Guardian Group editors fail to correct false claim on Sabra and Shatila massacre

We’ve been in communication with editors at The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) regarding a false claim (about the massacre of Palestinian civilians in 1982 by Christian Phalangists), by their foreign affairs editor, Peter Beaumont, in a Jan. 11 report titled ‘Ariel Sharon: a warrior blamed for massacres and praised for peace making‘.

Here are the relevant passages in Beaumont’s report:

It was during this period [the Lebanon War in 1982] he was found by the Kahan commission – investigating the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut, when Israeli forces allowed Christian Phalangist militiamen into two refugee camps in Beirut to slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees – to have been personally negligent in the killings “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge [and] not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed”.

The average reader would likely take this to mean that Israeli forces sent Phalangist militiamen with the intent of “slaughtering” Palestinian refugees. However, the Israeli fact-finding mission on the massacre (Kahan Commission) that Beaumont cited was clear – in an over 51,000 word document – that there was no evidence of such an Israeli intent. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The commission found, per the highlighted passages below, that there was no intention by any Israelis to harm the non-combatant population in the Palestinian camps.

Here are a few of the relevant passages from the report:

Contentions and accusations were advanced that even if I.D.F. personnel had not shed the blood of the massacred, the entry of the Phalangists into the camps had been carried out with the prior knowledge that a massacre would be perpetrated there and with the intention that this should indeed take place; and therefore all those who had enabled the entry of the Phalangists into the camps should be regarded as accomplices to the acts of slaughter and sharing in direct responsibility. These accusations too are unfounded. We have no doubt that no conspiracy or plot was entered into between anyone from the Israeli political echelon or from the military echelon in the I.D.F. and the Phalangists, with the aim of perpetrating atrocities in the camps…. No intention existed on the part of any Israeli element to harm the non-combatant population in the camps. … Before they entered the camps and also afterward, the Phalangists requested I .D.F. support in the form of artillery fire and tanks, but this request was rejected by the Chief of Staff in order to prevent injuries to civilians. It is true that I.D.F. tank fire was directed at sources of fire within the camps, but this was in reaction to fire directed at the I.D.F. from inside the camps. We assert that in having the Phalangists enter the camps, no intention existed on the part of anyone who acted on behalf of Israel to harm the non-combatant population, and that the events that followed did not have the concurrence or assent of anyone from the political or civilian echelon who was active regarding the Phalangists’ entry into the camps.

The report further explains IDF instructions to the Phalangist militia prior to the operation to root out terrorists from the camps.

The commanders of the Phalangists arrived for their first coordinating session regarding the entry of their forces into the camps at about 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, 16.9.82, and met with Major-General Drori at the headquarters of one of the divisions. It was agreed at that meeting that they would enter the camps and coordinate this action with Brigadier-General Yaron, commander of the division. This coordination between Brigadier-General Yaron and the Phalangist commanders would take place on Thursday afternoon at the forward command post. It was likewise agreed at that meeting that a company of 150 fighters from the Phalangist force would enter the camps and that they would do so from south to north and from west to east. Brigadier-General Yaron spoke with the Phalangists about the places where the terrorists were located in the camps and also warned them not to harm the civilian population.

If Beaumont had decided to read the report he cited, he would have noted the egregious distortion in his claim that “Israeli forces allowed Christian Phalangist militiamen into two refugee camps in Beirut to slaughter hundreds of Palestinian refugees.”

We’re continuing to press editors at The Observer to revise the passage to more accurately reflect the findings of the Kahan Commission, and will update you when we receive a definitive response.

In the meantime, you can Tweet Peter Beaumont and ask him to address the error.


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42 replies »

  1. “massacre (Kahan Commission) – in an over 51,000 word document – that there was no evidence of such an Israeli intent ”

    We are discussing a stupid piece of reporting by the Observer meanwhile a hundred or so women and children died somehow on Sharons watch.This is how you turn a massacre into a moral victory.

    • Oh FFS, Webby. Nobody is seeking to turn the deaths of civilians into a “moral victory” merely to turn an inaccurate and misleading statement into an accurate and true one. What is your problem?

      • For berchmans falsely accusing the IDF with aiding and abetting mass murder is “a stupid piece of reporting” I’m not surprised.
        There is a new initiative in Europe to retry some of the original blood-libel trials acquitting the burn Jews and declaring them innocent. I can see berchmans indignation posting that “we are discussing here some stupid mistake of the judge meanwhile children have been murdered”.

      • “nobody is seeking to turn the deaths of civilians into a “moral victory”

        And yet here we are condemning the Observer when it was not the Observer that had control of an astonishingly powerful force that could have saved them . It was not the Observer that chastised Sharon and said he should never hold ministerial office again.

        • I notice once again Berchmans, that you are the first to comment here. Do you sit with your finger on the button waiting for a new CiFWatch post to be displayed????

          • I still keep Postie hours I guess and am first up.I dont like being first as you get no flavour of what people think and you could make an idiot of yourself. I notice this doesnt trouble you ! 🙂

            • “..make an idiot of yourself. I notice this doesnt trouble you”

              Why should it trouble anyone Berchmans you making an idiot of yourself. You do it so well and so often.

                • Tu quoque is a measure of the seriousness of the argument of a poster ..not to mention an intellectual giveaway . It should really be rejected from a smart 8 year olds tool kit alongside calling someone ” jobby drawers” despite the fact that some here would disagree.

                • Clearly Berchmans your knowledge of Latin is as sadly lacking as your knowledge on every other subject.

                • Gerald

                  ” your knowledge of Latin is as sadly lacking as your knowledge on every other subject.”

                  Yes well your knowledge on every subject is lacking as well so nyahh nyahh nyahh ( Now thats what I call Tu Quoque)

                • “Now thats what I call Tu Quoque”

                  Berchmans why would I care what you call anything?
                  At best you are ignorant, but more often deliberately lying.

                  Now back in your box you Racist weasel you’re boring me again.

                • Antisemite, what exactly is your problem, besides being obsessed of posting at a Jewish website? Maybe some social work would help.

                • Fritz Wunderlich

                  ” posting at a Jewish website?”

                  So is it Jews only ..? Not supremicist tho ?


                  “At best you are ignorant, but more often deliberately lying.”

                  I resent this.. I am no liar ! 🙂

        • It was not the Observer that chastised Sharon and said he should never hold ministerial office again.
          It was the Observer who published vile lies about Sharon., and it was an objective investigative commission who recommended Sharon dis-mission as defense minister. (nobody said that he should never hold ministerial position – this is only in your sick imagination). That you don’t know the difference between a libel and an objective investigation is only natural.

      • So correcting outright lies is somehow a ‘moral victory; – only people that have no morals at all would state that.

        Israel had nothing to do with it – but racist like you hate both Arabs as well as Jews. I say this because if you cared for the Arabs you would hold them them accountable for their terrorism against their own people – but you never do

    • And why is Sharon responsible for the death of these woman and children? Because he was so naive thinking that Arabs wouldn’t slaughter the women and children of their fellow Arabs? Sharon’s watch? Not Hobeika’s watch?
      How many women and children died on Kofi Anan’s watch in Rwanda and in Srebrenica? Have you ever heard of the name of the CO? The Holland defense minister? The head of UNPROFOR? Naturally you haven’t. (clue: they were not Israelis).The members and commander of the same Holland army unit whose task was to protect them but after some happy pints of beer with the murderers left the place got medals for their bravery from their government. No Kahane-comission, no demonstrations, no “indirect responsibility”, no Observer articles and no whinings of berchmans the mild mannered socialist turd. Only medals.

  2. In the meantime – and this is a genuine question – I would like to know if anyone ever assessed how many of the hundreds of Palestinians who died in Sabra and Shatila were active PLO militants?

    I do not attempt to minimise the tragedy, because clearly civilians were killed, or to excuse the Phalangists’ actions, I simply want to know.

  3. Every time that Israel gets blamed for Sabra and Shatilla I am reminded of the horrors of the completely razed and destroyed Palestinian camp at Nahr El Bared where the Lebanese Army left not a building standing.

    Where are the tears shed, where is the blame levelled at the army command, at Sinoura, at someone who could have done something?

    Twelve such camps were destroyed by the Lebanese Army but nobody seems to remember or to care.

    Israelis weren’t involved. Israelis couldn’t be blamed. So who gives a damn?

    • There’s not much similarity in my opinion, Margie.
      If you want better example try what happened on the first Intifada in Egyptian controlled Rafah.
      1 Egyptian armorred vehicle came in.
      Opened fire on the stone throwing crowd killing a few instantly.
      Not one stone threw afterwards.
      Not one report.
      They focused on the Israeli side of the strip and how some kids lost their eye sight because we shot rubber bullets while they lobbed molotov cocktails and burnt our troops.

      It is obvious why they still attack us while the other side of the fence is calm.
      It’s only now that is starting to get nasty because of the Islamists raising their heads after the Dictator’s collapse of Saddam – Gaddafi – Mubarak…

  4. I agree with the Hungarian Kahann Report was a piece of anti-semitic shite – Margie, I understand is an active campaigner for allowing the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to be allowed to return to their homes in Palestine. Do we live in a make believe world at cifwatch? Who is watching the Israel Times, Jerusalem Post and Haaretz even these papers are infected by the anti-semitic tendencies of the Guardianistas.

  5. Kahann report
    Following a four-month investigation, on 8 February 1983, the Kahan Commission submitted its report, which was released to the public by spokesman Bezalel Gordon simultaneously in Hebrew and English. It concluded that direct responsibility rested with the Gemayel Phalangists led by Fadi Frem, and that no Israelis were deemed directly responsible, although Israel was held to be indirectly responsible.
    The decision on the entry of the Phalangists into the refugee camps was taken without consideration of the danger – which the makers and executors of the decision were obligated to foresee as probable – the Phalangists would commit massacres and pogroms against the inhabitants of the camps, and without an examination of the means for preventing this danger.
    Similarly, it is clear from the course of events that when the reports began to arrive about the actions of the Phalangists in the camps, no proper heed was taken of these reports, the correct conclusions were not drawn from them, and no energetic and immediate action were taken to restrain the Phalangists and put a stop to their actions.
    The Defence minister Ariel Sharon was found to bear personal responsibility[1] “for ignoring the danger of bloodshed and revenge” and “not taking appropriate measures to prevent bloodshed”. Sharon’s negligence in protecting the civilian population of Beirut, which had come under Israeli control, amounted to a non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defence Minister was charged, and it was recommended that Sharon be dismissed as Defence Minister

  6. Fritz WunderlichAntisemite, what exactly is your problem, besides being obsessed of posting at a Jewish website? Maybe some social work would help.

    The site is dedicated to exposing The Guardian’s misrepresentations relating to Israel and their hosting of clearly anti Semitic commenters of whom Titterton is one of many. (Long dead Hermine being another). I was not aware that it is a ‘Jewish website’. Defending Israel against the misrepresentations and outright lies of the extreme radical left and their Islamist allies, doesn’t confirm Jewishness. At least, I think that it doesn’t.

    But yes. Titterton is obviously obsessed with posting on CiFWatch. I suspect, not because it is a Jewish site or not, but because he is obsessed negatively with Israel. A dire sickness of the extreme radical left and their Islamist allies.

    Anyone know why The Guardian has obviously blocked Titterton from commenting on CiF???

    • Just ask me. I flipped completely when they supported the attack on Syria, following Libya and Iraq and told them they were a bunch of middle class war mongering wankers! I was suspended, then moderated then banned I guess I have never tried to go back since .

      I know you think its about Jewishness I am sorry you have a stunted and feeble grasp of my posts .But I cannot continue I must leave 2nd week of Feb…so you will be out of your misery soon and can get back to congratulating each other after every IDF strike.

      • Webbsite:

        “so you will be out of your misery soon and can get back to congratulating each other after every IDF strike.”

        Screw you.

      • Berchmans you portray yourself as a ‘martyr’ to political principle.
        But then you also portray yourself as a humourist, a pacifist, a scientist, a writer, a nationalist and a socialist. As you have completely failed to show any evidence supporting any of these claims, it is safe to assume that the only place you are these things is in your own fantasy world.

        Get well soon Berchmans, that is if it is possible to cure yourself of your own personality if not why not try a clinic in Switzerland.
        Then humanity will be out of its misery and the world will be a better place without you Berchmans a lying, boring Racist weasel who lives in a fantasy world.

        Fly, fly little Tit.

        • “a lying, boring Racist weasel who lives in a fantasy world.”

          I really resent that.I am not a Racist ! I cracked at joke about the Americans I mean Good Lord they are like walking straight men I couldnt resist it! 🙂

          • “I am not a Racist.”
            The prisons of the UK are full of those who claim innocence.

            “I cracked at joke about the Americans……. I couldnt resist it”
            Another well worn excuse used by racists and other criminals. Your next will probably be “They were asking for it.”

            But I will amend my description of you to make it even more accurate.
            You are a lying, boring, sick Racist weasel.

            Fly, fly little Tit.

            • “your next will probably be “They were asking for it.”

              Americans have got to love them .Some of those here are like Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke”…they keep coming at you ..even though..they have nothing at all in their hand..not even a high card.

    • I didn`t write it is a website for Jews. The site is maintained by Jews, so what?
      Anyway,it was a polemical argument. Antisemites are obsessed by their imagination of Jews, whether represented by Rothschild or the Elders, whether by Israel or the Zionist lobby. And Paul Antisemite Titterton is not only obsessed by Israel, but by the ‘Zionist lobby’ and the Neocons with Jewish background, too, a sort of variation of the Elders/Rothschild theme.

  7. The groaniad is demonstrably disinterested in the truth.

    PS It has flogged its Autotrader shares,worth 600 million pounds,presumably fully tax deductable,not off shore tax avoidable like its previous dealings.
    Should keep the favourite hate rag of the progs afloat for a while.