Sabra and Shatila: A Haunting Microcosm of Continuing Systemic Violence

It’s been thirty-six years since the 16th of September 1982, when over 1,300 Palestinian civilians were massacred at Israel’s command by the Lebanese Christian Phalange militia at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, south of the capital city Beirut. The untold horrors of the massacre have since become a national Palestinian emblem of collective memory, commemorated year after year across historic Palestine and the diaspora.

However, while most commemorations simply celebrate or mourn an event of the past, Sabra and Shatila remain an omnibus presence in Palestinian life. In fact, horrors of this extent have been seen before and after 1982: Deir Yassin in 1948, Shuja’iyya and Khuza’a in 2014 are exemplary. It is neither the extent of damage, time and place, nor the count of casualties that bring these events together. Rather, a systematic use of violence aimed at displacing not only the physical presence of Palestinians, but also their collective memory of, and yearning for, a homeland through the repeated infliction of violence over an extended period of time.

For our September Special Focus – Sabra and Shatila: A Haunting Microcosm of Continuing Systemic Violence, we are highlighting a collection of articles* on the massacre, Israeli tactical use of policy and law to inflict violence, and the broad implications of such experiences on Palestinian memory and present predicaments.

*These articles will only be available for the duration of this month, September 2016. You can purchase a subscription for the Journal of Palestine Studies here.

In Memoriam: Sabra and Shatila 1982-1987
Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Summer, 1987), p. 2

The Sabra and Shatila Massacres: Eye-Witness Reports
Author: Leila Shahid

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Autumn, 2002), pp. 36-58

Sabra and Shatila 1982: Resisting the Massacre
Author: Zakaria al-Shaikh

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 57-90

“Inside and Outside the Hospital, People were Screaming: ”Haddad, Kataeb, Israel-Massacre'”
Ellen Siegel, Lynne Barbee 

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Winter, 1983), pp. 61-71

Memories of Home and Stories of Displacement: The Women of Artas and the ““Peasant Past”
Falestin Naïïli

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Summer, 2009),  pp. 63-74

Violence’s Law: Israel’s Campaign to Transform International Legal Norms
George E. Bisharat

Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Spring, 2013), pp. 68-84

Normalcy and Violence: The Yearning for the Ordinary in Discourse of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Salim Tamari
Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 42, No. 4 (Summer, 2013), pp. 48-60

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