Shatila refugee camp
The Shatila refugee camp (Arabic: مخيم شاتيلا) (also Chatila refugee camp) is a refugee camp for Palestinian refugees, set up by UNRWA in 1949. The camp is located within the Lebanese capital Beirut. As of December 2003, it housed 12,235 registered refugees. It is most widely known as the site of the Sabra and Shatila massacre in September 1982, but also played a significant role in the 1982 Lebanon war and the 1985 to 1987 war of the camps.
Geography and demographics
The Shatila camp is located in southern Beirut. Originally hosting hundreds of refugees, it has grown to more than 12,000 registered Palestinian refugees. Many of these refugees may live outside the camp, while non-Palestinians also live in the camp. The entire camp comprises approximately one square kilometer and thus has an exceptionally high population density.
UNRWA operates one health center and two primary schools within the camp. NGOs active in the camp include Al-Najda, Beit Atfal Al-Soumoud, Norwegian Peoples' Aid, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Association Najdeh. 
The Shatila camp housed the offices of the PLO and as a consequence suffered heavy bombardment from Israeli military forces during the summer war of 1982. Following the assassination of Lebanon's President, in September 1982, the Lebanese Christian Phalangists raided the Sabra neighborhood and the Shatila refugee camp. The attacks resulted in the massacre of an estimated 700-800 people, almost completely civilian. Even the horses and live stock were killed off.
In 1982, a UN commission chaired by Sean MacBride concluded that Israel bore responsibility for the violence. In 1983, the Israeli Kahan Commission, appointed to investigate the incident, found that Israeli military personnel, aware that a massacre was in progress, had failed to take serious steps to stop it. Thus Israel was indirectly responsible, while Ariel Sharon, then Defense Minister, bore personal responsibility, forcing him to resign. 
Israel began to leave Beirut shortly after the news of the massacre broke. The protection of the camps was entrusted to Italy. Following attacks on the peacekeepers, Italy left Lebanon. The safety of the camps was then entrusted to the Amal militia.
Subsequent to the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, two additional - and much deadlier - massacres took place, including the complete destruction of the Sabra section.
- Shatila, articles from UNWRA
- watch "Isti'mariyah - windward between Naples and Baghdad"
- Are Knudsen and S. Hanafi (Eds.) Palestinian Refugees: Identity, Space and Place in the Levant. Routledge. 2010.
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