli army’s goals from the outset.[3]The Commission recognises that the siege of Beirut played a special part in the overall Israeli strategy for the invasion. As a result, there were special features associated with the siege which were not present in the earlier part of the invasion or in other regions of Lebanon. The siege was also an exceptional method of conducting warfare in modern times, aimed as it was against a civilian population with no real defence against the sophisticated fire-power of the forces of one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world.
The Commission has therefore considered it necessary to devote a special section of its Report to different aspects of the siege, although the subject

Chapter 13: Israel’s Occupation Policy [of Lebanon]

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Chapter 13

Israel’s Occupation Policy [of Lebanon]

The purpose of this part of the Report is to consider whether and to what extent those aspects of Israel’s occupation of the Lebanon, which the Commission believes it is in a position adequately to assess, conform to the rules of international law.
The Commission recalls that such rules are mainly customary law. They have progressively been developed, during more than a century of military history. Successive conventions and the resolutions of international bodies, which have specified their terms and enlarged their field, mark the various stages of their development. The Commission’s opinion is that the main function of these instruments is not to create norms (which in fact already exist) but to express these existing norms and to give them an appropriate form in the light of historical developments. Consequently, the Commission believes that the occupation by Israel should be assessed according both to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 – to which Israel is a party – and to the additional Protocol I of 1977 which Israel did not sign, but most of the provisions of which are merely codifications of principles laid down i~ the Geneva Conventions.
The section begins with a description of what, in the Commission’s view, constitute the particular features of the Israeli ‘presence’.
The Commission focuses on the treatment accorded to individuals and
property during the occupation and both these aspects will be analysed. Finally, special attention will be paid to the situation of the people in the camps, for this is both connected with aspects of the occupation to be analysed first, and also illustrates what seems to have been one of the underlying objectives of the Israeli authorities: to eliminate the Palestinians from the occupied zones.

General Characteristics of the Occupation
It is generally considered that the military presence of a State on the territory of another State, with the result that all or part of the territory comes under its control, constitutes – in law – occupation. Among the legal consequences are the applicability of the Geneva Conventions of 1949; and the duties and responsibilities of the occupying power as laid down in the 1907 Hague Regulations.

However, even in the face of the facts which will be briefly listed, the Israeli authorities refuse to recognise unambiguously that their ‘presence’ in the Lebanon can legally be termed an occupation. This attitude requires analysis. In order to understand the probable reasons for the Israeli Government position, it is also necessary to isolate certain particular features of the occupation policy pursued in the Lebanon.

The Israeli ‘thesis’
This ‘thesis’ was advanced, orally, on 22 July 1982 to a delegation of the Centre of Information on Palestinian and Lebanese Prisoners based in Paris when one of the members of this Commission was present. Dr Dani Rubinstein, legal adviser to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, argued that in the view of his Government there was no occupation of the Lebanon as laid down in the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
This argument is unequivocally developed in a Briefing document distributed by the Information Service of the same Ministry, dated 18 July 1982 and handed to the French delegation by Dr Rubinstein. It was revealingly entitled ‘The Current Israeli Presence in the Lebanon’, and it sets out the basic arguments which formed the core of his presentation:

– the military operations were not directed against the Lebanon;
– on the contrary, they helped save the Lebanese people and their Government from usurpation of their power by the Palestine Liberation Organisation;
– the Israeli army had no intention of setting up an administration in the zones where it was temporarily present;
– no military governor had been appointed, nor any regulations decreed for the administration;
– Israel restricted itself to the setting up of ‘special units for civilian assistance’ which would intervene where local government authority was lacking, as in most areas the local authorities had begun to exercise their powers again for the first time in many years.

One further argument put forward by Dr Rubinstein’s aides was that some Lebanese groups had accepted, if not actually called for, the presence of Israeli forces.
The Commission very much regrets that the Israeli Government refused to accede to the Chairman’s request for co-operation.[1] It was therefore impossible for its members to discuss this analysis with the authorities in Jerusalem.
The facts which the Commission found for itself or which were reported to it, challenge the Israeli denial that there was an occupation in the sense of that term in international law.

The Occupation
The Commission is aware of two contentions on the issue of ‘occupation’. First, that there was an occupation could be questioned, and the thesis thus acquire some credence, if the Lebanese State had requested or accepted the Israeli army’s intervention.
Similarly, if the ‘presence’ of the Israeli armed forces implied neither an encroachment on Lebanese powers nor interference in the life of the people – in brief, if there had been no seizure of territory or subjugation of its inhabitants and its local authorities. But this approach is unsustainable.
The fact of the occupation is first of all attested by the attitude of the properly constituted Lebanese authorities, who protested officially against the invasion of their territory by the Israeli forces, illustrated by the clear statement of the President of Lebanon[2] and through the protests of the Lebanese Permanent Representative to the Security Council of the United nations and its vote at the General Assembly.[3] The Commission’s interview with the Prime Minister, Mr Shafik al- W azzan, on 2 September[4] established Lebanon’s opposition to the invasion also. It should be noted that the actual or alleged position of those groups, parties or militias which were really or allegedly in favour of Israeli intervention have little relevance in international law in comparison to the unequivocal attitude of the official representatives of Lebanese national sovereignty. Such support for Israel’s intervention would in any case be contrary to Lebanese law (as explained to the Commission by the Prime Minister of Lebanon).[5]
The fact of the occupation is secondly attested to by a massive and obvious presence of the Israeli armed forces, on much of Lebanese territory and especially in southern Lebanon, around Mount Lebanon and the city of Beirut which was completely occupied from 16 to 18 September 1982. The Commission was able to see for itself that there was heavy Israeli Defence Force traffic on the roads; the countryside and the built-up areas were dotted with fortified positions and camps flying the Israeli flag; and numerous patrols were evident over land, sea and air.
In addition, there are four important sets of facts which feature in the Israeli occupation (some of which directly contradict several allegations made in the Briefing document of 18th July mentioned above).
(a) The Israeli army imposed security measures which it deemed necessary for its safety. (Recent events proved the necessity for measure of this kind: apart from the ‘incident’ which caused the death of 75 IDF soldiers and 15 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians in Tyre on 11 November, Le Monde listed at least 10 attempts against Israeli forces since 3 October. [6] It set up road blocks where its soldiers could check on the identity of people and on vehicles, usually backed up with tanks and assisted by Lebanese auxiliaries; on several occasions the Commission experienced the effects of these road blocks at first hand. It carried out searches, looking for arms, ammunition, documents and ‘suspects’. It conducted raids which involved arrests of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians (see below, II). In the south, it cut down orchards along the road for fear of snipers. Lastly, it imposed curfews in many places. The security measures following the ‘incident’ which destroyed the Israeli headquarters in Tyre consisted of the mass arrests of about 800 people, curfews and a blockade of Lebanese officials and security forces, not only in Tyre, but also in Sidon.[7]
(b) The Israeli army undertook various more or less urgent tasks which would normally have been carried out by the police or the Government authorities, such as clearing mines; looking for, removing and burying bodies; and clearing debris. In the early days of its ‘presence’ it even requisitioned men who were selected arbitrarily from the population to execute some of.these operations. There is no doubt that it provided aid to the civilian population in the form of provisions and medical care as attested by the evidence of Dr Melvyn H. Brooks and another witness in Jerusalem. It proceeded to widen some of the main roads. Routes in the zone under its control were signposted in Hebrew; and places were often given a Hebrew name instead of their local Arab one.
(c) Many private and public buildings were occupied by Israeli forces who evicted their occupants, including in some cases Lebanese civilian administrators, and the barracks, the garrisons of which were disarmed (notably at Sidon). [8] The town halls ofTyre and Sidon and the administrative offices (‘serails’), especially in Sidon and Rachaya, were among those occupied in this way.[9] The same happened to the hospitals of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, to numerous schools[10] and the international airport at Beirut which was closed to both civilian and military Lebanese traffic up to 1 October.
(d) Strict controls were exercised over the population. During June the population was subjected to numerous identity checks at which the army stamped their documents; and in the same period they were compelled to carry temporary passes.[11] Members of the Commission were able to verify the existence of these stamps and passes. At least one member of the Lebanese Parliament, Mr Abdel Latif Zein, was detained and prevented from travelling from the capital; while some political figures, eg Mr Walid Joumblatt, were prevented from travelling to their constituencies.
At sea, the Israeli navy cruised the waters off the portofJounieh which up until the reopening of Beirut airport was the main point of access into the Lebanon and especially to Beirut. It systematically compelled every ship entering into Lebanese territorial waters to hand over a list of passengers; it forced these ships to stop, sometimes for many hours, and on two occasions (30 August and 6 September) the Commission was the object of its vigilance.
The Commission concludes that such facts constitute, by their nature, acts of occupation under international law. The denials and reservations of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs can do nothing to alter the facts.
In particular, calling the Israeli forces stationed on Lebanese territory ‘units responsible for aiding civilians’ does nothing to change their real nature, that of occupying troops. It is admitted that these units form an integral part of the army: official signs were the proof (for example, the Commission saw the signpost erected at Sidon near the Lebanese police barracks, on the road leading to the Ain el Hilweh camp).
The Israeli reluctance to admit openly to occupation may be explained by some of the particular features of the occupation.

Particular Features of the Israeli Occupation
In the Commission’s view the occupation had three special features: firstly, it was the extension of a ‘presence’ which had existed long before the invasion of June 1982 in southern Lebanon; secondly, it is reflected by Israel’s role in the interplay of various Lebanese forces and factions; and thirdly, it was characterised by widespread arrests among the civilian population.

The Arrests
To ensure the immediate safety of its forces, the IDF did not limit itself to a supervisory role. It made and is still making large numbers of arrests and is at the present time holding large numbers of prisoners.
The exceptional extent of the arrests, the ways in which they were made and the treatment of detainees, are not simply a peculiarity which distinguishes this case from classical forms of occupation. They are also, as will be shown later, largely incompatible with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. This last feature may explain the refusal of the Israeli Government to admit to the fact of occupation, which would then involve the application of these Conventions.
This is one of the many aspects of the interventionist policies pursued for more than ten years, of which the June 1982 invasion was the culmination. This continuity is also characteristic of the occupation.

The Continuity of the Israeli ‘Presence’
Ever since the reinforcement of the Palestinian positions in the Lebanon at the end of the sixties, Israel has unilaterally assumed the right to police the situation, mainly, but not exclusively, in the south of the country. This policing took the form of numerous incursions into Lebanese territory. Some of these incursions were highly spectacular, such as the attack on Beirut airport in 1968, the ‘limited’ invasion of 1978 and the 1981 bombardments. Apart from these widely noted events, the Israeli presence was fairly constant in the south throughout the seventies.
Further, Biblical tradition regards southern Lebanon as part of the Land of Israel. This may also explain Israeli reluctance to admit that the presence and activities of Israeli forces constitute an occupation under international law.
Professor Israel Shahak, President of the Israeli League for Human Rights, has stated in his evidence to the Commission that since 1975 the Israeli presence has been maintained by a ‘Special Unit for the Regions of South Lebanon’ (or ADEL), formed from former soldiers and attached not to army headquarters but directly to the Ministry of Defence. [12]
One aspect of the Israeli ‘presence’ was the arrest, on Lebanese territory, of people of all nationalities but especially Lebanese citizens, some of whom were taken to Israel to appear before military courts to answer charges of breaking those Israeli laws which covered extra-territorial matters.[13]
The Israeli presence also relied heavily on the’ Army of Free Lebanon’ led by Saad Haddad, which is equipped, looked after and in fact directed by Israel according to many witnesses before the Commission. This, however, also relates to the next specific feature of the present occupation.

The Resort to Local ‘Auxiliary’ Forces
There is one widely known fact to which almost all the Lebanese witnesses before the Commission gave special emphasis, including members of the Government. [14] This is the fact that the Israeli army is closely linked to two different Lebanese militias which were in existence when the invasion of June 1982 was launched.
Firstly, there is the ‘Lebanese Forces’, composed almost entirely of Christian Maronites and drawn mainly from the ‘Phalange’ of the Kataeb Party. They were usually to be found in the Christian areas of the north and in East Beirut.
Secondly, in the frontier region of the south there is the ‘Army of Free Lebanon’, 60% of whose strength is made up of Shi’ite Muslims but whose officers are almost all Christian. This body is commanded by a former Lebanese officer convicted in his absence of high treason and discharged from the Lebanese army, Major Saad Haddad.
Evidence before the Commission establishes that when the invasion began, each of these militias had set up in its own territory a mini-State carved from the Lebanese state. Each was armed by Israel, but their degree of dependence and as a result their role differed. This was attested by many witnesses. [15]
It was established to the Commission’s satisfaction that whereas the Lebanese forces enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy, the ‘Army of Free Lebanon’ was strictly controlled by Israel. The latter force has increased in numbers since the invasion because, according to the evidence received, every village has had to supply a contingent of ‘volunteers’.[16] It has considerably extended its area of operations in the wake of the Israeli troops, and has been deployed as far as the River Awali, north of Sidon. On the heels of the invading army these Lebanese forces also penetrated areas which up till then had been closed to them, to the south of Beirut, where they re

Chapter 12: [The Principle of] Humanity

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Chapter 12

[The Principle of] Humanity

The Law
This principle of international law prohibits acts of violence which cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, and behaviour which contravenes minimal standards of humanity. The Preamble to the Hague Convention IV of 1907 contains the de Martens clause, which provides:

‘the inhabitants and the belligerents remain under the protection and the rule of the principles of the law of nations, as they result from the usages established among civilised peoples, from the laws of humanity, and the dictates of the public conscience.’

The substance of the de Martens clause was reaffirmed by the International Conference on Human rights in Teheran, 1968 (Resolution XXIII). The 1907 Convention declares that the means of warfare are not unlimited, and that those which cause unnecessary suffering are prohibited (Arts. 22 and 23(e)). These rules are substantially reaffirmed in Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions 1977, Article 35 (see below). The UN Convention on Excessively Injurious Weapons 1981 reiterates and applies these principles to specific weapons (eg Protocol II, Art 6(2), which prohibits booby-traps designed to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering).

Another as pect of the international legal principle of humanity in warfare is expressed in the prohibition against terrorising the population. The rule, stated in the Hague Rules of Aerial Warfare 1923 (Art. 22) and the ICRC Draft Rules 1956 (Art. 6), is expressed by the Institute ofInternational Law, Edinburgh, 1969, as follows (Art. 6):

‘Existing international law prohibits, irrespective of the type of weapon used, any action whatsoever designed to terrorise the civilian population.’

The prohibition has been recently reiterated in Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions 1977, Article 51(2) (see below).

The third aspect of the principle of humanity is designed to protect the civilian population by securing provision of supplies and objects necessary to its survival. For example, Geneva Convention IV (Civilians) 1949, Article 23:

‘Each High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores and objects necessary for religious worship intended only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the latter is its adversary. It shall likewise permit the free passage of all consignments of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers and maternity cases.’

This is subject to certain conditions designed to secure that the goods in question reach their destination.

These three aspects of the customary international law principle of humanity are expressed in the provisions of Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions 1977, Articles 35, 51 (2) and 54(1):

’35. 1. In any armed conflict, the right of the Parties to the conflict to choose methods or means of warfare is not unlimited.
2. It is prohibited to employ weapons, projectiles and material and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering.

51. 2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

54.  1. Starvation of civilians as a method of warfare is prohibited.’

The principles relating to weapons, blockade and terror bombardment will be examined separately as they relate to the conduct by the IDF of the war in Lebanon.

The Facts
The Commission received a great deal of evidence as to the nature of the wounds inflicted and suffering caused by weapons used by the IDF. In particular, the Commission was impressed by the relatively high ratio of wounded to dead casualties resulting from fragmentation weapons. The ratio in many instances reported to us and in the press was as high as 2: 1 or even 1: 1. The horrific nature of the wounds was also registered. One of many particularly graphic descriptions is given in the Philadelphia Inquirer of 30 June, 1982:

‘Mohammed (age 14) spied a shiny bit of metal. Amin (age 12) saw it too. He was close when Mohammed picked it up. Amin, 12, arrived at Gaza Hospital with a big hole in his stomach. A piece of the bomb has smashed through the bottom ribs on his left side. A lung collapsed. His stomach, colon and small intestines were hanging out of the wound.
Mohammed, 14, also was ripped open from the blast of the bomb, but the pieces that tore into him were smaller. He lost his spleen. His colon and stomach had to be sewn up. His left hand was amputated. His face all around his left cheek was burned and he can’t see much through his left eye. . . what blew up in their hands was a cluster bomb.’

A number of witnesses testified as to the impact on civilians of high velocity/high energy weapons.[90] Dr Troy Rusli, a surgeon from Norway, worked in the Lahout field hospital from 15 July to the end of August. He testified to the Commission that he had had 288 patients during this period. The amputation rate was 15-20%. The Commission was informed of a common operation needed following the massive bone damage caused by high velocity splinters: the ‘Begin’ amputation. In a press report, Ms Rosemary Willey, a 27-year-old nurse from England, was quoted as saying about the bombardment in early August: ‘For every 100 people who were brought in, 50 limbs required amputation. It was overwhelming.'[91] Details of the many amputations performed are registered in the reports of Derek’ and Pamela Cooper on their visits to hospitals during the shelling.
The effects on human beings of incendiary weapons were, if anything, more horrific. Ms Mary Jean Grove-Hills, a New Zealander nurse who worked in Lahout Hospital, testified to the Commission that the majority of burns in her section were flash burns and superficial. But there were those with third degree burns, which go below the top layer of skin and burn down into muscle. She testified that most of the third degree burns were relatively small and scattered about the body: legs, arms, chest. The doctors’ notes on some of these indicated phosphorus burns. The Commission visited a number of hospitals and saw patients with severe burn wounds. We have taken evidence from surgeons who treated burns which they stated unequivocally were caused by phosphorus: Dr Amal Shamaa of the Barbir Hospital and Dr Troy Rusli of the Lahout Hospital. These and other doctors are quoted as to the effect of phosphorus burns in a report in the International Herald Tribune of 21-22 August, 1982. The reporter, Loren Jenkins, describes the pitiful condition of the Aytawi family when a shell hit the underground garage where they were hiding. She describes the wounds as ‘distinctive and much harderto treat than ordinary burns, the doctors say, in part because phosphorus sticks to the skin and can burn for hours. It cannot be extinguished by water, which causes a chemical reaction that makes the wound burn more.’ Dr Rusli testified to the Commission of having to cut out the source of the phosphorus in order to stop the burning. A doctor with the Palestine Liberation Army, Dr Hattan Mustapha, trained in Damascus, testified to the Commission in Amman as to his treating of third degree phosphorus burns while his unit was in West Beirut: ‘It would hit a large part of the body and would go inside the deepest human body and the whole body would be transferred to black. Not red. The colour of the skin would be black, dark.’
The Commission is of the view that, on the evidence, the horrific extent and nature of these wounds and death inflicted by these weapons was unnecessary; and that there are limits which humanity places on the use of weapons causing human suffering of the types described. The Commission concludes that the use by the IDF of fragmentation weapons and phosphorus shells in the urban centres of civilian population of Lebanon violated the international legal principle of humanity in the conduct of war.

Terrorising the civilian population
The customary international law of war prohibits the terrorising of the civilian population. Both acts of violence and threats of violence are prohibited when their primary purpose is to spread terror among civilians (see eg Protocol I of 1977, Art. 51(2)). The law accepts that terror is the inevitable accompaniment to violence when civilians are affected. Provided the primary objective of an attack is a military one, however, incidental terror caused is not a violation. Two cases were brought to the Commission’s attention by the evidence.
First, it is the case that threats of violence which are intended to terrorise the civilian population are prohibited. Evidence was put before the Commission of IDF warnings to the civilian population of imminent or future attacks. A report in The Times reported that: ‘As part of the increased psychological warfare, the Israeli state radio has begun broadcasting messages in Arabic to the Palestinians and the estimated 2,300 Syrians still cornered in West Beirut, urging them to surrender and threatening an attack.'[92] This was accompanied by leaflets which, as one report put it: ‘warned, in bad but threatening Arabic, that the people should leave towards the east or north, as Israel had yet to use its full force against the Palestinian fighters. Men and women read the leaflets, then looked at one another and hurried home to pack.'[93]

The leaflets read:[94]

‘the IDF is continuing its war against the terrorists and has not used its full force yet. The IDF is concerned not to hurt innocent civilians and anyone who doesn’t fight against it.
Residents of Beirut, make use of the ceasefire and save your lives. You have the following exits: (a) through the IDF forces to the East on the Beirut-Damascus axis, (b) northward towards Tripoli.
Save your life and those of your beloved ones – The commander of the IDF.’

Another response to this leaflet is reported by John Bulloch in The Daily Telegraph of 28 June, 1982  ‘as the leaflets fluttered down. One of them quickly scanned one and said: “This is nonsense. We cannot go to Damascus, and we would be frightened to go to the Christian areas, even if we were allowed to do so. This is too cynical.” , Bulloch reports the content of another leaflet the following day as repeating in stronger terms the previous day’s message:[95]

‘Thousands of your brothers have taken the opportunity given them and have left Beirut and are now living in peace and safety. You who are still present in Beirut today: remember that time is running out. The later you leave it, the more you expose your life and the lives of your loved ones to danger .’

The Commission has evidence that the effect of such leaflets was often to cause confusion and terror.[96] Professor Kamal Salibi testified that the effect of these leaflets in Beirut was to frighten people out of their wits, particularly those not able to leave. The Commission is also aware that under international law the attacking party is obliged to give effective warning. [97] On balance, the Commission is unable to conclude, on the evidence of the leaflets, that the primary intent of the IDF was to terrorise the population into leaving, but, taken together with the following evidence of mock attacks, the evidence strongly suggests an intent to terrorise the civilian population.
There is evidence before the Commission that the IDF did undertake mock attacks on at least three occasions, which did have the effect of terrorising the civilian population. First, ‘late Wednesday night (30 June), low flying Israeli jets roared over Beirut, dropping flares and smoke canisters in a thunderous mock air raid that sent thousands of panicky inhabitants rushing to basements and bombshelters.'[98] The next night, 1 July, Israeli ‘planes again flew’over Beirut dropping flares and smoke canisters ‘which sent thousands scurrying for cover.'[99] According to one reporter, an Israeli colonel agreed that the purpose of this raid had been ‘psychological pressure on the people of Beirut.'[l00] The third reported series of mock attacks occurred on 14 July. This was described by Robert Fisk in The Times of 15 July, 1982: ‘Then, during the morning, Israeli fighter

Chapter 11: Discrimination [between combatants and civilians]

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Chapter 11


The Law
This principle of international law prohibits acts of violence which strike indiscriminately the civilian population or combatants and civilian objects or military objectives. The Hague Rules of Aerial Warfare 1923 go so far as to say that where military objectives are situated in the immediate neighbourhood of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings so ‘thatthey cannot be bombarded without the indiscriminate bombardment of the civilian population, the aircraft must abstain from bombardment’ (Article 24(3)). The ICRC Draft Rules of 1956 require of an attack ‘the greatest degree of precision. It must not cause losses or destruction beyond the immediate surroundings of the objective attacked’ (Art. 9). Article 10 provides generally: ‘It is forbidden to attack withoUt distinction, as a single objective, an area including several military objectives at a distance from one another where elements of the civilian population, or dwellings, are situated in between the said military objectives’. Article 14 deals with weapons with uncontrollable effects. The UN Convention on Excessively Injurious Weapons 1981 deals specifically with mines, booby-traps and other devices and prohibits their indiscriminate use, if it involvers ‘a method or means of delivery which cannot be directed at a specific military objective’ (Protocol II, Art. 3(3)). It also deals expressly with incendiary weapons (Protocol III, Article 2(3)):

‘It is further prohibited to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by means of incendiary weapons other than air-delivered incendiary weapons, except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken with a view to limiting the incendiary effects to the military objective and to avoiding, and in any event minimising, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.”

The Institute of International Law, Edinburgh, 1969, expressed the principle as follows (Articles 7 and 8):

7. Existing international law prohibits the use of all weapons which, by their nature, affect indiscriminately both military objectives and non

Chapter 10: Proportionality

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Chapter 10

The Law
The principle of international law which prohibits acts of violence which may be expected to cause casualties or damage disproportionate to the military advantage sought is enshrined in Articles 22 of the Hague Convention IV of 1907: ‘The right of belligerents to adopt means ofinjuring the enemy is not unlimited’ and 23(e) . . . it is especially forbidden – (e) to employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering’. It was refined in the context of the protection of civilians in the Hague Rules of Aerial Warfare 1923, Article 24(4): ‘In the immediate neighbourhood of the operations of land forces, the bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings is legitimate provided that there exists a reasonable presumption that the military concentration is sufficiently important to justify such bombardment, having regard to the danger thus caused to the civilian population.’ In the ICRC Draft Rules of 1956, Article 8(a) and (b) states:

‘The person responsible for ordering or launching an attack shall, first of all:
(a) . . . When the military advantage to be gained leaves the choice open between several objectives, he is required to select the one, an attack on which involves the least danger for the civilian population;
(b) take into account the loss and destruction which the attack, even if carried out with the precautions prescribed under Article 9, is liable to inflict upon the civilian population.
He is required to refrain from the attack if, after due consideration, it is apparent that the loss and destruction would be disproportionate to the military advantage anticipated.’

It was stated expressly in connection with weapons such as mines, booby

Chapter 9: Precautions in attack – Civilian objects and population

Israel in Lebanon

The Report of the International
Commission to enquire into reported
violations of International Law by
Israel during its invasion of the Lebanon

Chapter 9

Precautions in attack:  Civilian objects and population

The Law
In addition to requiring that attacks be directed only against military objectives and that civilian objects and population be spared, the international law of war imposes obligations relating to the taking of precautions in attack, with the object of preventing damage to or destruction of non-military objects and civilians.
For example, Hague Convention IV of 1907 requires: ‘The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities’ (Art. 26). In sieges and bombardments ‘all necessary steps must be taken to spare’ various civilian objectives, hospitals, monuments, cultural institutions, etc. (Art. 27). Similarly, Hague Convention IX on Naval Bombardment 1907 required commanders to take ‘all due measures in order that the town may suffer as little harm as possible (Art. 2); that again ‘all the necessary measures’ be taken to spare as far as possible various civilian objects (Art. 5); and ‘If the military situation permits, the commander of the attacking naval force, before commencing the bombardment, must do his utmost to warn the authorities’ (Art. 6).
The ICRC Draft Rules 1956 enjoin the ‘person responsible for ordering or launching an attack’ to make sure the objective is duly identified as military in nature; if there is a choice, to ‘select the one, an attack on which involves the least danger for the civilian population’; and ‘whenever the circumstances allow, warn the civilian population in jeopardy, to enable it to take shelter’ (Art. 8(a) & (c)). Article 9 requires that ‘all possible precautions shall be taken’ to mini mise civilian losses or damage. Article 11 requires the parties to ‘take all necessary steps’ to remove civilians subject to their control from the danger of exposure to attack, and Article 13 prohibits parties from placing or keeping civilians near military objectives so as to induce the enemy to refrain from attack.
ICRC Resolution of 1965 and the UN General Assembly Resolution 2444 of 1968 reiterate the injunction to spare the civilian population as much as possible. UN General Assembly Resolution 2675 of 1970 states that ‘every effort should be made’ and ‘all necessary precautions should be taken’ to avoid civilian loss or injury or damage (Art. 3).

In particular, with regard to hospitals, Geneva Convention IV (Civilians) 1949, provides (Art. 19):

‘The protection to which civilian hospitals are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases,a reasonable time limit, and after such warning has remained unheeded.’

With respect to weapons, UN Convention on Excessively Injurious Weapons 1981 requires, with regard to mines, booby traps and other devices and incendiary weapons, that ‘all feasible precautions’ be taken to protect civilians.
The principles and rules of conventional and customary international law are codified in Protocol I Additional to Geneva Conventions 1977:


1. In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.

2. With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:
(a) Those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:
(i) do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives within the meaning of para. 2 of Art. 52 and that it is not prohibited by the provisions of this Protocol to attack them;
(ii) take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimising, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects;
(iii) refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
(b) An attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
(c) Effective advance warning shall be given of attacks which may affect the civilian  population, unless circumstances do not permit.

3. When a choice is possible between several military objectives for obtaining a similar military advantage, the objectives to be selected shall be that the attack on which may be expected to cause the least danger to civilian lives and to civilian objects.

4. In the conduct of military operations at sea or in the air, each Party to the conflict shall, in conformity with its rights and duties under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, take all reasonable precautions to avoid losses of civilian lives and damage to civilian objects.

5. No provision of this Article may be construed as authorising any attacks against the civilian population, civilians or civilian objects.

The Facts
The Commission concludes above that the IDF attacked objectives which were in large part not military objectives, and that acts of violence were directed either intentionally or at best recklessly against civilian objects and population. Such a conclusion renders unnecessary a consideration of whether the precautions required by international law were taken by the IDF in those cases. But the Commission has received evidence of claims by the IDF and the Israeli political authorities that the IDF did deeply consider the question of the civilian population and ‘agreed not to shell and not to bomb built-up areas, unless it was absolutely crucial’.[41]

Intention and Carelessness
The general principle of customary international law, as expressed in Protocol I of 1977, is that ‘constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects’ (Art. 57(1)). The evidence before the Commission establishes that there was a massive amount of damage to built-up areas, and that, as a consequence, there were very large numbers of civilian casualties. The Commission concludes that the IDF violated this general principle of the international law of war. The evidence cited in this Report alone suffices to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that, as many witnesses put it in their testimony to us: even if the bombardment was not intentional, it is evident that the Israelis did not care whether they hit civilians or not, and to that extent the destruction and the casualties were inevitable.

Precautions in Bombardment
One aspect of the legal principle requiring precautions in attack is that those who plan or decide upon an attack should do everything feasible to:

(1) verify that the objective is a military one;
(2) avoid civilian casualties and damage;
(3) refrain from attacks which may cause civilian damage or casualties disproportionate to the military advantage anticipated. (see Protocol I of 1977, Art. 57(2)(a))

The Commission has been presented with overwhelming evidence that there was extensive bombardment causing civilian casualties and damage. Prima facie, this indicates a violation by the IDF of its obligations as listed above. The IDF spokesmen and Israeli political leaders frequently insisted that only military targets were aimed at. For example, a broadcast on IDF radio of 6 September, 1982 claimed that buildings were hit mainly in the southern part of West Beirut, in the area of the (Palestinian) camps. Only 40 buildings in the northern part of West Beirut were said to have suffered hits. The targets bombed and shelled were said to have been identified as ‘terrorist’ headquarters or bases. Similarly, claims were made as to the accuracy ofIDF bombardment. For example, Mr Moshe Yegar, Assistant Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying: ‘It is accepted, I think, that our Air Force is very accurate.'[42]
The dilemma that results was stated by a Lebanese health official in a report in The Sunday Times: ‘If attacking civilian sites is the Israelis’ intent, then their public statements about going only for military targets are lies. If it is not intentional, then their claims of accuracy are grossly over-rated. They cannot have it both ways.'[43] This was a sentiment expressed to the Commission on many occasions by witnesses who testified in Lebanon.
The obligation to do everything feasible to verify that the objective is a military one requires that target intelligence be of the highest possible quality in the circumstances prevailing. Only if target information is gathered, evaluated and utilised effectively may the attack be both militarily successful and comply with the legal obligation of taking precautions in attack. The questions that arise in the wake of the IDF operations were posed by the Defence Correspondent of the Jerusalem Post, Mr Hirsh Goodman:[44]

‘The battle for Beirut and the application of Israeli air power to that battle will become a compulsory subject for military historians. The strikes were relentless, the aircraft used ultra-sophisticated, the ordnance dropped highly destructive, the delivery systems the most modern in the world. Yet the 11,000-13,000 terrorists and Syrians under siege in the city managed both to survive and to retaliate.    .
Why, then, was the air force used so extensively, especially given the diplomatic considerations and the human suffering caused by urban aerial bombardment?
The air force was necessary to help bring the terrorists to agree to leave the city; but why was it used after they had agreed to do so? Sharon has claimed that the goal was to strike at the PLO leadership; but not a single leader of known position or name was killed. There was a rumour that Abu Iyad, Arafat’s deputy, was injured in one strike, but the rumourwas quashed when he made a public appearance a few days later.
If killing off some key PLO leaders was an important enough goal to risk jeopardising the agreement and plummet Israeli-American relations to breaking-point, why did the defence minister wait until the end of the war to achieve that goal? And why through an almost indiscriminate use of force which left hundreds of casualties among civilians but none of any real significance among the terrorists?’

The Commission’s view is that, in the light of the evidence it has received, the answer to the questions posed lies in the violation by the IDF and its political masters of the principles of international law. They did not care to verify that objectives were military ones; they did not care to avoid civilian casualties or damage; and they did not care to refrain from attacks which caused civilian damage or casualties disproportionate to any military advantage anticipated.

Precautions in Strategy
The military objectives of the IDF from the inception of the operation code

Truth – Justice – Peace