Thursday, September 16, 1982

Military Action:

IDF seizes control of most of West Beirut, overcoming resistance by small groups of LNM militia; Israelis tell residents to turn in weapons, claim IDF role is limited; brief fighting west of port; IDF shells headquarters of Murabitun; by 11:30 AM, IDFannounces it controls all key points in West Beirut, completely encircles Sabra, Shatila and Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camps; random killings of civilians by Phalange using knives and sniper fire reported during morning; after 2 meetings of Phalange commanders with Drori, Phalange militia sets up command post near Shatila camp entrance, across street from IDF observation post looking down into camp; Phalange militia assembles by foot and truck, enter Sabra and Shatila camps and begin house-to-house searches; IDF illuminates camps with flares fired by Israeli mortars, aircraft; Phalange commanders in radio contact with IDF officers during operation; IDF rations provided; isolated gunmen break into homes, kill whole families, some civilians axed to death; in evening, IDF soldiers meet hysterical Palestinian women running from camps telling of massacre, relay reports to IDF officers; Gaza Hospital staff report steadily increasing gunfire, explosions; Phalange commander at Shatila tells IDF at 11 PM "Until now, 300 civilians and terrorists killed," report sent to IDF HQin Tel Aviv, circulated among 20 top officers.


48 Murabitun militiamen killed in 2 days; Bank of Lebanon catches fire during IDF shelling; IDF tanks crush cars; residents seek shelter in basements to escape shelling; glass and tree limbs litter area of fighting; IDF soldiers question, detain civilians; by noon, Gaza Hospital reports 100 casualties, by evening, over 2,000 Palestinians and Lebanese jam corridors seeking to escape Phalange/ Haddad militias and report whole families being butchered.

Political Responses:

Israel/ Occupied Territories: Israeli Cabinet, at late night meeting, rejects renewed US call for withdrawal from West Beirut, says it will remain until Lebanese Army can ensure order in the wake of Gemayel's death; Sharon and Eitan win approval without dissent for IDF entry into West Beirut, use of Phalange forces in camps despite some Ministers' reservations and Eitan warning that entry may lead to "blood vengeance" by Phalange; Sharon tells Draper IDF will remain; Peres criticizes IDF entry into West Beirut, calls for redeployment of multinational force.

Palestinians/ Lebanese: Phalange Party nominates Amin Gemayel (Member of Parliament and brother of Bashir) as new presidential candidate 7 days before end of Sarkis' term; Sarkis and Wazzan ask Reagan to persuade IDF to withdraw; Lebanon calls on UN Security Council to condemn IDF attacks; 4 LNM leaders meet with IDF officers at a former PSP (jumblatt) headquarters to consider non-resistance but reject it; Wazzan says he ordered Lebanese Army to resist IDF advance but it disobeyed; Arafat demands 3 nations return peacekeeping forces to Beirut to protect civilians, including refugees; PLO Research Center ransacked and looted by IDF.

US and Other Countries: US calls Israeli action a "violation," demands immediate pullout (one official says US credibility in Arab world at stake, may undermine Reagan initiative); Italians support return of peacekeeping forces to Beirut; Italian Jews protest Arafat-Pope visit in Rome.

UN: Security Council meets to condemn Israeli occupation of Beirut.