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ANALYSIS – The year was 1982, the dates September 16 to 18.

Over those three days, some three thousand defenceless civilians were massacred by Christian Phalange militia in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Southern Lebanon.

The people who were killed in the most appalling way were the Palestinians, who were meant to be protected by the Israeli army who had just invaded Lebanon to destroy the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

The Israeli army simply floodlight the camps at night so their allies could have a clearer view, as they pursued their murderous path.

A report commisioned by Israel following the largest demonstrations in the nation’s history, found the Defence Chief, one Ariel Sharon, personally responsible for the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, something the protesters who had chanted ‘Begin and Sharon – you got blood on your hands’ had always believed.

It is often said that the world changed after the events of 2001 – that is clearer the case.

But, things changed after Sabra and Shatila, also.

So, if there is a fitting epitaph to the architects to that murderous war – Menachem Begin and his defence minister, Ariel Sharon, whose death was announced today after eight years in a coma, then surely it is the events over those three days in the camps that are known as Sabra and Shatila.