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BBC to Expose Sharon's War Crimes

category national | miscellaneous | news report author Friday July 26, 2002 23:31author by Brian Whitaker Report this post to the editors

Israel is furious at BBC for Sharon Expose Brian Whitaker in Jerusalem and Vikram Dodd The Guardian http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,507151,00.html Israeli officials attacked the BBC yesterday for a Panorama programme which concludes that the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, could be tried for war crimes in connection with the massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon in 1982.
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Israel army radio said efforts were being made to prevent the programme being broadcast on Sunday, or to include an Israeli reply in it.

After Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, its forces, under Mr Sharon's command as defence minister, allowed Lebanese Christian allies to enter the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

More than 1,000 Palestinians were massacred by the Phalangist militias.

But the Israeli justice minister, Meir Sheetrit, said the programme made by Fergal Keane, The Accused, was proof of the BBC's consistently "anti-Israel" and "pro-Palestinian" bias.

Gideon Meir, the Israeli foreign ministry's deputy director of communications, said: "The programme is a scandal. It's a systematic decision of theirs [the BBC] that is entirely against Israel. There's no doubt we'll have to consider our path towards the BBC."

A BBC spokeswoman said it deplored the Israeli threats and stood by the programme.

Panorama interviewed Mr Sharon's foreign press adviser, Raanan Gissin, for the programme, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said: "It was not done in a bona fide, fair or professional way...

"They wrote a letter saying the programme was about Sabra and Shatila in the light of humanitarian law, but didn't mention war crimes.

"I'm 100% sure that if Gissin had known, he would not have given the interview.

"Somebody is manipulating the BBC by raising this specific subject. It's a public trial of the prime minister - the whole idea looks to us unfair."

He said Mr Meir's remarks did not threaten reprisals against the BBC as a whole. "We have constant dialogue with the BBC. We're speaking about Panorama and the fact that BBC1 is going to host it."

In London, the Israel press attache, David Schneeweiss, said: "We've been in touch with the BBC at all levels to find out what the programme's about. One has to question why they are focusing on old news. These events happened 20 years ago."

Mr Sharon resigned as defiance minister in 1983 after an Israeli commission of inquiry criticized him for his role in the massacres.

It found that he had failed to carry out his duty by disregarding the risk that Phalangists would carry out acts of vengeance when he decided to let them enter the camps, and by "not ordering appropriate measures" to reduce the danger of a massacre.

It is believed that the programme does not reveal any new facts about responsibility for the atrocity, but shows interviews with legal experts who conclude that Mr Sharon could be indicted for war crimes for his role in it.

In a statement, the BBC said: "This week's Panorama is a legitimate analysis of a human rights issue. It looks at the question of ultimate legal responsibility for the massacres... at a time when Ariel Sharon was defence minister.

"Panorama asked Prime Minister Sharon for an interview about the issues raised, and that offer still stands. The programme contains a contribution from Raanan Gissin, who was made fully aware of the issues which would feature in the programme."

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author by Professor M. Kahlpublication date Fri Jul 26, 2002 23:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The release in Lebanon's Daily Star June 26, 2001 reveals that former MP Elias Hobeika, the commander of the Phalange militia forces in Sabra and Chatilla, who carried out the killings [at Sabra & Chatilla] will not be questioned nor face prosecution, according to a source at the military court. Coming shortly after Lebanese sources revealed the existence of numerous witnesses ready to testify as to the true cause of the killings as instigated by Syria through their stooge Elias Hobeika, this can only be accepted as verification of the charges leveled against Syria and Hobeika by the Lebanon Foundation for Peace. It also highlights the Syrian domination of Lebanon by their secret service in Beirut, headed up by Syrian Brigadier General Ghazy Khanon - who directed the courts not to question Hobeika.

Numerous eyewitnesses and Hobeika's closest confidante and bodyguard Cobra (Robert Hatem) have revealed a systematic series of events fomented by Syria in order to discredit Ariel Sharon. Cobra authored a book called "From Israel to Damascus" [copyright 1999] that describes Hobeika's culpability in the Sabra and Chatilla killings and much more. Hobeika went into a rage over the book and led a campaign of intimidation and threats against anyone who used the information. For example, Paris AFP reported in August, 1999:

Karam, director of the Arabic-language magazine al-Hawadess and the French-language Revue du Liban, is being sued along with publisher Said Nasreddin, for having published an interview with Robert Hatem, former body guard of one-time minister Elias Hobeika, who wrote a book about the pro-Syrian politician which has been banned in Lebanon. RSF said two other journalists, Paul Salem and Jamal Mroue, respectively owner and publisher of the monthly Lebanon Report, were also being sued for publishing extracts of Hatem's book "From Israel to Damascus."
Again in July 1999, Lebanon's Daily Star wrote:

The magazines, Le Revue du Liban and al-Hawadeth, allegedly ran interviews with Robert Hatem, author of an unauthorized biography on Baabda MP Elias Hobeika, "From Israel to Damascus," which has been banned locally. Hobeika this week also filed suit against Karam in the case. The Lebanon Report's Paul Salem and Jamil K. Mroue have been charged by Beirut Public Prosecutor Abdullah Bitar, reportedly acting upon a request from Information Minister Anwar Khalil, for running information connected to the book.
Lebanon's al-Manar Television [a voice for HizbAllah] broadcast on December 1998:

WARLORDS MAKE WAY FOR TECHNOCRATS
Gone are figures such as Electricity Minister Elias Hobeika, best known internationally for accusations that he supervised the 1982 massacre by Christian militia of hundreds of Palestinians in Beirut's Sabra and Chatila refugee camps.
An unprofessional BBC, ill prepared, ill informed, and ill advised, did not interview nor attempt to meet any of the in-exile Lebanese numerous eyewitnesses to Sabra and Chatilla, yet released a series of unfounded charges without any foundation in fact nor did they address as a breech of human rights the massacres to which the Christians of Lebanon were subjected to by the minions of Yasir Arafat. A Lebanese eye witness Nagi N. Najjar, Director of the Lebanon Foundation for Peace, said: It is the PLO, and all the Palestinians armed gangs that started the killings in Lebanon, establishing roadblocks, killing Christians during confession in Beirut, raping young girls in the fallen Christian town of Damour, Beirut and Mount Lebanon. Where was the Belgium Court then? Why was the BBC not covering Arafat and his murderers slaughtering Lebanon, Christian women and children? The entire book "From Israel to Damascus" is also available on any computer connected to the internet and at no charge. It can be reached at: http://www.israeltodamascus.com

Was this information well known and how hard would it have been for the BBC to uncover the misdeeds of Yasir Arafat, Syria, and Hobeika? Based on Mr. Najjar's open letter to Human Rights Watch, a few days ago, this email arrived [excerpt]:

X-Sender: amayreh@mail.p-ol.com
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 23:47:31 +0200
To: najjar@free-lebanon.com
Subject: from Khalid Amayreh
Dear Mr. Najjar:
My name is Khalid Amayreh, I'm a Palestinian journalist based in Jerusalem. I've read your letter to Mr. Megaly of the Human Rights Watch on the subject of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres.
I agree with you that Yaser Arafat and his PLO committed atrocities against Christians (and nonChristians) in Lebanon. That was terrible, indeed, and Arafat is not Mahatma Ghandi.
Mr. Amayreh goes on to argue that this should be an ethical issue and all parties involved should be brought to trial. Nevertheless, this is after the fact as the BBC made it a political issue and Lebanon's Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, is considering a law suit without Elias Hobeika's presence, hardly a fair trial.

Hobeika has a long and sordid past, including old links with the Israeli Mossad that he tried a few years ago to reactivate. Western intelligence sources revealed to a private agency that Hobeika as "Electrical Minister and in Charge of Hydraulic Resources" passed on information to Israel concerning the electrical targets bombed by Israel last year; however, he was no longer trusted by Israel and they cut off all contacts with him as they felt that Hobeika's information was planned between Hobeika and the Syrian Secret Service. Again, this year when the Sabra and Chatilla affair broke, Hobeika contacted Israel and again attempted to reestablish communications, as he knew he would be the prime target in any in depth investigation. No longer trusted, Israel severed all contact with Hobeika, leaving him with his Syrian overlords who also know of his triple agent activities.

Why the BBC printed information derived from a traitor, a known murderer, and ignored Christian witnesses who were directly involved is a question to be answered by the BBC. How was Elias Hobeika described in the BBC interview?: "KEANE: But the man accused of leading the slaughter is still living in East Beirut. His name is Elias Hobeika. Hobeika eventually switched sides, abandoning the Israelis, offering his services to the Syrians and becoming leader of the militia. Elie Hobeika's reputation as a ruthless killer makes him a man still feared in Beirut."

Is Hobeika even capable of truthfulness? Here is a statement from Hobeika to me September 17, 2000 regarding the Sabra and Chatilla episode: hobeika@attglobal.net wrote in message: "I don't know what REALLY happened here, ..."

Hobeika has a long and sordid record reaching back many years and has made a number of enemies, powerful enemies that hate him. HizbAllah, for example, is angry at Hobeika for his part in the killing of Shiites over a number of years. This animosity publicly surfaced in August, 2000 when the Tehran Iran Daily reported:

Al-Watan Al-Arabi, a Paris-based weekly, reported that the Lebanese Phalangist murdered four Iranian diplomats who were kidnapped in north Beirut in 1982. The Phalangists were allied to the Zionist regime. It quoted Robierre Hatam as saying that Elie Hobeika, a former Phalangist commandeer and presently a Lebanese MP, ordered the murder of the Iranian diplomats and an IRNA correspondent after taking them into custody.
Again in September, 2000 the friction with Iran and HizbAllah surfaced when the Lebanese Daily Star revealed:

[Secretary General of HizbAllah] Nasrallah also commented on last Sunday's polls, saying that Hizbullah had kept its promise to vote for allies outside the party. "In Baabda, we gave our votes to those who were promised them," he said, referring to the defeat of MP Elie Hobeika, who failed to secure support from Hizbullah's cadres. He shrugged off criticism that the Baalbek-Hermel candidate ticket backed by Hizbullah constituted a "bus" that would roll over its competition merely for the sake of winning seats. "It's not a bus, but a political alliance that will fulfil its political and development-related responsibilities," he said.
Elie Hobeika lost the election, is afraid of HizbAllah, and this is a major reason he has attempted to reestablish contacts with his old contacts in Israel. Hobeika understands that his days are numbered and is seeking alternatives to his Syrian masters.

Now that Lebanon is preparing to try Ariel Sharon as a war criminal, we must ask how did Lebanon and Syria react to Elias Hobeika whose primary role in directing the killings is well documented, the BBC transcript says: "KEANE: The legacy of Sabra and Shatila hasn't damaged the careers of the central characters. Elie Hobeika became a minister for refugees in post war Lebanon."

Unusual questions were asked in the BBC program that raised questions that were never pursued and effectively ignored: "NABIL AHMED: The impression of Phalangists was like they're basically killers. The minute they would get hold of a Palestinian they would kill." "McCULLIN: People who committed the acts of murder that I saw that day were wearing crucifixions and were calling themselves Christians."

The BBC program presents the Christian Philangists as unbridled killers on a murder spree and for no apparent reason. Again the most obvious facet of any murder was ignored by the BBC and that is motivation, instead they leave the observers struggling with a presentation that displays Christians as irrational killers, yet enigmatically a group that focused exclusively on Palestinians. The Palestinians are presented as a passive group of innocent victims who are targeted for no known reason as if they were in Disney World and attacked by a group of Christian serial killers. One must now assume there were no reasons for King Hussein killing ten thousand Palestinians while driving them out of Jordan in September 1970, or why Kuwait hates them as much as they do, or why Libya has driven out so many, stranding them in the desert. or why a Muslim controlled Lebanon today also wants them out of the country. Even the Syrians butchered hundreds of them in northern Lebanon and forced them to leave by ship to Tunis. And, of course, Israel's struggles with a murderous PLO replete with suicide bombers who target all civilians to make a political point.

Mr. Najjar graphically displays evidence and willing eyewitnesses to the fact that the Palestinians betrayed their host nation and under the direct orders of Yasir Arafat committed atrocities against their Christian hosts and in return for a hospitable welcome when they were driven out of other countries. The Christians reacted under the incitement of Syrian operative [unknown in 1982] Elias Hobeika and with the resultant killings. It required years until the Lebanese Forces discovered Hobeika's deep link with Syria and severed relationships by means of a bloody military coup that resulted in Christian community 500 dead and over 2,000 wounded. This military coup was known as the "Operation of January 15, 1986," where Samir Geagea threw out Hobeika from the Christian areas resulting in Hobeika seeking refuge in Syria. After entering Syria, Hobeika was used by the Syrian Secret Service into operations involving assassinations and car bombs against the Christian community until Syria returned Hobeika to Beirut with the position of minister in the Lebanese cabinet after the fall of the military government of General Michel Aoun October 13, 1990.

The only possible conclusion is that blame must be placed on Yasir Arafat and Syria, for provoking these events.

Massacres and Crimes Committed by the PLO and Syrians in Lebanon Between 1975 and 1990.

1. SEPTEMBER 10, 1975 The Christian village of Deir Ashash in the north of Lebanon was attacked. Elderly priests were slaughtered and all the people were forced to leave their homes. Syrian responsibility

2. SEPTEMBER 11, 1975 The Christian village of Beit Millat was attacked. Seven people were killed, and ten were kidnaped. Syrian responsibility

3. OCTOBER 9, 1975 The Christian village of Tal Abbas-Akkar, in the north of Lebanon was attacked. Fifteen people were killed. The church was burned to provoke a sectarian war between the Lebanese. Syrian responsibility

4. JANUARY 21, 1976 - The Christian town of Damour in the south of Beirut was attacked. Two hundred and sixty people were massacred. The majority of the victims were women, children, and elderly. Palestinian responsibility

5. JUNE 13, 1976 The town of Shikka in the north of Lebanon was attacked. Thirty people were massacred. Among them were women, children and elderly. Palestinian responsibility

6. U.S. Ambassador in Lebanon Francis Melloy was assassinated by Palestinian gunmen and the killer was apprehended by Lebanese authorities and jailed. The killer was released by the Lebanese court under pressure by the Palestinians and Syria. The U.S. protested unsuccessfully. Palestinian and Syrian responsibility.

7. MARCH 16, 1977 The Druze leader Kamal Jumblaat was assassinated along with his bodyguards. Syrian responsibility

8. OCTOBER 20, 1978 Tens of young people were killed and others kidnaped from the village Al-Kaa-, in Ras Beirut, and Jdeided el Fakiha. Syrian Secret Service responsibility

9. JUNE 30, 1978 - The Syrians shelled the Christian area of Beirut for 90 days. The shelling killed and injured hundreds of civilians and destroyed Beirut. Syrian responsibility

10. FEBRUARY 23, 1980 - The daughter of Bashir Gemayel (Maya) was killed in a car bomb. Syrian Secret Service responsibility.

11. FEBRUARY 24, 1980 - The journalist Salim Lawzi was assassinated near Beirut airport. Syrian responsibility.

12. JULY 22, 1980 - The Head of the Union of Journalists Riyad Taha was assassinated. Syrian responsibility

13. DECEMBER 24, 1980 - On Christmas Eve, the Syrians shelled the Christian town of Zahli in the Bekaa Valley. Tens were injured and killed. Syrian responsibility.

14. APRIL 2, 1981 - East Beirut was shelled at the time when students were leaving school. Hundreds were injured and killed. Syrian responsibility.

15. SEPTEMBER 3, 1981 - The French Ambassador Louis De Lamar was assassinated. Syrian responsibility.

16 DECEMBER 15, 1981 - The Iraqi Embassy in Beirut was destroyed by a truck full of explosives. Thirty people were killed. One hundred and twenty were injured. Syrian responsibility.

17. MAY 24, 1982 - The French Embassy in Beirut was bombed. Nine people were killed, twenty six injured. Syrian responsibility.

18. SEPTEMBER 14, 1982 - President Bashir Gemayel was assassinated. and 26 of the members of the Philangist political bureau were also murdered. The assassin (Habib Shartouni) was released by the Syrian forces October 13, 1990 during the invasion of the Presidential Palace. He is wanted by the Lebanese Court who are unable to seize him as he is under the protection of the Syrian Secret Service. Syrian responsibility.

19. APRIL 19, 1983 - The American Embassy was bombed by a truck full of explosives planted inside. Tens were killed and injured. Shortly following, the Marine compound at Beirut International Airport was blown up with a total of 243 dead. Iranian & Syrian responsibility.

20. SEPTEMBER 18, 1986 - The Military Attache of the French Embassy in Beirut Christian Gautiere was assassinated. Iranian and Syrian responsibility

21. MAY 9, 1989 - The Lebanese Sunni Mufti of the Republic Sheik Hassan Khalid was assassinated in Beirut by a car bomb with his bodyguards because of his opposition to the Syrian occupation. Syrian responsibility.

22. OCTOBER 13, 1990 - The Christian area of Beirut was invaded by the Syrians and hundreds of officers and soldiers of the Lebanese Army were killed by the Syrian Army and the corpses were thrown into mass graves in Dahr El Wahch.. Syrian responsibility.

Related Link: http://www.free-lebanon.com/
author by so longpublication date Fri Jul 26, 2002 23:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

author by Oliver O'Driscollpublication date Sat Jul 27, 2002 00:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a historical fact that the massacre at Sabra-Shatila was carried out by the allies of Israel, the Lebanese Phalange and the Haddad milita, with the consent and knowledge of the Begin and Sharon regime. To suggest otherwise is insulting our intelligence.

Incidentally, the first comment is really more of another posting, the second is more anti semitic crap with should be deleted.

author by C.publication date Sat Jul 27, 2002 00:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Put in a new article?

author by lalricpublication date Sun Jul 28, 2002 04:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr Oliver O'Driscoll. It is difficult to insult your intelligence when you don't have any!

Blaming Jews for Christian atrocities is the oldest form of anti semitism there is!

There is not one shread of evidence to prove that Sharon or any Israeli wantingly, deliberately or conspired to murder or allow to murder innocent civilians. To suggest such is anti semitism!

author by Oliver O'Driscollpublication date Sun Jul 28, 2002 09:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think Lalric? that you should go and see a shrink. You have become very much detached from reality.

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