• Zaterdag, 27 Mei 2017
  • 2 Sivan, 5777

Likoed Nederland

Report of the commission of inquiry into the events at the refugee camps Sabra and Shatilla in Beirut

Vrijdag, November 5, 2010 / Last Modified: Dinsdag, Februari 5, 2013

The Kahan Parliamentary Inquiry Commission, February 8, 1983.

Note of the Likud of Holland: In this report the
Commission finds the Israeli command indirectly responsible for
the massacre, because of not foreseeing that the Christian
Phalangists would attack non-armed people.

However, it was not known at the time of the Inquiry that
the Phalangist commander Elie Hobeika was a Syrian double
agent. So he acted on instructions from Syria, that wanted more
trouble in Lebanon (so it could step in) and Israel getting the blame.

 

 

Summary

The Commission determined that the massacre at Sabra and
Shatilla was carried out by a Phalangist unit, acting on its own
but its entry was known to Israel. No Israeli was directly
responsible for the events which occurred in the camps. But the
Commission asserted that Israel had indirect responsibility for
the massacre since the I.D.F. held the area, Mr. Begin was found
responsible for not exercising greater involvement and awareness
in the matter of introducing the Phalangists into the camps. Mr.
Sharon was found responsible for ignoring the danger of
bloodshed and revenge when he approved the entry of the
Phalangists into the camps as well as not taking appropriate
measures to prevent bloodshed. Mr. Shamir erred by not taking
action after being alerted by communications Minister Zippori.
Chief of Staff Eitan did not give the appropriate orders to prevent
the massacre. The Commission recommended that the Defense
Minister resign, that the Director of Military Intelligence not
continue in his post and other senior officers be removed. Full
text follows:

 

Introduction
At a meeting of the Cabinet on 28 September 1982, the
Government of Israel resolved to establish a commission of
inquiry in accordance with the Commissions of Inquiry Law of
1968. The Cabinet charged the commission as follows:
“The matter which will be subjected to inquiry is: all the facts
and factors connected with the atrocity carried out by a unit of
the Lebanese Forces against the civilian population in the Shatilla
and Sabra camps.”
In the wake of this resolution, the President of the Supreme
Court, by virtue of the authority vested in him under Section 4 of
the aforementioned law, appointed a commission of inquiry
comprised as follows:
Yitzhak Kahan, President of the Supreme Court commission
chairman; Aharon Barak, Justice of the Supreme Court; Yona
Efrat, Major General (Res.).
The commission held 60 sessions, hearing 58 witnesses. As per
the commission’s requests of the Cabinet Secretary, the Office
of the Minister of Defense, the General Staff of the Israel
Defense Forces (henceforth, the I.D.F.), the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs, and other public and governmental institutions, the
commission was provided with many documents, some of which
were, in the course of the deliberations, submitted to the
commission as exhibits. The commission decided, in accordance
with section 13(A) of the law, that there was a need to collect
data necessary for its investigation. Appointed as staff
investigators were:
Ms. Dorit. Beinish, Deputy State Attorney, and Ms. Edna Arbel,
Senior Assistant to the District Attorney (Central District), who
were seconded to the commission by the Attorney General; and
Assistant Police Commander Alex Ish-Shalom, who was
seconded to the commission by the Inspector General of the
Israel Police. Judge David Bartov was appointed commission
coordinator. The staff investigators collected, by virtue of the
authority vested in them under Sections 13(C), 180 statements
from 163 witnesses. Before the commission began its
deliberations, it visited Beirut, but it was not allowed to enter
the area of the events. The commission also viewed television
footage filmed near the time of the events at the camps and their
surroundings.
The commission published notices to the public in the press and
other media, inviting all who wish to testify or submit a
document or bring any information to the commission’s attention
to submit to the commission in writing details of the material he
possessed or wished to bring to the commission’s attention.
There was not much response to these appeals. The commission
made an effort to collect testimony also from people who live
outside the juridical boundaries of the State of Israel; and all
necessary steps were taken to bring witnesses from outside of
Israel, when this was possible. The commission’s requests in this
matter were not always honored. For example, the “New York
Times” correspondent Mr Thomas Friedman, who published in
the aforementioned newspaper a famous article on what
transpired during the period under deliberation here, refused to
appear before the commission, claiming that this was contrary to
his paper’s editorial policy. We did not receive a satisfactory
answer as to why the paper’s publisher prevented its reporter
from appearing before the commission and thus helping it
uncover all the important facts.
Some of the commission’s hearings were held in open session,
but most of the sessions were in camera. In this matter we acted
in accordance with the instructions of Section 18(A) of the law,
according to which a commission of inquiry is required to
deliberate in open session but is entitled to deliberate in camera
if it is convinced that “it is necessary to do so in the interest of
protecting the security of the State… the foreign relations of the
State…” and for other reasons stipulated in that section. It
became clear to the commission that with regard to certain
matters about which witnesses testified before it, open hearings
would be liable to affect adversely the nation’s security or
foreign relations; and therefore it heard most of its testimony in
camera. It should be noted that during sessions held in camera,
witnesses also said things whose publication would not cause
any harm; however, because of the difficulty in separating those
things whose publication would be permissible from those whose
publication would be forbidden, it was imperative in a substantial
number of cases to hear the entire testimony in camera.
In accordance, with Section 20(A) of the law, this report is being
published together with an appendix that will be called Appendix
A. In the event that we will need recourse in this report to
testimony whose publication would not be damaging to the
nation’s security or foreign relations, we shall present it in a
section of the report that will be published. On the other hand, in
accordance with Section 20(A) of the law, a portion of this
report, to be called Appendix B, will not be published, since, in
our opinion, non-publication of this material is essential in the
interest of protecting the nation’s security or foreign
relations.
As we have said, the commission’s task, as stipulated by the
Cabinet’s resolution, is “to investigate all the facts and factors
connected with the atrocity which was carried out by a unit of
the Lebanese Forces against the civilian population of the
Shatilla and Sabra camps.” These acts were perpetrated between
Thursday, 16 September 1982, and Saturday, 18 September
1982. The establishment of the facts and the conclusions in this
report relate only to the facts and factors connected with the
acts perpetrated in the aforementioned time frame, and the
commission did not deliberate or investigate matters whose
connection with the aforementioned acts is indirect or remote.
The commission refrained, therefore, from drawing conclusions
with regard to various issues connected with activities during the
war that took place in Lebanon from 6 June 1982 onward or
with regard to policy decisions taken by the Government before
or during the war, unless these activities or decisions were
directly related to the events that are the subject of this
investigation. Descriptions of facts presented in this report that
deviate from the framework of the commission’s authority (as
defined above) have been cited only as background material, in
order to better understand and illustrate the chain of
events.
In one area we have found it necessary to deviate somewhat
from the stipulation of the Cabinet’s resolution, which represents
the commission’s terms of reference. The resolution speaks of
atrocities carried out by “a unit of the Lebanese Forces.” The
expression “Lebanese Forces” refers to an armed force known by
the name “Phalangists” or “Ketaib” (henceforth, Phalangists). It
is our opinion that we would not be properly fulfilling our task if
we did not look into the question of whether the atrocities
spoken of in the Cabinet’s resolution were indeed perpetrated by
the Phalangists, and this question will indeed be treated in the
course of this report.
The commission’s deliberations can be divided into two stages.
In the first stage, the commission heard witnesses who had been
summoned by it, as well as witnesses who had expressed the
desire to appear before it. The commission asked questions of
these witnesses, and they were given the opportunity of bringing
before the commission everything known to them of the matters
that constitute the subject of the investigation. When this stage
terminated, the commission issued a resolution in accordance
with Section 15(A) of the aforementioned law, concerning the
harm that might be caused certain people as a result of the
investigation or its results; this was done in order to enable
these people to study the material, to appear before the
commission and to testify (for the text of the resolution, see
section I of appendix A). In accordance with this resolution, the
chairman of the commission sent notices to nine people; the
notices detailed how each one of them might be harmed. The
material in the commission’s possession was placed at the
disposal of those receiving the notices and of the attorneys
appointed to represent them. During the second stage of the
deliberations, we heard witnesses who had been summoned at
the request of the lawyers, and thus some of the witnesses who
had testified during the first stage were cross-examined.
Afterwards, written summations were submitted, and the
opportunity to supplement these summations by presenting oral
arguments was given. We should already note that involving the
lawyers in the commission’s deliberations did not in any way
make the commission’s work more difficult; it even helped us in
fulfilling our task. The lawyers who appeared before us were able
to clarify properly, though not at excessive length, the various
points that were the subject of controversy; and thus they
rendered valuable assistance to the commission’s task, without
in any way prejudicing their professional obligation to properly
represent and defend their clients.
When we resolved to issue, in accordance with Section 15(A) of
the law, notices about harm to the nine people, we were not
oblivious to the fact that, during the course of the investigation,
facts were uncovered that could be the prima facie basis for
results that might cause harm to other persons as well. Our
consideration in limiting the notices about possible harm to only
nine persons was based on [the conception] that it is our duty,
as a public judicial commission dealing with an extremely
important issue – one which had raised a furor among the general
public in Israel and other nations – to deliberate and reach
findings and conclusions with regard to the major and important
things connected with the aforementioned events, and to the
question of the responsibility of those persons whose decisions
and actions could have decisively influenced the course of
events. We felt that with regard to the other people who were
involved in one way or another in the events we are
investigating, but whose role was secondary, it would be better
that the clarification or investigation, if deemed necessary, be
carried out in another manner, and not before this commission,
viz., before the military authorities, in accordance with the
relevant stipulations of the military legal code and other
legislation. We chose this path so that the matters under
investigation would not expand and become overly-complicated
and so that we could complete our task in not too long a
time.
In the course of the investigation, not a few contradictions came
out regarding various facts about which we had heard testimony.
In those cases where the contradictions referred to facts
important for establishing findings and drawing subsequent
conclusions, we shall decide between the variant versions in
accordance with the usual criteria in judicial and quasi-judicial
tribunals. Our procedures are not those of a criminal court; and
therefore the criterion of criminal courts that stipulates that in
order to convict someone his guilt must be proven beyond a
reasonable doubt, does not apply in this case. Nevertheless,
since we are aware that our findings and conclusions are liable to
be of significant influence from a social and ethical standpoint,
and to harm also in other ways persons involved in our
deliberations, no finding of significant harm was established with
regard to any one of those to whom notices were sent, unless
convincing evidence on which to base such a finding was found,
and we shall not be satisfied with evidence that leaves room for
real doubt. We shall not pretend to find a solution to all the
contradictions in testimony. In many instances, these
contradictions relate to the content of conversations that took
place between various people without the presence of
witnesses, or when the witnesses’ attention was not focused on
the content of the conversation, and there are no exact notes on
these conversations. In such cases, it is only natural that there
exist several versions with regard to what was said, and the
differences between them do not necessarily derive from a desire
to conceal the truth but rather are sometimes the natural result
of a failure of the human memory. We do not see the need to
rule about those contradictions which surround unimportant
details that do not influence the decision about points in
controversy.
We shall conclude this part of the report by expressing
appreciation and gratitude to all those who helped us in fulfilling
our task. It is only fitting that we note that all the institutions
and various functionaries in the Government, the I.D.F., and
other authorities whose help we needed rendered us all the
necessary assistance and placed at our disposal all the relevant
material, without reservation. Our special thanks go to the
coordinator of the commission, Judge David Bartov, who showed
great capability in handling the administrative aspects of the
commission’s work and without whose enterprise and devoted
and efficient work it is very doubtful whether we would have
succeeded in properly carrying out our task. Our appreciation and
gratitude go also to the staff investigators, Dorit Beinish, Edna
Arbel and Alex Ish-Shalom, who, by virtue of their expertise,
initiative and dedication, succeeded in placing at our disposal
much material which served as the basis of the commission’s
deliberations and findings. Similarly, our thanks go to the entire
staff of commission employees, whose loyalty and faithfulness
enabled us to carry out and complete our task.

A Description of the Events

The Period Before the Events in Beirut

 

In 1975, civil war broke out in Lebanon. This war began with
clashes in Sidon between the Christians and Palestinian terrorists
and subsequently widened in a manner to encompass many
diverse armed forces – under the auspices of ethnic groups,
political parties, and various organizations – that were active in
Lebanon. In its early stages, this war was waged primarily
between the Christian organizations on the one hand, and
Palestinian terrorists, Lebanese leftist organizations, and Muslim
and Druze organizations of various factions on the other. In the
course of the civil war, Syrian army forces entered Lebanon and
took part in the war, for a certain period of time on the side of
the Christian forces, and subsequently on the side of the
terrorists and the Lebanese leftist organizations. During the early
years of the war, massacres on a large scale were perpetrated by
the fighting forces against the civilian population. The Christian
city of Damour was captured and destroyed by Palestinian
terrorists in January 1976. The Christian residents fled the city,
and the conquering forces carried out acts of slaughter that cost
the lives of many Christians. In August 1976, the Christian
forces captured the Tel Zaatar refugee camp in Beirut, where
Palestinian terrorists had dug in, and thousands of Palestinian
refugees were massacred. Each massacre brought in its wake
acts of revenge of a similar nature. The number of victims of the
civil war has been estimated at close to 100,000 killed, including
a large number of civilians, among them women and
children.
The Palestinians’ armed forces organized and entrenched
themselves in camps inhabited by refugees who had arrived in
Lebanon in various waves, beginning in 1948. There are various
estimates as to the number of Palestinian refugees who were
living in Lebanon in 1982. According to the figures of
U.N.R.W.A. (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency), the
Palestinian refugees numbered approximately 270,000. On the
other hand, the leaders of the Christian armed forces estimated
the number of Palestinian refugees at approximately 500,000 or
more. This estimate is most probably exaggerated, and the more
realistic estimate is the one that puts the number of Palestinian
refugees at approximately 300,000 – and in any case, not more
than 400,000.
The main Christian armed force that took part in the civil war
consisted mainly of Maronite Christians, though a small number
of Shiites joined them. This force comprised several armed
Christian organizations, the largest among them being the
organizations under the leadership of the Chamoun family and of
the Jemayel family. The head of the Jemayel family, Mr. Pierre
Jemayel, founded the Phalangist organization; and the leader of
this organization in recent years was Pierre’s son, Bashir
Jemayel. In the course of time, the Phalangist organization
became the central element in the Christian forces; in 1982, the
Phalangists ruled the Christian armed forces. Even though the
“Lebanese Forces” formally comprised several Christian
organizations, the dominant and primary force in this
organization, at the time under our scrutiny, was the Phalangists,
led by the Jemayel family.
When the war broke out in Lebanon in June 1982, the Phalangist
force included a nucleus of approximately 2,000 full-time
recruited soldiers. In addition, the Phalangists had a reserve
armed force – that is, men who served part-time in their free
hours or when they were called up for special service. When fully
mobilized, the number of Phalangist soldiers reached 5,000.
Similarly, the Phalangists had militias in the villages. There were
no ranks in this military force, but it was organized along military
lines, with Bashir Jemayel as the military and political leader who
enjoyed unimpeachable authority. The Phalangists had a general
staff comprised of several commanders. At the head of this
general staff was a commander named Fadi Frem; at the head of
the Phalangists’ intelligence division was a commander by the
name of Elie Hobeika.
The link between the Christian forces and the State of Israel was
formed shortly after the start of the civil war. In the course of
time, this link grew stronger, from both political and military
standpoints. The Christian forces were promised that if their
existence were to become endangered, Israel would come to
their aid. Israel extended significant aid to the Christian armed
forces, supplying arms, uniforms, etc., and also training and
instruction, Over the course of time, a considerable number of
meetings were held between leaders of the Phalangists and
representatives of the Government of Israel and the I.D.F. In the
course of these meeting, the ties between the leaders of the two
sides grew stronger. The Institute for Intelligence and Special
Assignments (henceforth, the Mossad) was made responsible for
the link with the Phalangists; and representatives of the Mossad
maintained – at various times, and in various ways – a rather
close connection with the Phalangist leadership. In the course of
these meetings, the Phalangist leaders brought up various plans
for strengthening the Christian forces’ position, as well as
various ways of bringing about the end of the civil war in
Lebanon and restoring the independence of that nation, while
[simultaneously] buttressing the status of the Phalangists and
those allied with them in a regime that would be established in
Lebanon. Israel’s representatives expressed various reservations
with regard to these plans and Israel’s involvement in their
realization.
A separate armed force is the military force in South Lebanon –
the “Army of Free Lebanon” under the command of Major
Haddad. This force comprises several hundred full-time soldiers.
In addition, there is in South Lebanon a National Guard, which,
under the command of local officers, does guard duty in the
villages. Relations between the Phalangists and Haddad’s men
are not particularly close, for various reasons, and there were
points of tension between these two forces. In 1982, soldiers of
both Major Haddad and the Phalangists wore uniforms provided
by Israel – and similar to those worn by the I.D.F. The
Phalangists’ uniforms bore an emblem consisting of the
inscription “Ketaib Lubnaniyeh” and the drawing of the cedar,
embroidered over the shirt pocket. Major Haddad’s soldiers had
an emblem on the epaulet inscribed with the words “Army of
Free Lebanon” in Arabic and the drawing of a cedar. During the
war, Haddad’s force advanced and reached the Awali River.
Pursuant to I.D.F. orders, Haddad’s army did not proceed north
of the Awali River.
The subject of the Palestinian population in Lebanon, from
among whom the terrorist organizations sprang up and in the
midst of whom their military infrastructure was entrenched,
came up more than once in meetings between phalangist leaders
and Israeli representatives. The position of the Phalangist
leaders, as reflected in various pronouncements of these leaders,
was, in general, that no unified and independent Lebanese state
could be established without a solution being found to the
problem of the Palestinian refugees, who, according to the
Phalangists’ estimates, numbered half a million people. In the
opinion of the Phalangists, that number of refugees, for the most
part Muslims, endangered [both] the demographic balance
between the Christians and Muslims in Lebanon and (from other
standpoints as well) the stability of the State of Lebanon and the
status of the Christians in that country. Therefore, the Phalangist
leaders proposed removing a large portion of the Palestinian
refugees from Lebanese soil, whether by methods of persuasion
or other means of pressure. They did not conceal their opinion
that it would be necessary to resort to acts of violence in order
to cause the exodus of many Palestinian refugees from
Lebanon.
As we have said, the Mossad was the organization that actually
handled the relations between the Phalangists and Israel, and its
representatives maintained close contacts with the Phalangist
leadership. In addition, the Intelligence branch of the I.D.F.
(henceforth Military Intelligence) participated, albeit in a more
limited capacity, in the contacts with the Phalangists; and it, by
virtue of its job, was to issue a not insignificant number of
evaluation papers on the Phalangists, their leaders, their aims,
their fighting ability, etc. The division of labor between the
Mossad and Military Intelligence with regard to the Phalangists,
was spelled out in a document (exhibit 189). While this division
of duties left room for misunderstandings and also duplication in
various areas, there is no room for doubt that both the Mossad
and Military Intelligence specifically dealt with drawing up
evaluations on the Phalangists, and each one of them was
obligated to bring these evaluations to the attention of all
interested parties. Neither the head of the Mossad nor the
director of Military Intelligence disagreed with this in his
testimony before us.
From the documents submitted to us and the testimony we
heard, it emerges that there were differences of opinion between
the Mossad and Military Intelligence with regard to the relations
with the Phalangists. The Mossad, to a not inconsiderable extent
under the influence of constant and close contact with the
Phalangist elite, felt positively about strengthening relations with
that organization, though not ignoring its faults and weaknesses.
This approach of the Mossad came out clearly in the testimony
we heard from the person who was in charge of the Mossad’s
contacts with the Phalangists. The head of the Mossad, in his
testimony before us on 27.12.82, said, inter alia (p. 1437), that
“the Mossad tried, to the best of its ability, throughout this
period, to present and approach the subject as objectively as
possible; but since it was in charge of the contacts, I accept as
an assumption that subjective, and not only objective, relations
also emerged. I must accept that in contacts, when you talk to
people, relationships are formed.” In contrast, Military
Intelligence was to emphasize in its evaluations the danger in the
link with the Phalangists, primarily because of this organization’s
lack of reliability, its military weakness, and other reasons we
need not specify here. A characteristic expression of the
difference in approach between these two agencies, whose
responsibility it was to provide evaluations on the Phalangists
and the desirability of relations with them, can be found in the
exchange of documents when one of the intelligence officers
(henceforth intelligence officer A, whose full name appears in the
list of names in section I of Appendix B) who served as a liaison
officer on behalf of Military Intelligence in the Mossad’s
representation at Phalangist headquarters at the beginning of the
war submitted an assessment (exhibit 171) on cooperation with
the Phalangists. This Military Intelligence officer rendered a
negative evaluation, from Israel’s standpoint, of the Phalangists’
policy during the war and their aims for the future. This criticism
was vigorously rejected by the Mossad (exhibit 172).
The “Peace for the Galilee” war (henceforth the war) began on
6.6.82 On 12-14 June, J.D.F. forces took over the suburbs of
Beirut and linked up with the Christian forces who controlled
East Beirut. On 25 June the encirclement of West Beirut was
completed and I.D.F. forces were in control of the
Beirut-Damascus road. There followed a period of approximately
one and a half months of negotiations on the evacuation of the
terrorists and the Syrian forces from West Beirut, and during this
time various targets in West Beirut were occasionally shelled and
bombed by the I.D.F.’s, Air Force and artillery. On 19.8.82 the
negotiations on the evacuation of the terrorists and the Syrian
forces from West Beirut were completed On 23.8.82 Bashir
Jemayel was elected president of Lebanon. His term of office
was supposed to begin on 23 September 1982.
On 21-26 August, a multi-national force arrived in Beirut, and
the evacuation of the terrorists and the Syrian forces began. The
evacuation was completed on I September; however, according
to information from various sources, the terrorists did not fulfill
their obligation to evacuate all their forces from West Beirut and
hand their weapons over to the Lebanese army but left in West
Beirut, according to various estimates, approximately 2,000
fighters, as well as many arms caches, some of which were
handed over by the terrorists to the Lebanese leftist militia
“Mourabitoun.” This militia numbered approximately 7,000 men
in west Beirut, and it cooperated with the terrorists. After the
evacuation was completed, the multi-national force left Lebanon
(10- 12 September 1982; cf. section 2 of Appendix A for dates
of stages of the war).
At the beginning of the war, the Chief of Staff [Lt.-Gen. Rafael
Eitan] told the Phalangists that they should refrain from all
fighting. This order was issued because of the fear that if the
Phalangists’ force got into trouble while fighting, the I.D.F.
would be forced to come to its aid, thereby disrupting the
I.D.F.’s plan of action. Even after I.D.F. forces reached the
Damour-Shouf line, the I.D.F.’s orders were that the Phalangists
would not participate in fighting (testimony of the Chief of Staff,
pp. 195-6). After I.D.F. forces reached the area under Christian
control, the Phalangist commanders suggested that a company
of theirs of approximately 300 men set up a training base at a
place called Beit Ad-Din, a site of historical importance in
Lebanon. The Chief of Staff agreed to this, but made his
agreement conditional on the Phalangist forces’ exercising
restraint and discipline, as the area was Druze. At first, this
condition was honored; afterwards, there were outbursts of
hostilities between the Phalangists and the Druze in Beit Ad Din.
The Druze committed some murders, and the Phalangists took
revenge; a small I.D.F. force was stationed in the area in order to
prevent such actions. In the early stages of the war there were
also some acts of revenge and looting on the part of the
Christians in Sidon; these were stopped by the I.D.F.
When I.D.F. forces were fighting in the suburbs of Beirut and
along the Beirut-Damascus road, the Phalangists were asked to
cooperate with the I.D.F.’s actions by identifying terrorists, a
task at which the Phalangists’ expertise was greater than that of
the Israeli security forces. During these actions there were
generally no acts of vengeance or violence against the
Palestinian civilian population by the Phalangists who were
operating with the I.D.F. Another action of the Phalangists’
military force was the capture of the technical college in Reihan,
a large building in Beirut not located in a built-up area. The
Phalangists captured this place from the armed Shiite
organization “Amal.” One day after the place was taken, the
Phalangists turned the building over to the I.D.F. and left the site
(testimony of the Chief of Staff, pp. 198-200).
The fighting actions of the Phalangists during that time were
few, and in effect the fighting was all done by I.D.F. forces
alone. This state of affairs aroused criticism and negative
reactions from the Israeli public, and among I.D.F. soldiers as
well. This dissatisfaction was expressed in various ways; and in
the political echelon, as well as in the media, there was
amazement that the Phalangists were not participating in the
fighting, even though the war was their battle as well, and it
was only right that they should be taking part in it. The feeling
among the Israeli public was that the I.D.F. was “pulling the
chestnuts out of the fire” for the Phalangists. As the number of
I.D.F. casualties mounted, public pressure for the Phalangists to
participate in real fighting increased. The plan formulated in
mid-June 1982, when it was still uncertain whether the
terrorists would agree to leave West Beirut, was that the
Christian forces would fight to take control of West Beirut; the
I.D.F. would not take part in that operation; and only in the event
that it became necessary would the I.D.F. help out the
Phalangists with long-range artillery fire. This plan was discussed
in the Cabinet meeting of 15.6.82, where it was proposed by the
Prime Minister, and his proposal was adopted by the Cabinet,
namely, that I.D.F. forces would not enter West Beirut, and this
job was to be done by other forces (meaning the Phalangists)
with help they would be given by the I.D.F. (transcript of the
Cabinet meeting of 15.6.82, exhibit 53). Even after this
resolution, no real fighting was done by the Phalangists for the
purpose of extending control over West Beirut; and, as we have
said, eventually the terrorists were evacuated as the result of a
political agreement, after the I.D.F. had shelled various targets in
West Beirut.
In all the testimony we have heard, there has been unanimity
regarding [the fact] that the battle ethics of the Phalangists,
from the standpoint of their attitude to non-combatants, differ
greatly from those of the I.D.F. It has already been noted above
that in the course of the civil war in Lebanon, many massacres
had been perpetrated by the various forces that had taken part in
the fighting. When the war began in June 1982, the prevailing
opinion among the Mossad agents who had maintained contacts
with the Phalangist leadership was that the atrocities and
massacres were a thing of the past, and that the Phalangist
forces had reached a stage of political and organizational
maturity that would ensure that such actions would not repeat
themselves. This opinion was based both on personal
impressions of the character of the Phalangist leadership, as well
as on the recognition that the interest of the Phalangist elite to
eventually rule an independent Lebanese nation, half or more of
whose population is Muslim and would be interested in
maintaining relations with the Arab world, requires moderations
of actions against Palestinians and restraint as to modes of
operation. At the same time, there were various facts that were
not compatible with this outlook. During the meetings that the
heads of the Mossad held with Bashir Jemayel, they heard things
from him that left no room for doubt that the intention of this
Phalangist leader was to eliminate the Palestinian problem in
Lebanon when he came to power – even if that meant resorting
to aberrant methods against the Palestinians in Lebanon
(testimony on pps. 16, 17, and 168 of the transcripts; exhibit 85
of 30 June 1982, clause 14 – section 2 of Appendix B). Similar
remarks were heard from other Phalangist leaders. Furthermore,
certain actions of the Phalangists during the war indicated that
there had been no fundamental change in their attitude toward
different segments of the Lebanese population, such as Druze
and Palestinians, whom the Phalangists considered enemies.
There were reports of Phalangist massacres of women and
children in Druze villages, as well as the liquidation of
Palestinians carried out by the intelligence unit of Elie Hobeika
(testimony no. 105 of intelligence officer B before the staff
investigators, part of which appears in section 3 of Appendix B;
also, a document which mentions the Phalangist attitude toward
terrorists they had taken prisoner – section 4 of Appendix B,
exhibit 39). These reports reinforced the feeling among certain
people – and especially among experienced intelligence officers –
that in the event that the Phalangists had an opportunity to
massacre Palestinians, they would take advantage of
it.

 

The Assassination of Bashir Gemayel and the I.D.F.’s entry into
West Beirut
On Tuesday afternoon, 14.9.82, a large bomb exploded in a
building in Ashrafiyeh, Beirut, where Bashir Jemayel was
[meeting] with a group of commanders and other Phalangists. For
the first few hours after the explosion, it was not clear what had
happened to Bashir, and there were rumors that he had only been
slightly wounded. Word of the attempt on his life reached the
Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff, the
director of Military Intelligence [Major General Yehoshua Saguy]
and others in the early hours of the evening. During the evening,
before it became clear what had befallen Bashir, the Defense
Minister spoke with the Chief of Staff, the director of Military
Intelligence, the head of the Mossad, and the head of the
General Security Services about possible developments. He also
spoke a number of times with the Prime Minister. Moreover,
there were a number of conversations that evening between the
Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff. Word of Bashir’s death
reached Israel at about 11.00 p.m., and it was then that the
decision was taken in conversations between the Prime Minister
and the Minister of Defense and between the Prime Minister and
the Chief of Staff – that the I.D.F. would enter West Beirut. In
one of the consultations between the Minister of Defense and
the Chief of Staff, there was mention of including the
Phalangists in the entry into West Beirut. The question of
including the Phalangists was not mentioned at that stage in
conversations with the Prime Minister.
Once the decision was made to have the I.D.F. enter West
Beirut, the appropriate operational orders were issued. Order
Number I was issued at 12.20 a.m. on the night between
14.9.82 and 15.9.82, Orders Number 2 and 3 were issued on
Wednesday, 15.9.82, and Order Number 4 was issued that same
day at 2.00 p.m.; Order Number 5 was issued at 3.00 a.m. on
16.9.82; and Order number 6 was issued on the morning of
16.9.82. The first five orders said nothing about entering the
refugee camps, and only in Order Number 6 were the following
things stated (clause 2, document no. 6, exhibit 14):
“The refugee camps are not to be entered. Searching and
mopping up the camps will be done by the Phalangists/ Lebanese
Army.”
Clause 7 of the same order also states that the Lebanese Army
“is entitled to enter any place in Beirut, according to its
request.”
Execution of the I.D.F.’s entry into West Beirut began during the
early morning hours of 15.9.82.
On the night between 14.9.82 and 15.9.82, the Chief of Staff
flew to Beirut with a number of people and met there with the
G.O.C. Northern Command [Major General Amir Drori] and with
the commander of the division (henceforth the division).
Afterwards, the Chief of Staff, together with the people
accompanying him, went to the Phalangists’ headquarters,
where, according to his testimony (p. 210), he ordered the
Phalangist commanders to effect a general mobilization of all
their forces, impose a general curfew on all the areas under their
control, and be ready to take part in the fighting. The response
of the Phalangist commanders who took part in that meeting was
that they needed 24 hours to organize. The Chief of Staff
requested that a Phalangist liaison officer come to the place
where the division’s forward command post was located
(henceforth forward command post) under the command of
Brigadier-General Amos Yaron. At that meeting, the Phalangist
commanders were told by the Chief of Staff that the I.D.F.
would not enter the refugee camps in West Beirut but that the
fighting this entails would be undertaken by the Phalangists
(Chief of Staff’s testimony, p. 211). The Chief of Staff testified
that the entry of the Phalangists into the refugee camps was
agreed upon between the Minister of Defense and himself at
8.30 p.m. on the previous evening. The camps in question were
Sabra and Shatilla. After the meeting in the Phalangists’ camps,
the Chief of Staff went to the forward command post.
The forward command post was located on the roof of a
five-storey building about 200 meters southwest of the Shatilla
camp. The borders of the two camps were not defined exactly.
The Sabra camp extended over an area of some 300 x 200
meters and Shatilla over an area of about 500 x 500 meters
(testimony of the deputy assistant to the director of Military
Intelligence, p. 29). The two camps were essentially residential
neighborhoods containing, in the area entered by the Phalangists,
as will be stated below, low permanent structures along narrow
alleys and streets. From the roof of the forward command post it
was possible to see the area of the camps generally but – as all
the witnesses who visited the roof of the command post stated,
and these were a good number of witnesses whose word we
consider reliable – it was impossible to see what was happening
within the alleys in the camp from the roof of the command
post, not even with the aid of the 20 x 120 binoculars that were
on the command post roof. Appended to this report are an aerial
photograph and map of the area of the camps, as well as a
general map of Beirut (sections 3, 4, and 5 of Appendix
A).
It was not possible to obtain exact details on the civilian
population in the refugee camps in Beirut. An estimate of the
number of refugees in the four refugee camps in west Beirut
(Burj el-Barajneh, Fakahni, Sabra and Shatilla) is about 85,000
people. The war led to the flight of the population, but when the
fighting subsided, a movement back to the camps began.
According to an inexact estimate, in mid-September 1982 there
were about 56,000 people in the Sabra camp (protocol, p. 29),
but there is no assurance that this number reflects reality.
The Chief of Staff was in the forward command post from the
early morning hours of Wednesday, 15.9.82. The I.D.F. began to
enter west Beirut shortly after 6:00 a.m. During the first hours
of the I.D.F. entry, there was not armed resistance to the I.D.F.
forces, evidently because the armed forces that were in West
Beirut were taken by surprise. Within a few hours, the I.D.F.
forces encountered fire from armed forces that remained in a
number of places in west Beirut, and combat operations began.
The resistance caused delays in the I.D.F.’s taking over a number
of points in the city and caused a change in the route of
advance. In the course of this fighting three I.D.F. soldiers were
killed and more than 100 were wounded. Heavy fire coming out
of Shatilla was directed at one I.D.F. battalion (henceforth the
battalion) advancing east of Shatilla. One of the battalion’s
soldiers was killed, 20 were injured, and the advance of the
battalion in this direction was halted. Throughout Wednesday
and to a lesser degree on Thursday and Friday (16-17.9.82),
R.P.G. and light-weapons fire from the Sabra and Shatilla camps
was directed at the forward command post and the battalion’s
forces nearby, and fire was returned by the I.D.F. forces.
On Wednesday, 15.9.82, the Minister of Defense arrived at the
forward command post between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. He met
with the Chief of Staff there, and the latter reported on what
had been agreed upon with the Phalangists, namely, a general
mobilization, curfew, and the entry of the Phalangists into the
camps. The Minister of Defense approved this agreement. From
the roof of the command post, the Minister of Defense phoned
the Prime Minister and informed him that there was no resistance
in Beirut and that all the operations were going along well.
During the aforementioned meeting between the Minister of
Defense and the Chief of Staff, present on the roof of the
forward command post were the Defense Minister’s aide, Mr.
Avi Dudai; the director of Military Intelligence, who came to this
meeting together with the Minister of Defense; representative A
of the Mossad (his full name appears in the list of names, section
1, Appendix B); Major-General Drori; Brigadier-General Yaron;
Intelligence officer B; the head of the General Security Services;
Deputy Chief of Staff Major-General Moshe Levi; and other I.D.F.
officers who were accompanying the Minister of Defense. Dudai
recorded in his notebook what was said and agreed upon at that
meeting. According to Dudais testimony, he later copied these
notes into another notebook, pages of which were presented
before us (exhibit 103). These notes stated, inter alia, that the
Phalangists were to be sent into the camps. The Minister of
Defense spoke with the Prime Minister twice from the roof of the
command post. According to the record of these conversations
(exhibits 100 and 101), in one of them the wording of the I.D.F.
Spokesman’s announcement was agreed upon as follows:
“Following the murder of President-elect Bashir Jemayel, I.D.F.
forces entered West Beirut tonight to prevent possible grave
occurrences and to ensure quiet.
“The entry of the I.D.F. forces was executed without
resistance.”
From the forward command post the Minister of Defense went to
the Phalangist headquarters. A record was made of this meeting,
which was attended by a number of Phalangist commanders as
well as the Minister of Defense, the director of Military
Intelligence, the head of the General Security Services and
representatives of the Mossad (exhibit 79). At that meeting, the
Minister of Defense stated, inter alia, that the I.D.F. would take
over focal points and junctions in West Beirut, but that the
Phalangist army would also have to enter West Beirut after the
I.D.F. and that the Phalangist commanders should maintain
contact with Major-General Drori, G.O.C. Northern Command,
regarding the modes of operation. A record of this meeting was
made by Intelligence officer B (exhibit 28). From there the
Minister of Defense went to Bikfaya, to the Jemayel family
home, to pay a condolence call.
From the meeting with the Jemayel family in Bikfaya, the
Minister of Defense went to the airport, and on the way he met
with Major-General Drori at a gas station. This meeting took
place in the presence of a number of people, including the
director of Military Intelligence, the head of the General Security
Services, Mr. Duda’i, and the bureau chief of the director of
Military Intelligence, Lieutenant-Colonel Hevroni. The situation of
the forces was discussed at this meeting, and Major-General
Drori reported on the course of events during the I.D.F.’s entry
into West Beirut. From there the Minister of Defense went on to
the airport and met there with the Chief of Staff and the Deputy
Chief of Staff at about 2:00 p.m., after which the Minister of
Defense returned to Israel.
That same day, 15.9.82, while the Minister of Defense was in
Beirut, a meeting took place at 11:30 a.m. in the Prime
Minister’s Office between the Prime minister and others from the
American embassy in Israel. During that meeting (protocol of the
meeting, exhibit 120), the Prime Minister informed Mr. Draper
that I. D.F. forces had entered West Beirut beginning in the
morning hours, that there were no real clashes, that the I.D.F.
action was undertaken in order to prevent certain possible
events, and that we were concerned that there might be
bloodshed even during the night. The Prime Minister also said
that the Phalangists were behaving properly; their commander
had not been injured in the assassination and was in control of
his forces; he is a good man and we trust him not to cause any
clashes, but there is no assurance regarding other forces. He
added that the primary immediate task was to preserve quiet, for
as long as quiet is maintained it will be possible to talk;
otherwise there might have been pogroms, and the calm was
preserved for the time being (exhibit 120).
At 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 15.9.82, a briefing took place at
the office of the Deputy Chief of Staff with the participation of
the I.D.F. branch heads, including the assistant for research to
the director of Military Intelligence. The meeting began with a
review by the assistant for research to the director of Military
Intelligence of possible political developments in Lebanon
following the death of Bashir Jemayel. He stated, inter
alia
(page 4 of the transcript of the discussion, exhibit
130), that the I.D.F.’s entry into West Beirut was perceived as
vital not only by the Christians but also by the Muslims, who
regarded the I.D.F. as the only factor that could prevent
bloodshed in the area and protect the Sunni Muslims from the
Phalangists. The Intelligence officer also stated that according to
what was known to Military Intelligence, the attack on Bashir
was carried out by the Mourabitoun, though that was not
certain. During the meeting, the head of Operations Department
announced that the Phalangists “are encouraging entry into the
camps” (p. 7 of exhibit 130). The Deputy Chief of Staff reported
his impressions of the meeting at Phalangist headquarters in
Beirut that day and said that the intention was to send the
Phalangists into the refugee camps and afterwards perhaps into
the city as well. He added that this “might create an uproar,”
because the armed forces in West Beirut that were then quiet
might stir up a commotion upon learning that Phalangists are
coming in behind the I.D.F. (page 11, exhibit 130).
At 6:00 p.m. the Minister of Defense spoke with the Prime
Minister from his home and reported (exhibit 99) that by evening
the I.D.F. would be in all the places; that he had conveyed the
Prime Minister’s words to Pierre Jemayel; and that “everything is
in order” and the decision made on the previous night to send the
I.D.F. into Beirut had been most important and [indeed] should
not have been delayed.
The Chief of Staff remained at the forward command post in
Beirut and followed the development of the I.D.F. actions from
there. On that day the Phalangist officers did not arrive at the
forward command post to coordinate operations, but
Major-General Drori met with them in the evening and told them
generally that their entry into the camps would be from the
direction of Shatilla. Major-General Drori, who was not at ease
with the plan to send the Phalangists into the camps, made an
effort to persuade the commanders of the Lebanese Army that
their forces should enter the camps and that they should prevail
upon the Prime Minister of Lebanon to agree to this move. The
reply of the Lebanese Army at the time was negative.
In the early morning hours of Thursday, 16.9.82, the Chief of
Staff left the forward command post and returned to Tel Aviv.
That same morning, in the wake of political pressure, an order
was issued by the Minister of Defense to halt the I.D.F.’s combat
operations; but after a short time the Minister of Defense
rescinded the order. At 10:00 a.m. the Minister of Defense held
a consultation in his office with the Chief of Staff; the director
of Military Intelligence, Brigadier-General Y. Saguy;
Lieutenant-Colonel Zecharin, the Chief of Staffs bureau chief;
and Mr. Dudai (exhibit 27 is a record of what was said at that
meeting). The meeting was opened by the Chief of Staff, who
announced that “the whole city is in our hands, complete quiet
prevails now, the camps are closed and surrounded; the
Phalangists are to go in at 11:00-12:00. Yesterday we spoke to
them… The situation now is that the entire city is in our hands,
the camps are all closed.” Later on in his statement, while
pointing to a map, the Chief of Staff stated that the areas
marked on the map were in the hands of the 1. D. F. and that the
Fakahani, Sabra, and Shatilla camps were surrounded. He also
said that if the Phalangists came to a coordinating session and
wanted to go in, it was agreed with them that they would go in
and that the Lebanese Army could also enter the city wherever it
chose. At this discussion, the Minister of Defense spoke of the
heavy American pressure to have the I.D.F. leave West Beirut
and of the political pressure from other sources. In the course of
the meeting, the Chief of Staff repeated a number of times that
at that moment everything was quiet in West Beirut. As for
going into the camps, the Minister of Defense stated that he
would send the Phalangists into the refugee camps (p. 5, exhibit
27). At the time of the consultation, the Minister of Defense
informed the Prime Minister by phone that “the fighting has
ended. The refugee camps are surrounded. The firing has
stopped. We have not suffered any more casualties. Everything
is calm and quiet. Sitting opposite me is the chief of Staff, who
has just come from there. All the key points are in our hands.
Everything’s over. I am bringing the Chief of Staff to the Cabinet
meeting. That’s the situation as of now…” After this
conversation, the Chief of Staff reported on the contacts during
the night of 14.9.82 with the members of the Mourabitoun, in
which the members of this militia said that they were unable to
hide, that they were Lebanese, and that they would undoubtedly
all be killed by the Phalangists, whether immediately or some
time later. The Chief of Staff added that “there’s such a dual
kind of situation that they’re confused. They’re seething with a
feeling of revenge, and there might have been rivers of blood
there. We won’t go into the refugee camps” (p. 7, exhibit 27).
As stated, participating in this consultation was the director of
Military Intelligence, who in the course of the discussion stated a
number of things that appear in the aforementioned record.
The commanders of the Phalangists arrived for their first
coordinating session regarding the entry of their forces into the
camps at about 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, 16.9.82, and met with
Major-General Drori at the headquarters of one of the divisions. It
was agreed at that meeting that they would enter the camps and
coordinate this action with Brigadier-General Yaron, commander
of the division. This coordination between Brigadier-General
Yaron and the Phalangist commanders would take place on
Thursday afternoon at the forward command post. It was
likewise agreed at that meeting that a company of 150 fighters
from the Phalangist force would enter the camps and that they
would do so from south to north and from west to east.
Brigadier-General Yaron spoke with the Phalangists about the
places where the terrorists were located in the camps and also
warned them not to harm the civilian population. He had
mentioned that, he stated, because he knew that the
Phalangists’ norms of conduct are not like those of the I.D.F. and
he had arguments with the Phalangists over this issue in the
past, Brigadier-General Yaron set up lookout posts on the roof of
the forward command post and on a nearby roof even though he
knew that it was impossible to see very much of what was going
on in the camps from these lookouts. An order was also issued
regarding an additional precautionary measure whose purpose
was to ascertain the actions of the Phalangist forces during their
operation in the camps (this measure is cited in section 5,
Appendix B). It was also agreed that a Phalangist liaison officer
with a communications set would be present at all times on the
roof of the forward command post – in addition to the Mossad
liaison officer at the Phalangist headquarters. The Phalangist unit
that was supposed to enter the camps was an intelligence unit
headed, as we have said, by Elie Hobeika. Hobeika did not go
into the camps with his unit and was on the roof of the forward
command post during the night (testimony of Brigadier-General
Yaron, p. 726). This unit was assigned the task of entering the
camps at that time for two reasons, first – since the …
Phalangists had difficulty recruiting another appropriate force till
then; second – since the members of this unit were considered
specially trained in discovering terrorists, who tried to hide
among the civilian population.
On 16.9.82 a document was issued by the Defense Minister’s
office, signed by the personal aide to the Defense Minister, Mr.
Avi Dudai, which contained “The Defense Minister’s Summary of
15 September 1982.” This document is (exhibit 34) a summary
of the things which Mr. Dudai had recorded during his visit with
the Defense Minister in Beirut on 15.9.82, as detailed above. In
various paragraphs of the document there is mention of the
Defense Minister’s instructions regarding the entry into West
Beirut. The instruction in paragraph F. is important to the matter
at had; it is stated there:
“F. Only one element, and that is the I.D.F., shall command the
forces in the area. For the operation in the camps the Phalangists
should be sent in.”
The document is directed to the Chief of Staff, the Deputy Chief
of Staff and the director of Military Intelligence. The document
was received at the office of the director of Military Intelligence,
according to the stamp appearing on the copy (exhibit 35), on
17.9.82.
In the testimonies we have heard, different interpretations were
given to the instruction that only the I.D.F. command the forces
in the area. According to one interpretation, and this is the
interpretation given the document by the Chief of Staff (p. 257),
the meaning of the instruction is that in contacts with external
elements, and especially with the Phalangists, only the I.D.F.,
and not another Israeli element, such as the Mossad, will
command the forces in the area – but this does not mean that the
Phalangist force will be under the command of the I.D.F. On the
other hand, according to the interpretation given the document
by the director of Military Intelligence (pp. 127, 1523), the
meaning is that all forces operating in the area, including the
Phalangists, will be under the authority of the I.D.F. and will act
according to its instructions.
The entry of the Phalangists into the camps began at about
18.00 on Thursday, 16.9.82 At that time there were armed
terrorist forces in the camps. We cannot establish the extent of
these forces, but they possessed various types of arms, which
they used – even before the entry of the Phalangists –
against I.D.F. forces that had approached the area, as well as
against ‘ the I.D.F. headquarters at the forward command post.
It is possible to determine that this armed terrorist force
had not been evacuated during the general evacuation, but had
stayed in the camps for two purposes, which were – renewal of
underground terrorist activity at a later period, and to protect the
civilian population which had remained in the camps, keeping in
mind that given the hostility prevailing between the various sects
and organizations, a population without armed protection was in
danger of massacre. It should be added here that during the
negotiations for evacuation, a guarantee for the safety of the
Muslims in West Beirut was given by the representative of the
United States who conducted the negotiations, following
assurances received from the government of Israel and from
Lebanon.
Meanwhile, as we have said, the multi-national force left
Lebanon, and all the previous plans regarding the control of West
Beirut by the Lebanese government were disrupted due to the
assassination of President-elect Bashir Jemayel.

 

The Events from the Entry of the Phalangists into the Sabra and
Shatilla Camps until their Departure
On Thursday, 16.9.82, at approximately 18:00 hours, members
of the Phalangists entered the Shatilla camp from the west and
south. They entered in two groups, and once they had passed
the battery surrounding the camps their movements within the
camps were not visible from the roof of the forward command
post or from the observation sites on other roofs. The Divisional
Intelligence Officer tried to follow their movements using
binoculars which he shifted from place to place, but was unable
to see their movements or their actions. With the entry of the
Phalangists into the camps, the firing which had been coming
from the camps changed direction; the shooting which had
previously been directed against the I.D.F. now shifted in the
direction of the Phalangists’ liaison officer on the roof of the
forward command post. G. (his full name appears in the list of
names, Section 1, Appendix B) requested the I.D.F. to provide
illumination for the force which was moving in, since its entry
was taking place after dark. Initially, the illumination was
provided by a mortar company, and subsequently also by
aircraft; but because the illumination from the planes interfered
with the evacuation of casualties of an I.D.F. unit, this source of
illumination was halted; mortar illumination continued
intermittently throughout the night.
At approximately 8:00 p.m., the Phalangists’ liaison officer, G.,
said that the Phalangists who had entered the camps had
sustained casualties, and the casualties were evacuated from the
camps. Major General Drori was at the forward command post
from approximately 7:30 p.m. and followed the fighting as it
was visible from the roof of the forward command post. He left
the site after 8:00 p.m.
Several Intelligence Branch personnel, headed by the Division
Intelligence Officer, were in the building on whose roof the
forward command post was situated. The Intelligence officer,
who wanted to obtain information on the Phalangists’ activities,
ordered that two actions be carried out to obtain that
information (these actions are detailed in Section 5, Appendix B).
No information was obtained in the wake of the first action. As a
result of the second action the Intelligence Officer received a
report according to which the Phalangists’ liaison officer had
heard via radio from one of the Phalangists inside the camps that
he was holding 45 people. That person asked what he should do
with the people, and the liaison officer’s reply was “Do the will
of God,” or words to that effect. The Intelligence Officer
received this report at approximately 20:00 hours from the
person on the roof who heard the conversation. He did not
convey the report to anyone else, because an officers’ briefing
was scheduled to take place at field headquarters shortly
afterward.
At about the same time or slightly earlier, at approximately 7:00
p.m., Lieutenant Elul, who was then serving as Chief of Bureau
of the Divisional Commander, overheard another conversation
that took place over the Phalangists’ transmitter. According to
Lt. Elul’s testimony, while he was on the roof of the forward
command post, next to the Phalangists’ communications set, he
heard a Phalangist officer from the force that had entered the
camps tell Elie Hobeika (in Arabic) that there were 50 women
and children, and what should he do. Elie Hobeika’s reply over
the radio was: “This is the last time you’re going to ask me a
question like that, you know exactly what to do;” and then
raucous laughter broke out among the Phalangist personnel on
the roof. Lieutenant Elul understood that what was involved was
the murder of the women and children. According to his
testimony, Brigadier General Yaron, who was also on the forward
command post roof then, asked him what he had overheard on
the radio; and after Lieutenant Elul told him the content of the
conversation, Brigadier General Yaron went over to Hobeika and
spoke with him in English for about five minutes (for Lt. Elul’s
testimony, see pp. 1209-1210a). Lt. Elul did not hear the
conversation between Brigadier General Yaron and
Hobeika.
Brigadier General Yaron, who was on the roof of the forward
command post, received from Lt. Elul a report of what he had
heard. According to Brigadier General Yaron’s testimony, the
report conveyed to him by Lt. Elul stated that one of the
Phalangists had asked the commander what to do with 45
people, and the reply had been to do with them what God orders
you to do (testimony of Brigadier General Yaron, pp. 696 and
730). According to Brigadier General Yaron, he understood from
what he had heard that the reference was to 45 dead terrorists.
In his testimony, Brigadier General Yaron linked this report with
what he had heard in the update briefing that evening – which
will be discussed below – from the Divisional Intelligence Officer.
From Brigadier General Yaron’s remarks in his testimony it
emerges that he regarded the two reports – from Lt. Elul and
from the Intelligence officer – as being one report from two
different sources. We have no doubt that in this instance there
were two different and separate reports. As noted the report
which the Intelligence Officer obtained originated in a
conversation held over the radio with Elie Hobeika. Although
both reports referred to a group of 45-50 persons, and it is, not
to be ruled out that the questions asked over the radios referred
to the same group of persons, it is clear, both from the fact that
the replies given were different in content – the reply of the
liaison officer was to do with the group of people as God
commands, while Hobeika’s reply was different – that two
different conversations took place regarding the fate of the
people who had fallen into the Phalangists’ hands. As noted,
Brigadier General Yaron did not deny in his testimony that Lt. Elul
had translated for him and told him what he had heard when the
two of them were on the roof of the forward command post. We
have no reason to think that Lt. Elul did not inform Brigadier
General Yaron of everything he had heard. It is noteworthy that
Lt. Elul testified before us after Brigadier General Yaron had
testified and before the notices were sent in accordance with
section 15(A) of the law; and his statement to the Staff
Investigators (no. 87) was also given after Brigadier General
Yaron’s testimony. Brigadier General Yaron did not testify again
after the notice in accordance with section 15(A) had been sent,
nor was there any request on his part to question Lt. Elul. We
assert that Lt. Elul informed Brigadier General Yaron of the
content of the conversation which took place with Elie Hobeika
as specified above.
An additional report relating to the actions of the Phalangists in
the camps vis-a-vis the civilians there came from liaison officer
G. of the Phalangists. When he entered the dining room in the
forward command post building at approximately 8:00 p.m., that
liaison officer told various people that about 300 persons had
been killed by the Phalangists, among them also civilians. He
stated this in the presence of many I.D.F. officers who were
there, including Brigadier General Yaron. We had different
versions of the exact wording of this statement by Phalangist
officer G., but from all the testimony we have heard it is clear
that he said that as a result of the Phalangists’ operations up to
that time, 300 terrorists and civilians had been killed in the
camps. Shortly thereafter, Phalangist officer G. returned to the
dining room and amended his earlier report by reducing the
number of casualties from 300 to 120.
At 20:40 hours that evening an update briefing was held in the
forward command post building with the participation of various
I.D.F. officers who were in the building at that time, headed by
Brigadier General Yaron. The remarks made at that meeting were
recorded by a Major from the History Section in the Operations
Branch/ Training Section. We were given the tape recording and
a transcript thereof (exhibit 155). At the meeting Brigadier
General Yaron spoke of the I.D.F.’s progress and deployment,
and about the Phalangists’ entry into the camps and the combing
operations they were carrying out. Following that briefing, the
Divisional Intelligence Officer spoke. In the course of his
intelligence survey regarding the terrorists and other armed
forces in west Beirut, he said the following (pp. 4 and 5 of the
transcript, exhibit 155):
“The Phalangists went in today. I do not know what level of
combat they are showing. It is difficult to see it because it is
dark… The impression is that their fighting is not too serious.
They have casualties, as you know – two wounded, one in the
leg and one in the hand. The casualties were evacuated in one of
their ambulances. And they, it turns out, are pondering what to
do with the population they are finding inside. On the one hand,
it seems, there are no terrorists there, in the camp; Sabra camp
is empty. On the other hand, they have amassed women,
children and apparently also old people, with whom they don’t
exactly know what to do (Amos, this refers back to our talk),
and evidently they had some sort of decision in principle that
they would concentrate them together, and lead them to some
place outside the camps. On the other hand, I also heard (from –
the Phalangists’ liaison officer G.)… that ‘do what your heart
tells you, because everything comes from God. ‘That is, I do not
-”
At this point Brigadier General Yaron interrupted the Intelligence
Officer and the following dialogue ensued between
them:
Brigadier General Yaron: “Nothing, no, no. I went to see
him up top and they have no problems at all.”
Intelligence Officer: “People remaining in the field?
Without their lives being in any danger?”
Brigadier General Yaron: “It will not, will not harm them.”
Following this exchange, the Intelligence Officer went on to
another subject. The Phalangists’ actions against the people in
the camps were not mentioned again in this update
briefing.
In his testimony, Brigadier General Yaron explained his remark
about his visit “with him up top and they have no problems at
all” by saying that he had spoken several times that evening with
the Phalangist officers on the roof of the forward command post
after he had heard the first report about 45 people and also after
the further report about 300 or 120 casualties; and even though
he had been sceptical about the reliability of these reports and
had not understood from them that children, women or civilians
had been murdered in massacres perpetrated by the Phalangists,
he had warned them several times not to harm civilians and had
been assured that they would issue the appropriate orders to
that effect. (pp. 731-732).
Between approximately 22:00 hours and 23:00 hours the
Divisional Intelligence Officer contacted Northern Command,
spoke with the Deputy Intelligence Officer there, asked if
Northern Command had received any sort of report, was told in
reply that there was no report, and told the Deputy Intelligence
officer of Northern Command about the Phalangist officer’s
report concerning 300 terrorists and civilians who had been
killed, and about the amendment to that report whereby the
number of those killed was only 120. The divisional Intelligence
Officer asked the Deputy Intelligence Officer of Northern
Command to look into the matter more thoroughly. Intelligence
Officer A. was in the room while that conversation took place,
and when he heard about that report he phoned Intelligence
Branch Research at the General Staff, spoke with two
Intelligence Branch officers there and told them that Phalangist
personnel had so far liquidated 300 terrorists and civilians
(testimony of Intelligence Officer A., p. 576). He went on to add
that he had a heavy feeling about the significance of this report,
that he regarded it as an important and highly sensitive report
which would interest the senior responsible levels, and that this
was the kind of report that would prove of interest to the
Director of Military Intelligence personally. In the wake of these
remarks, the personnel in Intelligence Branch research of the
General Staff Branch who had been given the report carried out
certain telephone clarifications, and the report was conveyed to
various persons. The manner in which the report was conveyed
and the way it was handled are described in Section 6, Appendix
B. Suffice it to note here that a telephone report about this
information was conveyed to Lt. Col. Hevroni, Chief of Bureau of
the director of Military Intelligence, on 17.9.82 at 5:30 a.m. The
text of the report, which was distributed to various Intelligence
units and, as noted, also reached the office of the director of
Military Intelligence, appears in Appendix A of Exhibit 29 That
document contained a marking, noting that its origin lay with the
forward command post of Northern Command, that it was
received on 16.9.82 at 23:20 hours, and that the content of the
report was as follows:
“Preliminary information conveyed by the commander of the local
Phalangist force in the Shatilla refugee camp states that so far
his men have liquidated about 300 people. This number includes
terrorists and civilians.”
The action taken in the wake of this report in the office of the
Director of Military Intelligence will be discussed in this report
below.
On Thursday, 16.9.82, at 19:30 hours, the Cabinet convened for
a session with the participation of – besides the Prime Minister
and the Cabinet Ministers (except for 5 Ministers who were
abroad) – a number of persons who are not Cabinet members,
among them the Chief of Staff, the head of the Mossad and the
director of Military Intelligence. The subject discussed at that
meeting was the situation in Lebanon in the wake of the
assassination of Bashir Jemayel. At the start of the session, the
Prime Minister reported on the chain of events following the
report about the attempt on Bashir’s life. The Minister of
Defense then gave a detailed survey. The Chief of Staff provided
details about the I.D.F.’s operation in West Beirut and about his
meetings with Phalangist personnel. He said, inter alia,
that he had informed the Phalangist commanders that their men
would have to take part in the operation and go in where they
were told, that early that evening they would begin to fight and
would enter the extremity of Sabra, that the I.D.F. would ensure
that they did not fail in their operation but I.D.F. soldiers would
not enter the camps and would not fight together with the
Phalangists, rather the Phalangists would go in there “with their
own methods” (p. 16 of the minutes of the meeting, Exhibit
122). In his remarks the Chief of Staff explained that the camps
were surrounded “by us,” that the Phalangists would begin to
operate that night in the camps, that we could give them orders
whereas it was impossible to give orders to the Lebanese Army,
and that the I.D.F. would be assisted by the Phalangists and
perhaps also the Lebanese Army in collecting weapons. With
respect to the consequences of Bashir’s assassination, the Chief
of Staff said that in the situation which had been created, two
things could happen. One was that the entire power structure of
the Phalangists would collapse, though as yet this had not
occurred. Regarding the second possibility, the Chief of Staff
said as follows (pp. 21-22 of Exhibit 122):
“A second thing that will happen – and it makes no difference
whether we are there or not – is an eruption of revenge which, I
do not know, I can imagine how it will begin, but I do not know
how it will end. it will be between all of them, and neither the
Americans nor anyone else will be of any help. We can cut it
down, but today they already killed Druze there. What difference
does it make who or what? They have already killed them, and
one dead Druze is enough so that tomorrow four Christian
children will be killed; they will find them slaughtered, just like
what happened a month ago; and that is how it will begin, if we
are not there – it will be an eruption the likes of which has never
been seen; I can already see in their eyes what they are waiting
for.
“Yesterday afternoon a group of Phalangist officers came, they
were stunned, still stunned, and they still cannot conceive to
themselves how their hope was destroyed in one blow, a hope
for which they built and sacrificed so much; and now they have
just one thing left to do, and that is revenge; and it will be
terrible.”
At this point the Chief of Staff was asked “if there is any chance
of knowing who did it, and to direct them at whoever
perpetrated the deed,” and he continued:
“There is no such thing there. Among the Arabs revenge means
that if someone kills someone from the tribe, then the whole
tribe is guilty. A hundred years will go by, and there will still be
someone killing someone else from the tribe from which
someone had killed a hundred years earlier…
“I told Draper this today, and he said there is a Lebanese Army,
and so on. I told him that it was enough that during Bashir’s
funeral Amin Jemayel, the brother, said ‘revenge’; that is already
enough. This is a war that no one will be able to stop. It might
not happen tomorrow, but it will happen.
“It is enough that he uttered the word ‘revenge’ and the whole
establishment is already sharpening knives…”
Toward the end of his remarks, the Chief of Staff referred to a
map and explained that with the exception of one section
everything was in the hands of the I.D.F., the I.D.F. was not
entering the refugee camps, “and the Phalangists are this
evening beginning to enter the area between Sabra and
Fakahani” (p. 25). At that meeting the Head of the Mossad also
gave a briefing on the situation after the assassination of Bashir,
but made no reference to the Phalangists’ entry into the camps.
There was considerable discussion in that meeting about the
danger of the United States at the I.D.F.’s entry into West
Beirut, the general opinion being that the decision to go in was
justified and correct. Toward the close of the meeting there was
discussion regarding the wording of a resolution, and then
Deputy Prime Minister D. Levy said that the problem was not the
formulation of a resolution, but that the I.D.F.’s continued stay
in Beirut was liable to generate an undesirable situation of
massive pressure regarding its stay there. Minister Levy stated
that he accepted the contention regarding the I.D.F.’s entry into
Beirut, and he then continued (p. 91):
“We wanted to prevent chaos at a certain moment whose
significance cannot be disregarded. When confusion exists which
someone else could also have exploited, the situation can be
explained in a convincing way. But that argument could be
undercut and we could come out with no credibility when I hear
that the Phalangists are already entering a certain neighborhood –
and I know what the meaning of revenge is for them, what kind
of slaughter. Then no one will believe we went in to create order
there, and we will bear the blame. Therefore, I think that we are
liable here to get into a situation in which we will be blamed, and
our explanations will not stand up…”
No reaction was forthcoming from those present at the meeting
to this part of Deputy Prime Minister D. Levy’s remarks. Prior to
the close of the session the Prime Minister put forward a draft
resolution which, with certain changes, was accepted by all the
Ministers. That resolution opens with the words:
“In the wake of the assassination of the President-elect Bashir
Jemayel, the I.D.F. has seized positions in West Beirut in order
to forestall the danger of violence, bloodshed and chaos, as
some 2,000 terrorists, equipped with modern and heavy
weapons, have remained in Beirut, in flagrant violation of the
evacuation agreement…”
Here we must note that the Director of Military Intelligence was
present at the outset of the meeting but left, after having
received permission to do so from the Minister of Defense, not
long after the start of the session, and certainly a considerable
time before Minister D. Levy made the remarks quoted
above.
Brigadier-General Yaron did not inform Major-General Drori of the
reports which had reached him on Thursday evening regarding
the actions of the Phalangists vis-a-vis
non-combatants in the camps, and reports about aberrations did
not reach Major-General Drorl until Friday, 17.9.82, in the
morning hours. On Friday morning Major-General Drori contacted
Brigadier-General Yaron, received from him a report about
various matters relating to the war, and heard from him that the
Phalangists had sustained a number of casualties, but heard
nothing about casualties among the civilian population in the
camps (testimony of Major-General Drori, p. 404). That same
morning Major General Drori spoke with the Chief of Staff and
heard from him that the Chief of Staff might come to Beirut that
day.
In the early hours of that morning a note lay on a table in the
Northern Command situation room in Aley. The note read as
follows:
“During the night the Phalangists entered the Sabra and Shatilla
refugee camps. Even though it was agreed that they would not
harm civilians, they ‘butchered.’ They did not operate in orderly
fashion but dispersed. They had casualties, including two killed.
They will organize to operate in a more orderly manner – we will
see to it that they are moved into the area.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Idel, of the History Section in Operations
Branch/Training Section, saw this note on the table and copied it
into a notebook in which he recorded details about certain
events, as required by his position. It has not been clarified who
wrote the note or what the origin was of the information it
contained, even though on this matter the staff investigators
questioned many persons who held various positions where the
note was found. The note itself was not found, and we know its
content only because Lieutenant-Colonel Idel recorded it in his
notebook.
The G.O.C. held a staff meeting at 8:00 a.m. in which nothing
was said about the existence of reports regarding the
Phalangists’ actions in the camps.
Already during the night between Thursday and Friday, the report
about excesses committed by the Phalangists in the camps
circulated among I.D.F. officers who were at the forward
command post. Two Phalangists were killed that night during
their operation in the camps. When the report about their
casualties reached the Phalangists’ liaison officer, G., along with
a complaint from one of the Phalangist commanders in the field
that the I.D.F. was not supplying sufficient illumination, the
liaison officer asked Lieutenant-Colonel Treiber, one of the
Operations Branch officers at the forward command post, to
increase the illumination for the Phalangists. Lieutenant-Colonel
Treiber’s response was that the Phalangists had killed 300
people and he was not willing to provide them with illumination
(testimony of Lieutenant Elul, pp. 1212-1213).
Lieutenant-Colonel Treiber subsequently ordered that limited
illumination be provided for the Phalangists.
In the early hours of the morning, additional officers at the
forward command post heard from the Phalangists’ liaison
officer, G., that acts of killing had been committed in the camps
but had been halted (statements 22 and 167).
At approximately 9:00 a.m. on Friday, Brigadier General Yaron
met with representatives of the Phalangists at the forward
command post and discussed with them the entry of an
additional force of Phalangists into the camps. Afterwards,
according to the testimony of Major General Drori (p. 1600), he
met with Brigadier General Yaron in the Cite of Beirut, where
they discussed the activity of the I.D.F. troops and other matters
related to the war; but Brigadier General Yaron said nothing to
him at that meeting about excesses committed by the
Phalangists.
Brigadier General Yaron’s testimony contains a different version
of the talk between him and Major General Drori that morning.
According to that testimony, Brigadier General Yaron received
reports that morning about a woman who claimed that she had
been struck in the face by Phalangists, [and] about a child who
had been kidnapped and whose father had complained to the
Divisional Operations Officer; and Brigadier General Yaron had
seen liaison officer G. arguing with other Phalangists. From all
this Brigadier General Yaron inferred that something was amiss,
or as he put it, “something smelled fishy to me” (p. 700). He
phoned Major General Drori and told him something did not look
right to him, and as a result of this conversation, Major General
Drori arrived at the forward command post at approximately
11:00 a.m. According to Major General Drori, he arrived at the
forward command post without having heard any report that
something was wrong in the camps, simply as part of a routine
visit to various divisions. We see no need to decide between
these two versions.
When Major General Drori arrived at the Divisional forward
command post he spoke with Colonel Duvdevani and with
Brigadier General Yaron. We also have differing versions
regarding what Major General Drori heard on that occasion. In his
statement (No. 2) Colonel Duvdevani related that he said he had
a bad feeling about what was going on in the camps. According
to his statement, this feeling was caused by the report of liaison
officer G. about 100 dead and also because it was not known
what the Phalangists were doing inside the camps. Colonel
Duvdevani did not recall whether Major General Drori had asked
him about the reasons for his bad feeling. Brigadier General
Yaron testified (p. 701) that he had told Major General Drori
everything he knew at that time, namely those matters detailed
above which had caused his bad feeling. According to Major
General Drori’s testimony, he heard about three specific matters
on that occasion. The first was the blow to the woman’s head;
the second – which was not directly related to the camps – was
that in one neighbourhood, namely San Simon, Phalangists had
beaten residents; and the third matter was that a feeling existed
that the Phalangists were carrying out “an unclean mopping-up” –
that is, their soldiers were not calling on the residents – as I.D.F.
soldiers do – to come out before opening fire on a house which
was to be “mopped up,” but were “going into the house firing”
(testimony of Major General Drori, pp. 408, 1593-1594). No
evidence existed that, at that meeting or earlier, anyone had told
Major General Drori about the reports of 45 people whose fate
was sealed, or about the 300 killed; nor is there any clear
evidence that he was told of a specific number of people who
had been killed. After Major General Drori heard what he heard
from Colonel Duvdevani and Brigadier General Yaron, he ordered
Brigadier General Yaron to halt the operations of the Phalangists,
meaning that the Phalangists should stop where they were in the
camps and advance no further. Brigadier General Yaron testified
that he suggested to Major General Drori to issue this order (p.
701). The order was conveyed to the Phalangist commanders.
On that same occasion Major General Drori spoke with the Chief
of Staff by phone about several matters relating to the situation
in Beirut, told him that he thought the Phalangists had perhaps
“gone too far” and that he had ordered their operation to be
halted (p. 412). A similar version of this conversation appears in
the Chief of Staff’s testimony (pp. 232-233). The Chief of Staff
testified that he had heard from Major General Drori that
something was amiss in the Phalangists’ actions. The Chief of
Staff asked no questions, but told Major General Drori that he
would come to Beirut that afternoon.
As mentioned above, the cable report (appendix exhibit 29)
regarding 300 killed reached the office of the director of Military
Intelligence on 17.9.82 at 5:30 a.m. The text of this cable was
transmitted to the director of Military Intelligence at his home in
a morning report at 6:15 a.m., as part of a routine update
transmitted to the director of Military Intelligence every morning
by telephone. From the content of the cable, the director of
Military Intelligence understood that the source of the report is
Operations and not Intelligence, and that its source is the
Northern Command forward command post. According to the
testimony of the director of Military Intelligence, the details of
which we shall treat later, he did not know then that it had been
decided to send the Phalangists into the camps and that they
were operating there; therefore, when he heard the report, he
asked what the Phalangists were doing – and he was told that
they had been operating in the camps since the previous day (p.
120, 123). When the director of Military Intelligence arrived at
his office at 8:00 a.m., he asked his bureau chief where the
report had originated, and he was told that it was an
“Operations” report. He ordered that it be immediately
ascertained what was happening in the Sabra and Shatilla
camps. The clarifications continued in different ways (described
in section 6 of appendix B) during Friday morning, but no
confirmation of the report was obtained; and the intelligence
personnel who dealt with the clarifications treated it as a report
which for them is unreliable, is unconfirmed, and therefore it
would not be proper to circulate it according to the standard
procedure, by which important and urgent intelligence reports are
circulated. The content of the cable was circulated to a number
of intelligence personnel (whose positions were noted on the
cable form) and was conveyed to the Mossad and the General
Security Services. Since the source of the report seemed to
those Intelligence Branch personnel who dealt with the matter to
be Operations, it was not accorded the standard treatment given
reports from Intelligence sources, but rather the assumption was
that Operations personnel were dealing with the report in their
own way. The answers received by the director of Military
Intelligence to his demand for clarification were that there were
no further details. The director of Military Intelligence did not
know that the report had been transmitted by Intelligence Officer
A. The report was transmitted verbally, incidentally, by the
assistant to the bureau chief of the director of Military
Intelligence to Lieutenant Colonel Gai of the Defense Ministry’s
situation room, when the latter arrived at about 7:30 a.m. at the
office of the director of Military Intelligence. One of the disputed
questions in this inquiry is whether Lieutenant Colonel Gai
transmitted, the report to Mr. Dudai; we shall discuss this matter
separately. Suffice it to say here that we have no evidence that
the report was transmitted to the Defense Minister or came to
his knowledge in another way.
At 7:30 a.m. on Friday there was a special morning briefing at
the [office of] the assistant for research to the director of
Military Intelligence. At the meeting, in which various
intelligence personnel participated, the aforementioned report
was discussed, and it was said that it can not be verified. The
assistant for research to the director of Military Intelligence gave
an order to continue checking the report. He knew that the
source of the report was Intelligence officer A. The assistant for
research to the director of Military Intelligence also treated this
report with scepticism, both because the number of killed
seemed exaggerated to him and since there had been no
additional confirmation of the report (pp. 1110-1113). The
director of Military Intelligence took no action on his part
regarding the aforementioned report, except for requesting the
clarification, and did not speak about it with the Chief of Staff or
the Minister of Defense, even though he met with them that
morning.
As mentioned above, the reports of unusual things occurring in
the camps circulated among the officers at the forward
command post already during the night and in the morning hours
of Friday, and they reached other I.D.F. officers and soldiers in
the area. At approximately 8:00 a.m., the journalist Mr. Ze’ev
Schiff received a report from the General Staff in Tel Aviv, from
a man whose name he has refused to disclose, that there was a
slaughter in the camps. The transmitter of the report used the
Arabic expression dab’h. He was not told of the extent of the
slaughter. He tried to check the report with Military Intelligence
and Operations, and also with the Mossad, but received no
confirmation, except the comment that “there’s something.” At
11:00 a.m. Mr. Schiff met with Minister Zipori at the minister’s
office and spoke with him about the report he had received.
Minister Zipori tried to contact the director of Military
Intelligence and the head of the General Security Services by
phone, but did not reach them. At approximately 11:15 a.m., he
called the Foreign Minister, Mr. Yitzhak Shamir, and spoke with
him about the report he had received from Mr. Schiff. According
to the testimony of Minister Zipori, he said in that telephone
conversation with Mr. Shamir that he had received reports that
the Phalangists “are carrying out a slaughter” and asked that
Minister Shamir check the matter with the people who would be
with him momentarily and whose planned visit was known to
Minister Zipori (Minister Zipori’s testimony, p. 1097). According
to Mr. Schiff’s statement to the staff investigators (no. 83),
Minister Zipori said in that conversation that “they are killing in
the camps” and proposed that “it is worth checking the matter
through your channels.”
We heard a different version of the content of the conversation
from Minister Shamir. Minister Shamir knew of the entry of the
Phalangists into the camps from what he had heard at the
aforementioned cabinet meeting of 16.9.82. According to him,
Minister Zipori told him in the aforementioned telephone
conversation that he knows that Minister Shamir was to meet
soon with representatives of the United States on the situation
in West Beirut, and therefore he deems it appropriate to report
what he had heard about what is occurring there. The situation
in West Beirut is still not as quiet as it may seem from the
media, and he had heard that three or four I.D.F. soldiers had
been killed, and had also heard “about some rampage by the
Phalangists” (p. 1232). Minister Shamir said in his testimony
that as far as he could remember there was no mention in that
conversation of the words massacre or slaughter. According to
him, he was not asked by Minister Zipori to look into the matter,
he did not think that he was talking about massacre, [rather] he
got the impression from the conversation that its main aim was
to inform him of the losses suffered by the I.D.F., and therefore
he himself made no check and also did not instruct Foreign
Ministry personnel to check the report, but asked someone in the
Foreign Ministry whether new reports had arrived from Beirut and
was satisfied with the answer that there is nothing new.
In addition, Minister Shamir thought, according to his testimony,
that since a meeting would shortly be held at his office with
Ambassador Draper, in which the Defense Minister, the director
of Military Intelligence, the head of the General Security Services
and their aides would be participating on the Israeli side, then he
would hear from them about what is happening in West Beirut.
This meeting was held at the Foreign Minister’s office at 12:30,
between Ambassador Draper and other representatives of the
United States and a group of representatives of Israel, including
the Minister of Defense, the director of Military Intelligence, and
the head of the General Security Services (exhibit 124). The
Foreign Minister did not tell any of those who came to the
meeting about the report he had received from Minister Zipori
regarding the actions of the Phalangists, and he explained this
inaction of his by the fact that the matter did not bother him,
since it was clear to him that everything going on is known to
the persons sitting with him, and he did not hear from them any
special report from Beirut (p. 1238). The meeting ended at 3:00
p.m., and then the Foreign Minister left for his home and took no
additional action following the aforementioned conversation with
Minister Zipori.
Let us return to what occurred on that Friday in West
Beirut.
In the morning hours, Brigadier General Yaron met with
Phalangist commanders for coordination, and agreed with them
that a larger Phalangist force would organize at the airport, that
this force would not be sent in to the camps until it receives
approval from the Chief of Staff and after the Chief of Staff
holds an additional meeting at Phalangist headquarters (pp.
705-706).
Already prior to the Chief of Staff’s arrival, Major General Drori
held a meeting with the commander of the Lebanese Army in
which he again tried to persuade the commander, and through
him the Prime Minister and Ambassador Draper, that the
Lebanese Army enter the camps. Major General Drori told that
commander, according to his testimony, the following (p.
1633):
“You know what the Lebanese are capable of doing to each
other; when you go now to Wazzan (the Prime Minister of
Lebanon) tell him again, and you see what is out here, and the
time has come that maybe you’ll do something, and you’re going
to Draper, to meet with Draper… get good advice from him this
time, he should give it to you this time, he should agree that you
enter the camps, it’s important, the time has come for you to do
it, and get good advice this time from Draper, or permission from
him to enter or do it.”
Major General Drori explained in his testimony that he had
approached the commander so that the latter would speak with
Ambassador Draper, since he had heard that Ambassador Draper
had told the commander of the Lebanese Army a day earlier that
the Americans would get the Israelis out of Beirut, that they
should not talk to them and not negotiate with them. The answer
which Major General Drori later received to his request from the
commander of the Lebanese Army was negative.
On Friday, 17.9.82, already from the morning hours, a number of
I.D.F. soldiers detected killing and violent actions against people
from the refugee camps. We heard testimony from Lieutenant
Grabowsky, a deputy commander of a tank company, who was
in charge of a few tanks which stood on an earth embankment –
a ramp – and on the adjacent road, some 200 meters from the
first buildings of the camps. In the early morning hours he saw
Phalangist soldiers taking men, women and children out of the
area of the camps and leading them to the area of the stadium.
Between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. he saw two Phalangist soldiers
hitting two young men. The soldiers led the men back into the
camp, after a short time he heard a few shots and saw the two
Phalangist soldiers coming out. At a later hour he went up the
embankment with the tank and then saw that Phalangist soldiers
had killed a group of five women and children. Lieutenant
Grabowsky wanted to report the event by communications set to
his superiors, but the tank crew told him that they had already
heard a communications report to the battalion commander that
civilians were being killed, [and] the battallion commander had
replied, “We know, it’s not to our liking, and don’t interfere.”
Lieutenant Grabowsky saw another case in which a Phalangist
killed a civilian. In the afternoon hours his soldiers spoke with a
Phalangist who had arrived at the spot, and at the request of
Grabowsky, who does not speak Arabic, one of the soldiers
asked why they were killing civilians. The answer he received
was that the pregnant women will give birth to terrorists and
children will grow up to be terrorists. Grabowsky left the place at
16:00 hours. Late in the afternoon he related what he had seen
to his commander in the tank battalion and to other officers. At
their suggestion he related this to his brigade commander at
20:00 hours (Grabowsky testimony, pp. 380-388). In various
statements made to the staff investigators, soldiers and officers
from Lieutenant Grabowsky’s unit and from other units stationed
nearby related that they saw on Friday various acts of
maltreatment by the Phalangist soldiers against men, women and
children who were taken out of the camp, and heard complaints
and stories regarding acts of killing carried out by the
Phalangists. One of those questioned heard a communications
report to the battalion commander about the Phalangists
“running wild.”
The battalion commander did not confirm in his statements (no.
21 and no. 175) and testimony that he had received reports on
Friday from any of his battalion’s soldiers about acts of killing or
violent actions by the Phalangists against the residents of the
camps. According to him, he indeed heard on Thursday night,
when he was in the forward command post, about 300 killed, a
number which was later reduced to 120 killed; but on Friday the
only report he received was about the escape of a few dozen
beaten or wounded persons northward and eastward, and this
was in the afternoon. At a later date, after the massacre in the
camps was publicized, the battalion commander made special
efforts to obtain a monitoring report of the battalion’s radio
frequency and he submitted this report to us (exhibit 1240). In
this document no record was found of a report of acts of killing
or maltreatment by the Phalangists on Friday.
We did not send a notice as per Section 15 to this battalion
commander, and this for the reasons explained in the
Introduction. We have not arrived at any findings or conclusions
on the contradictory versions regarding the report to the
battalion commander, and it appears to us that this subject can
and should be investigated within the framework of the I.D.F., as
we have proposed in the Introduction. For the purposes of the
matters we are discussing, we determine that indeed I.D.F.
soldiers who were near the embankment which surrounded the
camp saw certain acts of killing and an attempt was made to
report this to commanders of higher ranks; but this report did not
reach Brigadier General Yaron or Major General Drori.
The Chief of Staff reached the airport at Khalde near Beirut at
15:30 hours with a number of I.D.F. officers. At the airport he
met with Major General Drori and travelled with him to a meeting
at Phalangist headquarters. Major General Drori testified that he
had told the Chief of Staff on the way what he knew regarding
the Phalangists’ actions. The Chief of Staff was satisfied with
what he had heard and did not ask about additional matters
(Drori testimony, pp. 451, 416). Brigadier General Yaron joined
those travelling to the meeting with the Phalangist commanders.
The Chief of Staff testified in his first appearance that he had
heard from Major General Drori and from Brigadier General Yaron
only those things which he had heard on the telephone, and does
not remember that he asked them how the improper behavior of
the Phalangists had expressed itself. In that testimony he
explained that he had refrained from asking additional questions
since the discussion had dealt mainly with the situation in the
city, that he generally does not like to talk while travelling, and
the he thought the matter would be clarified at Phalangist
headquarters, where they were headed (testimony of the Chief
of Staff, pp. 243, 234). In his additional testimony before us,
when the Chief of Staff was asked for his response to Major
General Drori’s testimony that the latter had told the Chief of
Staff about the three things which he knew about (see above),
the Chief of Staff said that he is prepared to accept that these
were the things said to him, but emphasized that the meaning of
the things he had heard was not from his point of view that there
had been acts of revenge and bloodshed by the Phalangists (p.
1663). In any case, according to his second testimony as well,
the Chief of Staff was satisfied with hearing a short report from
Major General Drori about the reasons for the halting of the
Phalangists’ actions, and did not pose questions regarding
this.
At about 16:00 hours, the meeting between the Chief of Staff
and the Phalangist staff was held. We have been presented with
documents containing summaries from this meeting. In a
summary made by Mossad representative A who was present at
the meeting (exhibit 80 A) it was said that the Chief of Staff
“expressed his positive impression received from the statement
by the Phalangist forces and their behavior in the field” and
concluded that they “continue action, mopping up the empty
camps south of Fakahani until tomorrow at 5:00 a.m., at which
time they must stop their action due to American pressure. There
is a chance that the Lebanese Army will enter instead of them.”
Other matters in this summary do not relate to the matter of the
two camps (a summary with identical contents appears in exhibit
no. 37). We heard more precise details on the content of the
meeting from witnesses who participated in it. The Chief of
Staff testified that the Phalangists had reported that the
operation had ended and that everything was alright that the
Americans are pressuring them to leave and they would leave by
5:00 a.m., and that they had carried out all the objectives. His
reaction was “O.K., alright, you did the job.”
According to the Chief of Staff, the discussion was very relaxed,
there was a very good impression that the Phalangists had
carried out the mission they had been assigned or which they
had taken upon themselves, and there was no feeling that
something irregular had occurred or was about to occur in the
camps. During the meeting they requested a tractor from the
I.D.F. in order to demolish illegal structures; the Chief of Staff
saw this as a positive action, since he had long heard of illegal
Palestinian neighborhoods, and therefore he approved their
request for tractors (pp. 234-239). In his second testimony, the
Chief of Staff added that the commander of the Phalangists had
said that there was almost no civilian population in the camps,
and had reported on their killed and wounded (p. 1666). He did
not ask them questions and did not debrief them about what had
happened in the camps. They wanted to send more forces into
the camps, but he did not approve this; and there was no
discussion at that meeting of relieving forces (pp. 1667-1670).
At the same meeting, the Chief of Staff approved the supply of
certain arms to the Phalangists, but this has nothing to do with
events in Beirut. Major General Drori testified during his first
appearance that the commander of the Phalangist force, who
was present at the meeting, gave details of where his forces
were and reported heavy fighting – but did not make mention of
any irregularities, and certainly not of a massacre. The Phalangist
commanders spoke of American pressure [on them] to leave the
camps. When Major General Drori was asked for additional
details of that conversation he replied that he could not recall
(pp. 415-420, 444-444). Brigadier General Yaron also testified
that at that meeting the Phalangists commanders had said
nothing about unusual actions in the camps, [that] the reason
given for departure from the camps the next morning was
American pressure, and that it seemed to him that the Chief of
Staff even had some good words to say, from a military
standpoint, about their action. It was also agreed at that meeting
that they would get tractors in order to raze illegal structures. At
the end of the meeting it was clear to Brigadier General Yaron,
as he testified, that the Phalangists could still enter the camps,
bring in tractors, and do what they wanted – and that they would
leave on Saturday morning (pp. 709-716).
In the matter of sending in additional Phalangist forces, Brigadier
General Yaron testified that he did not think that limitations had
been imposed on them with regard to bringing in an additional
force, and he did not know whether they brought in an additional
force after that meeting – but since they were supposed to leave
at 5:00 a.m. on the following morning, there was no need for
additional forces. On the same subject, Brigadier General Yaron
also said that there was no restriction on the Phalangists’
bringing in additional forces; it seemed to him that they had
brought in a certain additional force – although the major force,
at the airport, was not sent into the camps. He did not check
whether they did or did not bring in additional forces, and from
his point of view there was no impediment to their bringing in
additional forces until Saturday morning (pp. 715-747).
Also present at that same meeting were the Deputy Chief of
Staff, Mossad representative A, the divisional intelligence officer
(who took the minutes of the meeting) and other Israeli officers;
and there is no need to go into details here of their testimony on
this matter, since the things they said generally agree with what
has already been detailed above. We would add only that in the
matter of the tractors, the Mossad representative recommended
to the Chief of Staff that tractors be given to the Phalangists;
but at the conclusion of the meeting, an order was given to
supply them with just one tractor and to remove I.D.F. markings
from the tractor. The one tractor supplied later was not used and
was returned immediately by the Phalangists, who had their own
tractors which they used in the camps that same night and the
following morning.
It is clear from all the testimony that no explicit question was
posed to the Phalangist commanders concerning the rumors or
reports which had arrived until then regarding treatment of the
civilian population in the camps. The Phalangist commanders, for
their part, didn’t “volunteer” any reports of this type, and this
matter was therefore not discussed at all at that meeting. The
subject of the Phalangists’ conduct toward those present in the
camps did not come up at all at that meeting, nor was there any
criticism or warning on this matter.
During the evening, between 18:00-20:00 hours, Foreign
Ministry personnel in Beirut and in Israel began receiving various
reports from U.S. representatives that the Phalangists had been
seen in the camps and that their presence was liable to lead to
undesirable results – as well as complaints about actions by
I.D.F. soldiers in the hospital building in Beirut. The Foreign
Ministry personnel saw to the clarification of the complaints, and
the charges against I.D.F. soldiers turned out to be
unfounded.
After the Chief of Staff returned to Israel, he called the Defense
Minister between 20:00-21:00 hours and spoke with him about
his visit to Beirut. According to the Defense Minister’s
testimony, the Chief of Staff told him in that conversation that
he had just returned from Beirut and that “in the course of the
Phalangists’ actions in the camps, the Christians had harmed the
civilian population more than was expected.” According to the
Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff used the expression that the
Lebanese Forces had “gone too far,” and that therefore their
activity had been stopped in the afternoon, the entry of
additional forces had been prevented, and an order had been
given to the Phalangists to remove their forces from the camps
by 5:00 a.m. the following morning. The Defense Minister added
that the Chief of Staff also mentioned that civilians had been
killed (testimony of the Defense Minister, pp. 293-294).
According to the Defense Minister’s statements, this was the
first report that reached him of irregular activity by the
Phalangists in the refugee camps. The Chief of Staff did not
confirm that he had told the Defense Minister all the above.
According to him, he told the Defense Minister that the
Phalangists had carried out their assignment, that they had
stopped, and that they were under pressure from the Americans
and would leave by 5:00 a.m. does not recall that he mentioned
disorderly behaviour by the Phalangists, but he is sure he did not
speak of a massacre, killing or the like. When the Chief of Staff
was asked whether the Defense Minister had asked him
questions in that same conversation, his reply was that he didn’t
remember (p. 242). In his second round of testimony, the Chief
of Staff said that it was possible and also reasonable that he had
told the Defense Minister the content of what he had heard from
Major General Drori, although he reiterated that he didn’t recall
every word that was said in that same conversation (pp.
1687-1688). At the conclusion of his second round of
testimony, the Chief of Staff denied that there had been
discussion, in the telephone conversation with the Defense
Minister, of killing beyond what had been expected (p.
1692).
This conversation was not recorded by anyone, and the two
interlocutors testified about it from memory. It is our opinion
that the Defense Minister’s version of that same conversation is
more accurate than the Chief of Staff’s version. It is our
determination that the Chief of Staff did tell the Defense
Minister about the Phalangists’ conduct, and that from his words
the Defense Minister could have understood, and did understand,
that the Phalangists had carried out killings of civilians in the
camps. Our opinion finds confirmation in that, according to all
the material which has been brought before us in evidence, the
Defense Minister had not received any report of killings in the
camps until that same telephone conversation; but after that
conversation, the Defense Minister knew that killings had been
carried out in the camps – as is clear from a later conversation
between him and Mr. Ron Ben-Yishai, which we will discuss
further on.
On Friday at approximately 4:00 p.m., when the television
military correspondent Mr. Ron Ben-Yishai was at the airport in
Beirut, he heard from several I.D.F. officers about killings in the
camps. These officers were not speaking from personal
knowledge, but rather according to what they had heard from
others. Likewise, he saw Phalangist forces comprising about
500-600 men deployed at the airport. The Phalangist officer with
whom Mr. Ben-Yishai spoke at that time told him that the
Phalangist forces were going to the camps to fight the terrorists,
so as to remove the terrorists and the arms caches in the camps.
Asked what explanation had been given to the soldiers, the
officer replied that it had been explained to them that they must
behave properly and that they would harm their image if they
didn’t behave in the war like soldiers in all respects. He heard
members of the forces in the field shouting condemnations and
making threatening motions toward Palestinians, but he attached
no importance to this, since he had encountered this
phenomenon many times, during the war. Mr Ben-Yishai went
from the airport to Baabda; and there, at 8:30 p.m., he heard
from various officers that they had heard about people being
executed by the Phalangists. At 23:30 hours, Mr. BenYishai
called up the Defense Minister and told him that a story was
circulating that the Phalangists were doing unacceptable things
in the camps. To the Defense Minister’s questions, Mr.
Ben-Yishai replied that he had heard this story from people he
knew who had heard about civilians being killed by the
Phalangists. The Defense Minister did not react to these words
(statement 10 by Mr. Ben-Yishai, and testimony by the Defense
Minister, p. 298). According to the Defense Minister, what he
heard from Mr. Ron Ben-Yishai was nothing new to him, since he
had already heard earlier about killings from the Chief of Staff-,
and he also knew that as a result of the report, entry by
additional forces had been halted and an order had been given to
the Phalangists to leave the camps (p. 298).
In concluding the description of the events of Thursday and
Friday, it should be noted that no information on the reports
which had arrived during those two days regarding the
Phalangists’ deeds, as these were detailed above, was given to
the Prime Minister during those same two days. It should also be
added that on Friday evening, there were several calls from U.S.
representatives complaining about entry by Phalangist forces and
about the consequences which might ensue, as well as about
actions that had been taken in other parts of West Beirut.
Foreign Ministry personnel handled these complaints, and a
summary of them was also sent to the situation room at the
Defense Ministry and was brought to the Defense Minister’s
attention at approximately 22:00 hours.

 

The Departure of the Phalangists and the Reports of the
Massacre
The Phalangists did not leave by 5:00 a.m. on Saturday,
18.9.82. Between 6:30-7:00 a.m., a group of Phalangist soldiers
entered the Gaza Hospital, which is located at the end of the
Sabra camp and which is run by the Palestinian Red Crescent
organization. These soldiers took a group of doctors and nurses,
foreign nationals working in that same hospital, out of the
hospital and led them under armed escort via Sabra St. We heard
from three members of the group, Drs. Ang and Morris and the
nurse Ellen Siegel, about what happened in that hospital from the
time of Bashir’s murder until Saturday morning. As this group
passed along Sabra St., the witnesses saw several corpses on
both sides of the street, and groups of people sitting on both
sides of the street with armed soldiers guarding them. The
members of the group also saw bulldozers moving along Sabra
St. and entering the camp’s alleyways. The group of doctors and
nurses arrived, with those who were leading them, at a plaza at
the end of Sabra St.; they passed by the Kuwaiti Embassy
building and were brought into a former U.N. building by their
guards. There several members of the group were interrogated
by the Phalangists, but the interrogation was halted, their
passports restored to them, and they were taken to a building
where there were I.D.F. soldiers – that is, the forward command
post. After a while, the members of the group were taken by
I.D.F. soldiers to another part of Beirut, where they were
released; and several of them, at their request, returned to the
hospital after receiving from one of the I.D.F. officers a
document which was meant to grant them passage as far as the
hospital. We will return again later to the testimony of three of
the members of this group.
When Brigadier General Yaron realized that the Phalangists had
not left the camps by 06:30 hours, he gave the Phalangist
commander on the scene an order that they must vacate the
camps without delay. This order was obeyed, and the last of the
Phalangist forces left the camps at approximately 8:00 a.m.
Afterwards there was an “announcement” – that is, it was
declared over loudspeakers that people located in the area must
come out and assemble in a certain place, and all those who
came out were led to the stadium. There, refugees from the
camps gathered, and the I.D.F. gave them food and water. In the
meantime, reports circulated about the massacre in the camps,
and many journalists and media personnel arrived in the
area.
The Chief of Staff testified before us that on Saturday morning,
the Prime Minister phoned him and told him that the Americans
had called him and complained that the Phalangists had entered
the Gaza Hospital and were killing patients, doctors, and staff
workers there. The Chief of Staff’s reply was that as far as he
knew, there was no hospital called “Gaza” in the western part of
the city, but he would look into the matter. At his order, an
investigation was conducted in the Northern Command and also
in the Operations Branch, and the reply he received was that
there was indeed a hospital called “Gaza” but that no killings had
been perpetrated, and he so informed the Prime Minister.
According to the Chief of Staff’s initial testimony, the Prime
Minister called him on this matter at approximately 10:00 a.m.
(p. 243). In his second round of testimony, when the Chief of
Staff was presented with the fact that the Prime Minister was in
synagogue at 8:00 a.m. on that same Saturday, the first day of
the Rosh Hashana holiday, the Chief of Staff said that the first
telephone conversation with the Prime Minister had apparently
taken place at an earlier hour of the morning. The Prime Minister
stated in his testimony that he had gone to synagogue at
8:15-8:30 hours, returning at 13:15-13:30 hours; that he had
had no conversation with the Chief of Staff before going to
synagogue; that there had been no American call to him
regarding the Gaza Hospital; and therefore, the conversations
regarding the Gaza Hospital about which the Chief of Staff
testified (pp. 771-772) had not taken place. The Defense
Minister testified that the Chief of Staff apparently spoke with
him by phone between 9:00-10:00 on Saturday morning and told
him that the Prime Minister had called his attention to some
occurrence at the Gaza Hospital; but the Defense Minister was
not sure that such a conversation had indeed taken place, and
said that he things that there was such a conversation (p. 300).
We see no need, for the purpose of determining the facts in this
investigation, to decide between the two contradictory versions
regarding the conversations about Gaza hospital. We assume
that the contradictions are not deliberate, but stem from faulty
memory, which is understandable in view of the dramatic turn of
events taking place in those days.
On Saturday, the Defense Minister received additional reports
about the acts of slaughter. He heard from the Director-General
of the Foreign ministry, Mr Kimche, that Ambassador Draper had
called him to say that I.D.F. soldiers had entered banks on the
Street of Banks and that Palestinians had been massacred. It
emerged that the report about the entry into the banks was
incorrect. Regarding the report about the massacre, the Defense
Minister’s reply to the Foreign Ministry Director-General, which
was given at about 13:00 hours, was that the Phalangists’
operation had been stopped, the entry of additional forces
blocked, and all the forces in the camps had been expelled. At
15:00 hours, Major General Drori spoke with the Defense
Minister and told him about the reports concerning the massacre,
adding that the Phalangists had already left the camps and that
the Red Cross and the press were inside (testimony of Maj. Gen.
Drori, pp. 428-429). At about 17:00 hours, Major General Drori
met with a representative of the Lebanese army and appealed to
him to have the Lebanese army enter the camps. The
representative of the Lebanese army replied that he had to get
approval for such a move. Between 21:30 and 22:00 hours the
reply was received that the Lebanese army would enter the
camps. Its entry into the camps was effected on Sunday,
19.9.82.
After the Phalangists had left the camps, Red Cross personnel,
many journalists and other persons entered them, and it then
became apparent that in the camps, and particularly in Shatilla,
civilians – including women and children -had been massacred. It
was clear from the spectacle that presented itself that a
considerable number of the killed had not been cut down in
combat but had been murdered, and that no few acts of
barbarism had also been perpetrated. These sights shocked those
who witnessed them; the reports were circulated by the media
and spread throughout the world. Although for the most part the
reports said that the massacre had been executed by members of
the Phalangists, accusations were immediately hurled at the
I.D.F. and at the State of Israel, since, according to the reports
published at that time, the Phalangists’ entry into the camps had
been carried out with the aid and consent of the I.D.F. On
Saturday and the days following, the I.D.F. refrained as far as
possible from entering the camps, for fear that should any I.D.F.
soldiers be seen there, accusations would be forthcoming about
their participation in the massacre. The burial of the dead was
carried out under the supervision of the Red Cross, and the
victims’ families also engaged in their burial.
It is impossible to determine precisely the number of persons
who were slaughtered. The numbers cited in this regard are to a
large degree tendentious and are not based on an exact count by
persons whose reliability can be counted on. The low estimate
came from sources connected with the Government of Lebanon
or with the Lebanese Forces. The letter (exhibit 153) of the head
of the Red Cross delegation to the Minister of Defense stated
that Red Cross representatives had counted 328 bodies. This
figure, however, does not include all the bodies, since it is
known that a number of families buried bodies on their own
initiative without reporting their actions to the Red Cross. The
forces who engaged in the operation removed bodies in trucks
when they left Shatilla, and it is possible that more bodies are
lying under the ruins in the camps or in the graves that were dug
by the assailants near the camps. The letter noted that the Red
Cross also had a list of 359 persons who had disappeared in
West Beirut between 18 August and 20 September, with most
of the missing having disappeared from Sabra and Shatilla in
mid-September. According to a document which reached us
(exhibit 151), the total number of victims whose bodies were
found from 18.9.82 to 30.9.82 is 460. This figure includes the
dead counted by the Lebanese Red Cross, the International Red
Cross, the Lebanese Civil Defense, the medical corps of the
Lebanese army, and by relatives of the victims. According to this
count, the 460 victims included 109 Lebanese and 328
Palestinians, along with Iranians, Syrians and members of other
nationalities. According to the itemization of the bodies in this
list, the great majority of the dead were males; as for women
and children, there were 8 Lebanese women and 12 Lebanese
children, and 7 Palestinian women and 8 Palestinian children.
Reports from Palestinian sources speak of a far greater number
of persons killed, sometimes even of thousands. With respect to
the number of victims, it appears that we can rely neither on the
numbers appearing in the document from Lebanese sources, nor
on the numbers originating in Palestinian sources. A further
difficulty in determining the number of victims stems from the
fact that it is difficult to distinguish between victims of combat
operations and victims of acts of slaughter. We cannot rule out
the possibility that various reports included also victims of
combat operations from the period antedating the assassination
of Bashir. Taking into account the fact that Red Cross personnel
counted no more that 328 bodies, it would appear that the
number of victims of the massacre was not as high as a
thousand, and certainly not thousands.
According to I.D.F. intelligence sources, the number of victims of
the massacre is between 700 and 800 (testimony of the director
of Military Intelligence, pp. 139-140). This may well be the
number most closely corresponding with reality. It is impossible
to determine precisely when the acts of slaughter were
perpetrated; evidently they commenced shortly after the
Phalangists entered the camps and went on intermittently until
close to their departure.
According to the testimony we heard, no report of the slaughter
in the camps was made to the Prime Minister on Saturday, with
the possible exception of the events in the Gaza Hospital,
regarding which we made no finding. The Prime Minister heard
about the massacre on a B.B.C. radio broadcast towards evening
on Saturday. He immediately contacted the Chief of Staff and
the Defense Minister, who informed him that the actions had
been halted and that the Phalangists had been removed from the
camps (p. 771).
When a public furor erupted in Israel and abroad in the wake of
the reports about the massacre, and accusations were levelled
that the I.D.F. and Haddad’s men had taken part in the massacre,
several communiqués were issued by the I.D.F. and the Foreign
Ministry which contained incorrect and imprecise statements
about the events. These communiqués asserted explicitly or
implied that the Phalangists’ entry into the camps had been
carried out without the knowledge of – or coordination with – the
I.D.F. The incorrect statements were subsequently amended, and
it was stated publicly that the Phalangists’ entry into the camps
had been coordinated with the I.D.F. There is no doubt that the
publication of incorrect and imprecise reports intensified the
suspicions against Israel and caused it harm.
After the end of the Rosh Hashanah holy day, at 21:00 hours on
Sunday, 19.9.82, a Cabinet meeting took place at the Prime
Minister’s residence with the participation of, in addition to the
Cabinet members, the Chief of Staff, the head of the Mossad,
the director of Military Intelligence, Major General Drori, and
others. The subject discussed in that meeting was “the events in
West Beirut – the murder of civilians in the Shatilla camp”
(minutes of the meeting, Exhibit 121). At that meeting the Prime
Minister, the Minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff and Major
General Drori reported on the course of events. The Defense
Minister stressed that the I.D.F. had not entered the camps,
which were terrorist bastions, because it was our interest not to
endanger even on soldier in the camps (p. 5, minutes of the
meeting). He added that on the day following the entry, “when
we learned what had taken place there, the I.D.F. intervened
immediately and removed those forces” (p. 6). According to him
(p. 7) no one had imagined that the Phalangists would commit
such acts. It his remarks, the Chief of Staff stressed, among
other points, that in previous Cabinet meetings various Ministers
had asked why the Phalangists were not fighting – after all, this
was their war. He, too, noted that no one could have known in
advance how the Phalangists would behave, and in his view even
the Phalangists’ commanders did not know what would happen,
but had lost control of their men. The Chief of Staff added that
“the moment we learned how they were behaving there, we
exerted all the pressure we could, we removed them from there
and we expelled them from the entire sector” (pp. 9, 10). Major
General Drori said that even before the Phalangists entered the
camps, “we made them swear, not one oath but thousands,
regarding their operation there. There was also their assurance
that the kind of actions that were committed would not be
committed. The moment it became clear to us what had
happened, we halted the operation and demanded that they get
out – and they got out.” Major General Drori also told about the
group of 15 persons, among them doctors, whom the I.D.F. had
extricated from the hands of the Phalangists, thus preventing a
major complication. He gave details of his appeal to the heads of
the Lebanese army that they agree to enter the camps, and
about the negative replies he had received (pp. 18-22).
Afterward the Chief of Staff spoke again, and according to the
recorded minutes (p. 25) he said as follows:
“On Friday, I met with them at around noon, at their command
post. We did not yet know what had happened there. In the
morning we knew that they had killed civilians, so we ordered
them to get out and we did not allow others to enter. But they
did not say they had killed civilians, and they did not say how
many civilians they had killed; they did not say
anything…”
In his second testimony the Chief of Staff explained that by his
words, “in the morning we knew they had killed civilians,” he
was referring to reports that existed on Saturday morning and
not to the reports that existed Friday morning, as might have
perhaps been understood (p. 1665). The remarks quoted above
are not unequivocal; they are ambivalent. We accept the Chief of
Staff’s explanation that he was not referring to the reports in his
possession on Friday, but to the reports that reached him on
Saturday morning. This interpretation of the Chief of Staff’s
remarks is consistent with his other statements in this section of
his remarks.
Several remarks were made in that meeting by the Prime
Minister, who opened the session with a general survey in which
he complained about accusations – in his view unfounded – which
had been levelled against Israel. Various ministers took part in
the discussion. In response to the remark of Minister Modai that
the Prime Minister had spoken of “protecting life” as one of the
goals of the entry into West Beirut, the Prime Minister stated (p.
73, exhibit 121):
“That was our pure and genuine intention. That night I also
spoke of this with the Chief of Staff. I told him that we must
seize positions precisely to protect the Muslims from the
vengeance of the Phalangists. I could assume that after the
assassination of Bashir, their beloved leader, they would take
revenge on the Muslims.”
To this, Minister Hammer commented that “if we suspected that
they would commit murder, we should have thought before we
let them enter.” The Prime Minister’s reply was, “In the
meantime days have passed. What are you objecting to? At night
I said that we must prevent this.” When in the course of his
testimony the Prime Minister’s attention was drawn to these
remarks of his – that on the night when the decision about the
entry into West Beirut was taken, he had spoken with the Chief
of Staff about the goal “to protect the Muslims from the
vengeance of the Phalangists” – he confirmed having said this,
although he had not known at that time that the Phalangists
would enter the camps (p. 764). In the Cabinet meeting of
19.9.82 the Chief of Staff did not react to these remarks by the
Prime Minister, and did not deny them. In his second testimony
the Chief of Staff said that in the conversation between him and
the Prime Minister that night, the Prime Minister might have said
“that there must be no rioting… they must not cross over or flee
or not do things like… crossing from side to side”; but the Prime
Minister had not gone into any greater detail (p. 1690). Since
that night conversation was not taken down and it is difficult to
rely on the memory of the conversants regarding the accuracy of
what was said, we cannot determine with certainty what the
Prime Minister said at that time, except for the fact that he
mentioned that one of the purposes of the entry was to prevent
rioting. The meeting concluded with a resolution to issue a
communique expressing deep regret and pain at the injuries to a
civilian population done by a Lebanese unit which had entered a
refugee camp “at a place distant from an I. D.F. position.” The
resolution added that “immediately after learning about what had
happened in the Shatilla camp, the I.D.F. had put a stop to the
murder of innocent civilians and had forced the Lebanese unit to
leave the camp.” It was stressed in the resolution that the
accusations regarding I.D.F. responsibility for the human tragedy
in the Shatilla camp were in the nature of “a blood libel against
the Jewish state and its Government,” were groundless, and
“the Government rejects them with repugnance.” The resolution
also stated that had it not been for the intervention of the I.D.F.,
the number of losses would have been far greater, and that it
had been found that the terrorists had violated the evacuation
agreement by leaving 2,000 terrorists and vast stocks of
weapons in West Beirut. The resolution concludes:
“No one will preach to us moral values or respect for human life,
on whose basis we were educated and will continue to educate
generations of fighters in Israel.”
The furor that erupted in the wake of the massacre, and various
accusations that were levelled, led those concerned to carry out
debriefings and clarifications. A clarification of this kind was
carried out on behalf of the General Staff (exhibit 239) and in the
office of the director of Military Intelligence (exhibit 29 from
October 1982). The summation of the Military Intelligence report
states that “it emerges from a retrospective examination that the
telephone report… had its source in a rumour/’gut feeling’ that
the (Intelligence Officer A) had happened to overhear, and that
he himself was unable to verify that rumor in his on-site
examinations, or in reaction to the briefings he had received…”
The cable in question is Appendix A to Exhibit 29, which has
already been quoted above; and from what has already been said
above it is clear that it was not based on a “gut feeling.” This
investigative report contains other inaccuracies, which we shall
note when we come to discuss the responsibility of Mr. A.
Duda’i. A more detailed clarification was carried out in a Senior
Command Meeting (SCM) with the participation of the Chief of
Staff. The minutes of that meeting were submitted to us (exhibit
241). At that meeting, the Chief of Staff said, inter alia, that
whereas prior to the I. D.F.’s entry into Lebanon atrocities had
been perpetrated throughout that country, after the I.D.F.’s entry
“the Phalangists did not commit any excesses officially and did
nothing that could have indicated any danger from them,” and
they looked to him to be a regular, disciplined army. In his
remarks the Chief of Staff also stressed the pressure from
various elements for the Phalangists to take part in the combat
operations. Major General Drori related the course of events from
his point of view, which in general lines is consistent with what
he related in his testimony before us. He said, inter alia, that he
had originally wanted the I.D.F. or the Lebanese army to enter
the camps, and that he did not concur in the considerations
which had led to the decision regarding the entry of the
Phalangists. Major General Drori was asked by one of the
participants why a tractor had been needed, and he replied that
there was a plan of the Lebanese administration, including the
Phalangists and the Lebanese army, to destroy all the illegal
structures, including the many structures in the camps. Brigadier
General Yaron also related the course of events. He said, inter
alia, that when he had been informed by the command that
approval had come to let the Christians into the refugee camp he
had expressed no opposition or reservation, but had been quite
pleased because it was clear to him that this camp contained
many terrorists and the battalion had come under quite heavy fire
from it. Brigadier General Yaron stressed that he had warned the
Phalangists not to harm civilians, women, children, old people or
anyone raising his hands, but to clean out the terrorists from the
camps, with the civilians to go to the area of the stadium. He
said that until Saturday morning he did not know what was
happening and when he saw the group of doctors and nurses,
they had not told him about the acts of slaughter either.
Following a quite lengthy debate, Brigadier General Yaron
responded to the remarks of the participants by stating, inter alia
(pp. 85 to 87, exhibit 241):
“The mistake, as I see it, the mistake is everyone’s. The entire
system showed insensitivity. I am speaking now of the military
system. I am not speaking about the political system. The whole
system manifested insensitivity…
“On this point everyone showed insensitivity, pure and simple.
Nothing else. So you start asking me, what exactly did you feel
in your gut on Friday… I did badly, I admit it. I did badly. I
cannot, how is it possible that a divisional commander – and I
think this applies to the Division Commander and up – how is it
possible that a Division Commander is in the field and does not
know that 300, 400, 500 or a thousand, I don’t know how
many, are being murdered here? If he’s like that, let him go. How
can such a thing be”? But why didn’t he know? Why was he
oblivious? That’s why he didn’t know and that’s why he didn’t
stop it… but I take myself to task…
“I admit here, from this rostrum, we were all insensitive, that’s
all.”
At the conclusion of his remarks, the Chief of Staff stressed that
if the I.D.F. had provided the Phalangists with the tank and
artillery support they had requested, far more people would have
been killed (p. 121).
On 28.9.82 a Senior Command Meeting was held with the
Defense Minister, who related the course of events from his
point of view. His remarks at that meeting are consistent with
what we heard in his testimony. Several senior I.D.F. officers
expressed their views at that meeting (exhibit 242).

 

The Responsibility for the Massacre
In this section of the report, we shall deal with the issue of the
responsibility for the massacre from two standpoints: first from
the standpoint of direct responsibility – i.e., who actually
perpetrated the massacre – and then we shall examine the
problem of indirect responsibility, to the extent that this applies
to Israel or those who acted on its behalf.

 

The Direct Responsibility
According to the above description of events, all the evidence
indicates that the massacre was perpetrated by the Phalangists
between the time they entered the camps on Thursday,
16.9.82,. at 18:00 hours, and their departure from the camps on
Saturday, 18.9.82, at approximately 8:00 a.m. The victims were
found in those areas where the Phalangists were in military
control during the aforementioned time period. No other military
force aside from the Phalangists was seen by any one of the
witnesses in the area of the camps where the massacre was
carried out, or at the time of the entrance into or exit from this
area. The camps were surrounded on all sides: on three sides by
I.D.F. forces, and on the fourth side was a city line (that divided
between East and West Beirut) that was under Phalangist
control. Near the point of entry to the camps a Lebanese army
force was encamped, and their men did not see any military
force besides the Phalangist one enter the camps. It can be
stated with certainty that no organized military force entered the
camps at the aforementioned time besides the Phalangist
forces.
As we have said, we heard testimony from two doctors and a
nurse who worked in the Gaza hospital, which was run by and
for Palestinians. There is no cause to suspect that any of these
witnesses have any special sympathy of Israel, and it is clear to
us – both from their choosing that place of employment and from
our impression of their appearance before us – that they
sympathize with the Palestinians and desired to render service to
Palestinians in need. From these witnesses’ testimony as well it
is clear that the armed military unit that took them out of the
hospital on Saturday morning and brought them to the building
that formerly belonged to the U.N. was a Phalangist unit. The
witness Ms. Siegel did indeed tell of a visit to the hospital at
7:00 p.m. on Friday evening of two men dressed in civilian
clothes who spoke to the staff in German, and she hinted at the
possibility that perhaps they were Sephardic Jews; but this
assumption has no basis in fact, and it can be explained by her
tendentiousness. Ms. Siegel even said that these men looked like
Arabs (pp. 499-500). It is clear that these men did not belong to
an armed force that penetrated the camps at the time. The two
doctors Ang and Morris did not see any other military force aside
from the Phalangists, who presented themselves as soldiers of a
Lebanese force. Dr. Ang also saw soldiers with a band with the
letters M.P. in red on it. There is evidence that some of the
Phalangist units who came to the camps wore tags with the
letters M.P., and along the route the Phalangists travelled to the
camps, road directions containing the letters M.P. were drawn.
To be sure, Dr. Morris did not say specifically that the armed
men who came to the hospital were Phalangists, but he
described their uniforms, which bore Arabic inscriptions, and also
heard them talking among themselves in Arabic and with
someone from the hospital staff in French. Dr. Morris does not
read Arabic, but Ms. Siegel, who does read Arabic, testified that
the Arabic inscription was the one that signifies Phalangists.
Therefore, the testimony of these three witnesses also indicates
that the only military force seen in the area was a Phalangist
one. A similar conclusion can be drawn from the statement of
Norwegian journalist John Harbo (no. 62).
In the course of the events and also thereafter, rumors spread
that personnel of Major Haddad were perpetrating a massacre or
participating in a massacre. No basis was found for these
rumors. The I.D.F. liaison officer with Major Haddad’s forces
testified that no unit of that force had crossed the Awali River
that week. We have no reason to doubt that testimony. As we
have already noted, the relations between the Phalangists and
the forces of Major Haddad were poor, and friction existed
between those two forces. For this reason, too, it is
inconceivable that a force from Major Haddad’s army took part in
military operations of the Phalangists in the camps, nor was
there any hint of such cooperation. Although three persons from
southern Lebanon – two of them from the Civil Guard in southern
Lebanon – were in West Beirut on Friday afternoon, and got
caught in the exchanges of fire between an I.D.F. unit and
Jumblatt’s militia, with one of them being killed in those
exchanges, this did not take place in the area of the camps; and
the investigation that was carried out showed that the three of
them had come to Beirut on a private visit. There is no indication
in this event that Haddad’s men were at the site where the
massacre was perpetrated. We can therefore assert that no force
under the command of Major Haddad took part in the
Phalangists’ operation in the camps, or took part in the
massacre.
It cannot be ruled out that the rumors about the participation of
Haddad’s men in the massacre also had their origin in the fact
that Major Haddad arrived at Beirut airport on Friday, 17.9.82.
From the testimony of the I.D.F. liaison officer with Major
Haddad’s forces, and from Major Haddad’s testimony, it is clear
that this visit by Major Haddad to the suburbs of Beirut and the
vicinity had no connection with the events that took place in the
camps. Major Haddad arrived at Beirut airport in an air force
helicopter at 8:30 a.m. on 17.9.82. The purpose of his visit was
to pay a condolence call on the Jemayel family at Bikfaya. At
the, airport he was met by three vehicles with members of his
escort party, who had arrived that morning from southern
Lebanon. En route, they were joined by another jeep with three
of Haddad’s commanders, who also arrived to pay a condolence
call. Major Haddad and his escorts paid their condolence visit at
Bikfaya, and then for security reasons returned via a different
route, arriving at the point where the road from Bikfaya meets
the coastal road. From there, Major Haddad, along with about
eight of his men, went to visit relatives of his in Jouniyeh.
Following that visit to his relative, Major Haddad returned that
same afternoon to his home in southern Lebanon, from where he
phoned the aforementioned liaison officer that evening.
Hints were made about the participation of Haddad’s men in the
massacre on the basis of a southern Lebanese accent which
several of the survivors mentioned, and they also said that a few
of the participants in the massacre had Moslem names. This,
too, does not constitute concrete evidence, since among the
Phalangist forces there were also Shiites – albeit not many – and
they were joined also by persons who had fled from southern
Lebanon.
We cannot rule out the possibility – although no evidence to this
effect was found either – that one of the men from Major
Haddad’s forces who was visiting in Beirut during the period
infiltrated into the camps, particularly in the interim period
between the departure of the Phalangists and the entry of the
Lebanese army, committed illegal acts there; but if this did
happen, no responsibility, either direct or indirect, is to be
imputed to the commanders of Major Haddad’s forces.
Here and there, hints, and even accusations, were thrown out to
the effect that I.D.F. soldiers were in the camps at the time the
massacre was perpetrated. We have no doubt that these notions
are completely groundless and constitute a baseless libel. One
witness, Mr. Franklin Pierce Lamb, of the United States,
informed us of the fact that on 22.9.82 a civilian I.D. card and a
military dogtag belonging to a soldier named Benny Haim Ben
Yosef, born on 9.7.61, were found in the Sabra camp. Following
that testimony, these details were investigated and it was found
that a soldier bearing that name was in hospital after having
undergone operations for wounds he sustained during the entry
into West Beirut. A statement was taken from this soldier in Tel
Hashomer Hospital. It emerged from his remarks that he is a
soldier in the battalion, he arrived in Beirut on Wednesday,
15.9.82, his unit was moving not far from the Shatilla camp and
was fired on; he was hit and the protective vest he was wearing
began to burn. A medic cut the vest with scissors and threw it to
the side of the road, as it contained grenades which were liable
to explode. Personal documents belonging to the soldier were in
the pocket of the vest. He was evacuated on a stretcher and
taken by helicopter to Rambam Hospital. Already in the initial
medical treatment his left arm was amputated; he was also
wounded in the legs and in his upper left hip. It is clear that he
was not in the camps at all. This testimony is confirmed by the
statement of the medic Amir Hasharoni (statement 117).
Evidently, someone who found the documents on the side of the
road brought them to the camp, where they were discovered.
The discovery of these documents belonging to an I.D.F. soldier
in the camp does not indicate that any I.D.F. soldiers were in the
camp while the massacre was being perpetrated.
Mr. Lamb also testified – not from personal knowledge but based
on what he had heard from others – that cluster bombs were
placed under bodies found in the camps, apparently as
booby-traps. According to the witness, the I.D.F. used cluster
bombs when the camps were shelled; these bombs exploded
easily and considerable caution is required in handling them, with
only specially trained people having the technical knowledge to
make use of these bombs as booby-traps. He raised the question
whether the Phalangists, or the forces of Major Haddad – if any
of them were in the camps – possessed the requisite technical
skills to make use of these bombs as booby-traps. This question
implies that the bombs were placed beneath the bodies by I.D.F.
personnel. That implication is totally without foundation. As
noted, Mr. Lamb had no personal knowledge regarding the use of
such bombs as booby-traps, and it would be extremely
far-fetched to view this section of Mr. Lamb’s testimony as
containing anything concrete pointing to direct involvement of
anyone from the I.D.F. in the massacre that was perpetrated in
the camps.
Following the massacre, the Phalangist commanders denied, in
various interviews in the media, that they had perpetrated the
massacre. On Sunday, 19.9.82, the Chief of Staff and Major
General Drori met with the Phalangist commanders. Notes of
that meeting were taken by a representative of the Mossad who
was present (exhibit 199). The Chief of Staff told the Phalangist
commanders that he had come from the camps, it was said that
a massacre had taken place there, and that for the sake of their
future they must admit to having perpetrated the acts and
explain the matter, otherwise they would have no future in
Lebanon. Their reaction was that if the Chief of Staff says they
must do so, they would. The Chief of Staff formed the
impression that they were bewildered, that it was possible that
they did not know what had happened in the camps and had no
control over their people there (testimony of the Chief of Staff,
p. 251). Even after that meeting the Phalangist heads continued
in their public appearances to deny any connection with the
massacre. That denial is patently incorrect.
Contentions and accusations were advanced that even if I.D.F.
personnel had not shed the blood of the massacred, the entry of
the Phalangists into the camps had been carried out with the
prior knowledge that a massacre would be perpetrated there and
with the intention that this should indeed take place; and
therefore all those who had enabled the entry of the Phalangists
into the camps should be regarded as accomplices to the acts of
slaughter and sharing in direct responsibility. These accusations
too are unfounded. We have no doubt that no conspiracy or plot
was entered into between anyone from the Israeli political
echelon or from the military echelon in the I.D.F. and the
Phalangists, with the aim of perpetrating atrocities in the camps.
The decision to have the Phalangists enter the camps was taken
with the aim of preventing further losses in the war in Lebanon;
to accede to the pressure of public opinion in Israel, which was
angry that the Phalangists, who were reaping the fruits of the
war, were taking no part in it; and to take advantage of the
Phalangists’ professional service and their skills in identifying
terrorists and in discovering arms caches. No intention existed on
the part of any Israeli element to harm the non-combatant
population in the camps. It is true that in the war in Lebanon,
and particularly during the siege of West Beirut, the civilian
population sustained losses, with old people, women and
children among the casualties, but this was the result of
belligerent actions which claim victims even among those who
do not fight. Before they entered the camps and also afterward,
the Phalangists requested I.D.F. support in the form of artillery
fire and tanks, but this request was rejected by the Chief of
Staff in order to prevent injuries to civilians. It is true that I.D.F.
tank fire was directed at sources of fire within the camps, but
this was in reaction to fire directed at the I.D.F. from inside the
camps. We assert that in having the Phalangists enter the
camps, no intention existed on the part of anyone who acted on
behalf of Israel to harm the non-combatant population, and that
the events that followed did not have the concurrence or assent
of anyone from the political or civilian echelon who was active
regarding the Phalangists’ entry into the camps.
It was alleged that the atrocities being perpetrated in the camps
were visible from the roof of the forward command post, that
the fact that they were being committed was also discernible
from the sounds emanating from the camps, and that the senior
I.D.F. commanders who were on the roof of the forward
command post for two days certainly saw or heard what was
going on in the camps. We have already determined above that
events in the camps, in the area where the Phalangists entered,
were not visible from the roof of the forward command post. It
has also been made clear that no sounds from which it could be
inferred that a massacre was being perpetrated in the camps
reached that place. It is true that certain reports did reach
officers at the forward command post – and we shall discuss
these in another section of this report – but from the roof of the
forward command post they neither saw the actions of the
Phalangists nor heard any sounds indicating that a massacre was
in progress.
Here we must add that when the group of doctors and nurses
met I.D.F. officers on Saturday morning, at a time when it was
already clear to them that they were out of danger, they made
no complaint that a massacre had been perpetrated in the camps.
When we asked the witnesses from the group why they had not
informed the 1. D. F. officers about the massacre, they replied
that they had not known about it. The fact that the doctors and
nurses who were in the Gaza Hospital – which is proximate to the
site of the event and where persons wounded in combative
action and frightened persons from the camps arrived – did not
know about the massacre, but only about isolated instances of
injury which they had seen for themselves, also shows that
those who were nearby but not actually inside the camps did not
form the impression, from what they saw and heard, that a
massacre of hundreds of people was taking place. Nor did
members of a unit of the Lebanese army who were stationed
near the places of entry into the camps know anything about the
massacre until after the Phalangists had departed.
Our conclusion is therefore that the direct responsibility for the
perpetration of the acts of slaughter rests on the Phalangist
forces. No evidence was brought before us that Phalangist
personnel received explicit orders from their command to
perpetrate acts of slaughter, but it is evident that the forces who
entered the area were steeped in hatred for the Palestinians, in
the wake of the atrocities and severe injuries done to the
Christians during the civil war in Lebanon by the Palestinians and
those who fought alongside them; and these feelings of hatred
were compounded by a longing for revenge in the wake of the
assassination of the Phalangists’ admired leader Bashir and the
killing of several dozen Phalangists two days before their entry
into the camps. The execution of acts of slaughter was approved
for the Phalangists on the site by the remarks of the two
commanders to whom questions were addressed over the radios,
as was related above.

 

The Indirect Responsibility
Before we discuss the essence of the problem of the indirect
responsibility of Israel, or of those who operated at its behest,
we perceive it to be necessary to deal with objections that have
been voiced on various occasions, according to which if Israel’s
direct responsibility for the atrocities is negated – i.e., if it is
determined that the blood of those killed was not shed by I.D.F.
soldiers and I.D.F. forces, or that others operating at the behest
of the state were not parties to the atrocities – then there is no
place for further discussion of the problem of indirect
responsibility. The argument is that no responsibility should be
laid on Israel for deeds perpetrated outside of its borders by
members of the Christian community against Palestinians in that
same country, or against Muslims located within the area of the
camps. A certain echo of this approach may be found in
statements made in the cabinet meeting of 19.9.82, and in
statements released to the public by various sources.
We cannot accept this position. If it indeed becomes clear that
those who decided on the entry of the Phalangists into the
camps should have foreseen – from the information at their
disposal and from things which were common knowledge – that
there was danger of a massacre, and no steps were taken which
might have prevented this danger or at least greatly reduced the
possibility that deeds of this type might be done, then those who
made the decisions and those who implemented them are
indirectly responsible for what ultimately occurred, even if they
did not intend this to happen and merely disregarded the
anticipated danger. A similar indirect responsibility also falls on
those who knew of the decision; it was their duty, by virtue of
their position and their office, to warn of the danger, and they
did not fulfill this duty. It is also not possible to absolve of such
indirect responsibility those persons who, when they received
the first reports of what was happening in the camps, did not
rush to prevent the continuation of the Phalangists’ actions and
did not do everything within their power to stop them. It is not
our function as a commission of inquiry to lay a precise legal
foundation for such indirect responsibility. It may be that from a
legal perspective, the issue of responsibility is not unequivocal,
in view of the lack of clarity regarding the status of the State of
Israel and its forces in Lebanese territory. If the territory of West
Beirut may be viewed at the time of the events as occupied
territory – and we do not determine that such indeed is the case
from a legal perspective – then it is the duty of the occupier,
according to the rules of usual and customary international law,
to do all it can to ensure the public’s well-being and security.
Even if these legal norms are invalid regarding the situation in
which the Israeli government and the forces operating at its
instructions found themselves at the time of the events, still, as
far as the obligations applying to every civilized nation and the
ethical rules accepted by civilized peoples go, the problem of
indirect responsibility cannot be disregarded. A basis for such
responsibility may be found in the outlook of our ancestors,
which was expressed in things that were said about the moral
significance of the biblical portion concerning the “beheaded
heifer” (in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 21). It is said in
Deuteronomy (21:6-7) that the elders of the city who were near
the slain victim who has been found (and it is not known who
struck him down) “will wash their hands over the beheaded
heifer in the valley and reply: our hands did not shed this blood
and our eyes did not see.” Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi says of this
verse (Talmud, Tractate Sota 38b):
“The necessity for the heifer whose neck is to be broken only
arises on account of the niggardliness of spirit, as it is said, ‘Our
hands have not shed this blood.’ But can it enter our minds that
the elders of a Court of Justice are shedders of blood! The
meaning is, [the man found dead] did not come to us for help and
we dismissed him, we did not see him and let him go – i.e., he
did not come to us for help and we dismissed him without
supplying him with food, we did not see him and let him go
without escort.” (Rashi explains that escort means a group that
would accompany them; Sforno, a commentator from a later
period, says in his commentary on Deuteronomy, “that there
should not be spectators at the place, for if there were
spectators there, they would protest and speak out.’)
When we are dealing with the issue of indirect responsibility, it
should also not be forgotten that the Jews in various lands of
exile, and also in the Land of Israel when it was under foreign
rule, suffered greatly from pogroms perpetrated by various
hooligans; and the danger of disturbances against Jews in
various lands, it seems evident, has not yet passed. The Jewish
public’s stand has always been that the responsibility for such
deeds falls not only on those who rioted and committed the
atrocities, but also on those who were responsible for safety and
public order, who could have prevented the disturbances and did
not fulfill their obligations in this respect. It is true that the
regimes of various countries, among them even enlightened
countries, have side-stepped such responsibility on more than
one occasion and have not established inquiry commissions to
investigate the issue of indirect responsibility, such as that about
which we are speaking; but the development of ethical norms in
the world public requires that the approach to this issue be
universally shared, and that the responsibility be placed not just
on the perpetrators, but also on those who could and should
have prevented the commission of those deeds which must be
condemned.
We would like to note here that we will not enter at all into the
question of indirect responsibility of other elements besides the
State of Israel. One might argue that such indirect responsibility
falls, inter alia, on the Lebanese army, or on the Lebanese
government to whose orders this army was subject, since
despite Major General Drori’s urgings in his talks with the heads
of the Lebanese army, they did not grant Israel’s request to enter
the camps before the Phalangists or instead of the Phalangists,
until 19.9.82. It should also be noted that in meetings with U.S.
representatives during the critical days, Israel’s spokesmen
repeatedly requested that the U.S. use its influence to get the
Lebanese Army to fulfill the function of maintaining public peace
and order in West Beirut, but it does not seem that these
requests had any result. One might also make charges
concerning the hasty evacuation of the multi-national force by
the countries whose troops were in place until after the
evacuation of the terrorists. We will also not discuss the
question of when other elements besides Israeli elements first
learned of the massacre, and whether they did all they could to
stop it or at least to immediately bring the reports in their
possession to Israeli and other elements. We do not view it as
our function to discuss these issues, which perhaps should be
clarified in another framework; we will only discuss the issue of
Israel’s indirect responsibility, knowing that if this responsibility
is determined, it is not an exclusive responsibility laid on Israel
alone.
Here it is appropriate to discuss the question whether blame may
be attached regarding the atrocities done in the camps to those
who decided on the entry into West Beirut and on including the
Phalangists in actions linked to this entry.
As has already been said above, the decision to enter West
Beirut was adopted in conversations held between the Prime
Minister and the Defense Minister on the night between 14-15
September 1982. No claim may be made that this decision was
adopted by these two alone without convening a cabinet
session. On that same night, an extraordinary emergency
situation was created which justified immediate and concerted
action to prevent a situation which appeared undesirable and
even dangerous from Israel’s perspective. There is great sense in
the supposition that had I.D.F. troops not entered West Beirut, a
situation of total chaos and battles between various combat
forces would have developed, and the number of victims among
the civilian population would have been far greater than it
ultimately was. The Israeli military force was the only real force
nearby which could take control over West Beirut so as to
maintain the peace and prevent a resumption of hostile actions
between various militias and communities. The Lebanese army
could have performed a function in the refugee camps, but it did
not then have the power to enforce order in all of West Beirut.
Under these circumstances it could be assumed that were I.D.F.
forces not to enter West Beirut, various atrocities would be
perpetrated there in the absence of any real authority; and it may
be that world public opinion might then have placed
responsibility on Israel for having refrained from action.
Both the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister based the
participation of the Phalangists in the entry into West Beirut on
the Cabinet resolution adopted at the session of 15.6.82. We are
unable to accept this reasoning. Although there was much talk in
the meeting of 15.6.82 (Exhibit 53) about the plan that the
I.D.F. would not enter West Beirut, and that the entry would be
effected by the Phalangists with support from the I.D.F. – but the
situation then was wholly different from the one that emerged
subsequently. During the discussion of 15.6.82 the terrorists
and Syrian forces had not yet been evacuated from West Beirut,
and the entire military picture was different from the one that
developed after the evacuation was executed and after Bashir’s
assassination. However, even if the Phalangists’ participation
was not based on a formal Cabinet resolution of 15.6.82, we
found no cause to raise objections to that participation in the
circumstances that were created after Bashir’s assassination. We
wish to stress that we are speaking now only of the Phalangists’
participation in connection with the entry into West Beirut, and
not about the role they were to play in the camps.
The demand made in Israel to have the Phalangists take part in
the fighting was a general and understandable one; and political,
and to some extent military, reasons existed for such
participation. The general question of relations with the
Phalangists and cooperation with them is a saliently political one,
regarding which there may be legitimate differences of opinion
and outlook. We do not find it justified to assert that the
decision on this participation was unwarranted or that it should
not have been made.
It is a different question whether the decision to have the
Phalangists enter the camps was justified in the circumstances
that were created. From the description of events cited above
and from the testimony before us, it is clear that this decision
was taken by the Minister of Defense with the concurrence of
the Chief of Staff and that the Prime Minister did not know of it
until the Cabinet session in the evening hours of 16.9.82. We
shall leave to another section of this report – which will deal with
the personal responsibility of all those to whom notices were
sent under Section 15(A) of the law – the discussion of whether
personal responsibility devolves upon the Defense Minister or the
Chief of Staff for what happened afterward in the camps in the
wake of the decision to have the Phalangists enter them. Here
we shall discuss only the question of whether it was possible or
necessary to foresee that the entry of the Phalangists into the
camps, with them in control of the area where the Palestinian
population was to be found, was liable to eventuate in a
massacre, as in fact finally happened.
The heads of Government in Israel and the heads of the I.D.F.
who testified before us were for the most part firm in their view
that what happened in the camps was an unexpected
occurrence, in the nature of a disaster which no one had of
hostile actions between various militias and communities. The
Lebanese army could have performed a function in the refugee
camps, but it did not then have the power to enforce order in all
of West Beirut. Under these circumstances it could be assumed
that were I.D.F. forces not to enter West Beirut, various
atrocities would be perpetrated there in the absence of any real
authority; and it may be that world public opinion might then
have placed responsibility on Israel for having refrained from
action.
Both the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister based the
participation of the Phalangists in the entry into West Beirut on
the Cabinet resolution adopted at the session of 15.6.82. We are
unable to accept this reasoning. Although there was much talk in
the meeting of 15.6.82 (Exhibit 53) about the plan that the
I.D.F. would not enter West Beirut, and that the entry would be
effected by the Phalangists with support from the I.D.F. – but the
situation then was wholly different from the one that emerged
subsequently. During the discussion of 15.6.82 the terrorists
and Syrian forces had not yet been evacuated from West Beirut,
and the entire military picture was different from the one that
developed after the evacuation was executed and after Bashir’s
assassination. However, even if the Phalangists’ participation
was not based on a formal Cabinet resolution of 15.6.82, we
found no cause to raise objections to that participation in the
circumstances that were created after Bashir’s assassination. We
wish to stress that we are speaking now only of the Phalangists’
participation in connection with the entry into West Beirut, and
not about the role they were to play in the camps.
The demand made in Israel to have the Phalangists take part in
the fighting was a general and understandable one; and political,
and to some extent military, reasons existed for such
participation. The general question of relations with the
Phalangists and cooperation with them is a saliently political one,
regarding which there may be legitimate differences of opinion
and outlook. We do not find it justified to assert that the
decision on this participation was unwarranted or that it should
not have been made.
It is a different question whether the decision to have the
Phalangists enter the camps was justified in the circumstances
that were created. From the description of events cited above
and from the testimony before us, it is clear that this decision
was taken by the Minister of Defense with the concurrence of
the Chief of Staff and that the Prime Minister did not know of it
until the Cabinet session in the evening hours of 16.9.82. We
shall leave to another section of this report – which will deal with
the personal responsibility of all those to whom notices were
sent under Section 15(A) of the law – the discussion of whether
personal responsibility devolves upon the Defense Minister or the
Chief of Staff for what happened afterward in the camps in the
wake of the decision to have the Phalangists enter them. Here
we shall discuss only the question of whether it was possible or
necessary to foresee that the entry of the Phalangists into the
camps, with them in control of the area where the Palestinian
population was to be found, was liable to eventuate in a
massacre, as in fact finally happened.
The heads of Government in Israel and the heads of the I.D.F.
who testified before us were for the most part firm in their view
that what happened in the camps was an unexpected
occurrence, in the nature of a disaster which no one had
imagined and which could not have been – or, at all events, need
not have been – foreseen. It was stressed in the remarks made in
testimony and in the arguments advanced before us, that this
matter should not be discussed in terms of hindsight, but that
we must be careful to judge without taking into account what
actually happened. We concur that special caution is required so
as not to fall into the hindsight trap, but that caution does not
exempt us from the obligation to examine whether persons
acting and thinking rationally were duty-bound, when the
decision was taken to have the Phalangists enter the camps, to
foresee, according to the information that each of them
possessed and according to public knowledge, that the entry of
the Phalangists into the camps held out the danger of a massacre
and that no little probability existed that it would in fact occur.
At this stage of the discussion we shall not pause to examine the
particular information possessed by the persons to whom notices
were sent under Section 15(A) of the law, but shall make do
with an examination of the knowledge possessed by everyone
who had some expertise on the subject of Lebanon.
In our view, everyone who had anything to do with events in
Lebanon should have felt apprehension about a massacre in the
camps, if armed Phalangist forces were to be moved into them
without the I.D.F. exercising concrete and effective supervision
and scrutiny of them. All those concerned were well aware that
combat morality among the various combatant groups in Lebanon
differs from the norm in the I.D.F. that the combatants in
Lebanon belittle the value of human life far
beyond what is necessary and accepted in wars between
civilized peoples, and that various atrocities against the
non-combatant population had been widespread in Lebanon since
1975. It was well known that the Phalangists harbor deep
enmity for the Palestinians, viewing them as the source of all the
troubles that afflicted Lebanon during the years of the civil war.
The fact that in certain operations carried out under close I.D.F.
supervision the Phalangists did not deviate from disciplined
behavior could not serve as an indication that their attitude
toward the Palestinian population had changed, or that changes
had been effected in their plans – which they made no effort to
hide – for the Palestinians. To this backdrop of the Phalangists’
attitude toward the Palestinians were added the profound shock
in the wake of Bashir’s death along with a group of Phalangists
in the explosion at Ashrafiya, and the feeling of revenge that
event must arouse, even without the identity of the assailant
being known.
The written and oral summations presented to us stressed that
most of the experts whose remarks were brought before the
commission – both Military Intelligence personnel and Mossad
personnel – had expressed the view that given the state of affairs
existing when the decision was taken to have the Phalangists
enter the camps, it could not be foreseen that the Phalangists
would perpetrate a massacre, or at all events the probability of
that occurring was low; and had they been asked for their
opinion at the time they would have raised no objections to the
decision. We are not prepared to attach any importance to these
statements, and not necessarily due to the fact that this
evaluation was refuted by reality. It is our impression that the
remarks of the experts on this matter were influenced to a
certain extent by the desire of each of them to justify his action
or lack thereof, the experts having failed to raise any objection to
the entry of the Phalangists into the camps when they learned of
it. In contrast to the approach of these experts, there were cases
in which other personnel, both from Military Intelligence, from
other I.D.F. branches, and from outside the governmental
framework, warned – as soon as they learned of the Phalangists’
entry into the camps, and on earlier occasion when the
Phalangists’ role in the war was discussed – that the danger of a
massacre was great and that the Phalangists would take
advantage of every opportunity offered them to wreak
vengeance on the Palestinians. Thus, for example, Intelligence
Officer G. (whose name appears in Section I of Appendix B), a
branch head in Military Intelligence/ Research, stated that the
subject of possible injury by the Phalangists to the Palestinian
population had come up many times in internal discussions
(statement no. 176). Similarly, when Intelligence Officer A.
learned on Thursday, in a briefing of Intelligence officers, that
the Phalangists had entered the camps, he said, even before the
report arrived about the 300 killed, that he was convinced that
the entry would lead to a massacre of the refugee camps’
population. In a working meeting held at 7:00 p.m. between
Major General Drori and the liaison officer with the Lebanese
army at Northern Command [headquarters], the officer was told
by Major General Drori that the Phalangists were about to enter
the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps; his reaction was that this
was a good solution, but care should be taken that they not
commit acts of murder (statement No. 4 and testimony of Major
General Drori, pp. 402-403). In his statement, Captain Nahum
Menahem relates that in a meeting he had with the Defense
Minister on 12.9.82, he informed the Defense Minister of his
opinion, which was based on considerable experience and on a
study he had made of the tensions between the communities in
Lebanon, that a “terrible” slaughter could ensue if Israel failed to
assuage the inter-communal tensions in Lebanon (statement No.
161, p. 4). We shall mention here also articles in the press
stating that excesses could be expected on the part of the
Christian fighters (article in the journal Bamahane from 1.9.82,
appended to the statement – No. 24 – of the article’s author, the
journal’s military reporter Mr. Yinon Shenkar) and that the
refugee camps in Beirut were liable to undergo events exceeding
what had happened at El Tel Za’atar (article in a French paper in
Beirut from 20.8.82 appended to the statement, No. 76, of the
journalist M. Strauch). We do not know whether the content of
these articles was made known to the decisionmakers regarding
the operation of the Phalangists in West Beirut, or to those who
executed the decision. We mention them solely as yet another
indication that even before Bashir’s assassination the possibility
of the Phalangists perpetrating a massacre in the camps was not
esoteric lore which need not and could not have been
foreseen.
We do not say that the decision to have the Phalangists enter
the camps should under no circumstances have been made and
was totally unwarranted. Serious considerations existed in favor
of such a decision; and on this matter we shall repeat what has
already been mentioned, that an understandable desire existed to
prevent I.D. F. losses in hazardous combat in a built-up area, that
it was justified to demand of the Phalangists to take part in
combat which they regarded as a broad opening to assume
power and for the restoration of Lebanese independence, and
that the Phalangists were more expert than the I.D.F. in
uncovering and identifying terrorists. These are weighty
considerations; and had the decision-makers and executors been
aware of the danger of harm to the civilian population on the part
of the Phalangists but had nevertheless, having considered all
the circumstances, decided to have the Phalangists enter the
camps while taking all possible steps to prevent harm coming to
the civilian population, it is possible that there would be no place
to be critical of them, even if ultimately it had emerged that the
decision had caused undesirable results and had caused damage.
However, as it transpired no examination was made of all the
considerations and their ramifications; hence the appropriate
orders were not issued to the executors of the decisions and
insufficient heed was taken to adopt the required measures.
Herein lies the basis for imputing indirect responsibility to those
persons who in our view did not fulfill the obligations placed on
them.
To sum up this chapter, we assert that the atrocities in the
refugee camps were perpetrated by members of the Phalangists,
and that absolutely no direct responsibility devolves upon Israel
or upon those who acted in its behalf. At the same time, it is
clear from what we have said above that the decision on the
entry of the Phalangists into the refugee camps was taken
without consideration of the danger – which the makers and
executors of the decision were obligated to foresee as probable –
that the Phalangists would commit massacres and pogroms
against the inhabitants of the camps, and without an
examination of the means for preventing this danger. Similarly, it
is clear from the course of events that when the reports began to
arrive about the actions of the Phalangists in the camps, no
proper heed was taken of these reports, the correct conclusions
were not drawn from them, and no energetic and immediate
actions were taken to restrain the Phalangists and put a stop to
their actions. This both reflects and exhausts Israel’s indirect
responsibility for what occurred in the refugee camps. We shall
discuss the responsibility of those who acted in Israel’s behalf
and in its name in the following chapters.

 

The Responsibility of the Political Echelon
Among those who received notices sent by the committee in
accordance with Section 15(A) of the Commissions of Inquiry
Law were the Prime Minister and two ministers, and in this
matter no distinction was made between Cabinet ministers and
officeholders and other officials. We took this course because, in
our opinion, in principle, in the matter of personal responsibility,
no distinction should be made between Cabinet members and
others charged with personal responsibility for actions or
oversights. We wish to note to the credit of the lawyers who
appeared before us that none of them raised any argument to the
effect that in the investigation being conducted before us, the
status of Cabinet members differed from that of others. In our
view, any claim that calls for a distinction of this sort is wholly
untenable. We shall discuss this argument below, although it
was raised not in the deliberations of the commission but outside
them.
In the report of the “Commission of Inquiry – the Yom Kippur
War” (henceforth the Agranat Commission), the subject of
“personal responsibility of the government echelon” was
discussed in Clause 30 of the partial report. It is appropriate to
cite what was stated there, since we believe that it reflects the
essence of the correct approach, from a legal and public
standpoint, to the problem of the personal responsibility of the
political echelon. The partial report of the Agranat Commission
states (Section 30):
“In discussing the responsibility of ministers for an act or failure
to act in which they actually or personally took part, we are
obligated to stress that we consider ourselves free to draw
conclusions, on the basis of our findings, that relate only to
direct responsibility, and we do not see it as our task to express
an opinion on what is implied by parliamentary
responsibility.
“Indeed, in Israel, as in England – whence it came to us – the
principle prevails that a member of the Cabinet is responsible to
the elected assembly for all the administrative actions of the
apparatus within his ministry, even if he was not initially aware
of them and was not a party to them. However, while it is clear
that this principle obligates him to report to the members of the
elected assembly on such actions, including errors and failures;
to reply to parliamentary questions; to defend them or to report
on what has been done to correct errors – even the English
experience shows that the traditions have not determined
anything regarding the question of which cases of this kind
require him to resign from his ministerial office; this varies,
according to circumstances, from one case to the next. The main
reason for this is that the question of the possible resignation of
a Cabinet member in cases of this kind is essentially a political
question par excellence, and therefore we believe that we should
not deal with it…”
Later on in the partial report, the Agranat Commission deals (in
Section 31) with the “direct personal responsibility of the
Minister of Defense” and arrives at the conclusion that
“according to the criterion of reasonable behavior demanded of
one who holds the office of Minister of Defense, the minister
was not obligated to order additional or different precautionary
measures…”
The Agranat Commission also dealt (in Section 32 of its partial
report) with the personal responsibility of the Prime Minister and
arrived at the conclusion that she was not to be charged with
any responsibility for her actions at the outbreak of the Yom
Kippur War and afterwards.
From the above it is clear that the Agranat commission did not in
any way avoid dealing with the question of the personal
responsibility of the Prime Minister and other ministers, and
regarding responsibility of this kind it did not distinguish between
ministers and other people whose actions were investigated by
the commission. The Agranat Commission did not discuss the
question of a minister’s responsibility for the shortcomings and
failures of the apparatus he heads and for which he should not
be charged with any personal responsibility. It is not necessary
to deal in this report with the question of a minister’s
responsibility for the failures of his apparatus which occurred
without any personal blame on his part, and we shall not express
an opinion on it.
The claim has been made, albeit not in the framework of the
commission’s deliberations, that the matter of a minister’s
judgment cannot serve as the subject of investigation of a
commission of inquiry according to the Commissions of Inquiry
Law, 1968, because a minister’s judgments are political
judgments; there are no set norms regarding judgments of this
kind; and therefore one cannot subject such judgments to
scrutiny. We reject this view. It is unfounded from both a legal
and a public point of view. From a legal standpoint, it is a well
known rule, and attested by many rulings of the Supreme Court
(sitting in its capacity as the High Court of Justice), that any
judgment of a public authority, including that of ministers, is
subject to scrutiny and examination in court. Decisions made on
the basis of unwarranted, irrelevant, arbitrary, unreasonable, or
immaterial considerations have more than once been disqualified
by the courts.
In examining the considerations that served as the basis for
decisions, the court never distinguished between the obligations
of a minister and those of any other public authority. The fact
that there exists no hard and fast law stating that a public
authority must reach its decision on the basis of correct and
reasonable considerations after examining all matters brought
before it in a proper manner, has not prevented the courts from
imposing obligations of this sort on every public authority.
This has no bearing on the principle that the court does not
substitute its own judgment for the judgment of the public
authority and usually does not intervene in the policy that the
authority sets for itself.
This is all the more reason for rejecting the above-mentioned
view when the matter under discussion is the deliberations of a
commission of inquiry that is obligated to consider not
necessarily the legal aspects of the subject but also, and
occasionally primarily, its public and moral aspects. The absence
of any hard and fast law regarding various matters does not
exempt a man whose actions are subject to the scrutiny of a
commission of inquiry from accountability, from a public
standpoint, for his deeds or failures that indicate inefficiency on
his part, lack of proper attention to his work, or actions executed
hastily, negligently, unwisely, or shortsightedly when –
considering the qualifications of the man who holds a certain
office and the personal qualities demanded of him in fulfilling his
duties -he should have acted perspicaciously. No commission of
inquiry would fulfill its role properly if it did not exercise such
scrutiny, in the framework of its competence, vis-a-vis any man
whose actions and failures were under scrutiny, regardless of his
position and public standing.
In conclusion, regarding personal responsibility, we will not draw
a distinction between the political echelon and any other
echelon.

 

Personal Responsibility
In accordance with a resolution adopted by the Commission on
24.11.82, notices were sent under Section 15(A) of the
Commissions of Inquiry Law, 1968, to nine persons regarding
the harm liable to be done to them by the inquiry and its results.
We shall now consider the matter of each of those who received
such a notice.

 

The Prime Minister, Mr. Menachem Begin
The notice sent to the Prime Minister, Mr. Menachem Begin,
stated that he was liable to be harmed if the Commission were
to determine “that the Prime Minister did not properly weigh the
part to be played by the Lebanese Forces during and in the wake
of the I.D.F.’s entry into West Beirut, and disregarded the danger
of acts of revenge and bloodshed by these forces vis-a-vis the
population in the refugee camps.”
The Prime Minister’s response to the notice stated that in the
conversations between him and the Defense Minister in which
the decision was taken to have I.D.F. units enter West Beirut,
and in the conversations he had held with the Chief of Staff
during the night between 14.9.82 and 15.9.82, nothing at all
was said about a possible operation by the Lebanese
Forces.
The Prime Minister testifies that only in the Cabinet session of
16.9.82 did he hear about the agreement with the Phalangists
that they would operate in the camps, and that until then, in all
the conversations he had held with the Defense Minister and
with the Chief of Staff, nothing had been said about the role of
the Phalangists or their participation in the operations in West
Beirut. He added that since this matter had not come up in the
reports he received from the Defense Minister and the Chief of
Staff, he had raised no questions about it. The Prime Minister’s
remarks in this regard are consistent with the testimony of the
Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff, and with the existing
documents concerning the content of the conversations with the
Prime Minister. We have described above the two conversations
between the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister from the
roof of the forward command post on Wednesday, 15.9.82, in
the morning hours. According to the testimony and the notes of
those conversations, the matter of the Phalangists was not
mentioned in them at all. In a further conversation between the
Defense Minister and the Prime Minister, on Wednesday at
18:00 hours, nothing was said about the participation of the
Phalangists in the entry into Beirut. Similarly, on Thursday,
16.9.82, when the Defense Minister spoke by phone with the
Prime Minister during the discussion in the Defense Minister’s
office, the Defense Minister said nothing about the Phalangists.
According to the content of the conversation (see Exhibit 27),
his report to the Prime Minister was in an optimistic vein: that
the fighting had ended, the I.D.F. held all the key points, and it
was all over. The only mention of the camps in that conversation
was that they were encircled.
We may certainly wonder that the participation of the
Phalangists in the entry to West Beirut and their being given the
task of “mopping up” the camps seemed so unimportant that the
Defense Minister did not inform the Prime Minister of it and did
not get his assent for the decision; however, that question does
not bear on the responsibility of the Prime Minister. What is clear
is that the Prime Minister was not a party to the decision to have
the Phalangists move into the camps, and that he received no
report about that decision until the Cabinet session on the
evening of 16.9.82.
We do not believe that we ought to be critical of the Prime
Minister because he did not on his own initiative take an interest
in the details of the operation of the entry into West Beirut, and
did not discover, through his own questions, that the Phalangists
were taking part in that operation of the entry into West Beirut.
The tasks of the Prime Minister are many and diverse, and he
was entitled to rely on the optimistic and calming report of the
Defense Minister that the entire operation was proceeding
without any hitches and in the most satisfactory manner.
We have cited above passages from remarks made at the Cabinet
session of 16.9.82, during which the Prime Minister learned that
the Phalangists had that evening begun to operate in the camps.
Neither in that meeting nor afterward did the Prime Minister raise
any opposition or objection to the entry of the Phalangists into
the camps. Nor did he react to the remarks of Deputy prime
Minister Levy which contained a warning of the danger to be
expected from the Phalangists’ entry into the camps. According
to the Prime Minister’s testimony, “no one conceived that
atrocities would be committed… simply, none of us, no Minister,
none of the other participants supposed such a thing…” (p.
767). The Prime Minister attached no importance to Minister
Levy’s remarks because the latter did not ask for a discussion or
a vote on this subject. When Minister Levy made his remarks,
the Prime Minister was busy formulating the concluding
resolution of the meeting, and for this reason as well, he did not
pay heed to Minister Levy’s remarks.
We have already said above, when we discussed the question of
indirect responsibility, that in our view, because of things that
were well known to all, it should have been foreseen that the
danger of a massacre existed if the Phalangists were to enter the
camps without measures being taken to prevent them from
committing acts such as these. We are unable to accept the
Prime Minister’s remarks that he was absolutely unaware of such
a danger. According to what he himself said, he told the Chief of
Staff on the night between 14 and 15 September 1982, in
explaining the decision to have the I.D.F. occupy positions in
West Beirut, that this was being done “in order to protect the
Moslems from the vengeance of the Phalangists,” and he could
well suppose that after the assassination of Bashir, the
Phalangists’ beloved leader, they would take revenge on the
terrorists. The Prime Minister was aware of the mutual
massacres committed in Lebanon during the civil war, and of the
Phalangists’ feelings of hate for the Palestinians, whom the
Phalangists held responsible for all the calamities that befell their
land. The purpose of the I.D.F.’s entry into West Beirut – in order
to prevent bloodshed – was also stressed by the Prime Minister in
his meeting with Ambassador Draper on 15.9.82. We are
prepared to believe the Prime Minister that, being preoccupied at
the Cabinet session with formulating the resolution, he did not
pay heed to the remarks of Minister Levy, which were uttered
following lengthy reviews and discussions. However, in view of
what has already been noted above regarding foresight and
probability of acts of slaughter, we are unable to accept the
position of the Prime Minister that no one imagined that what
happened was liable to happen, or what follows from his
remarks: that this possibility did not have to be foreseen when
the decision was taken to have the Phalangists move into the
camps.
As noted, the Prime Minister first heard about the Phalangists’
entry into the camps about 36 hours after the decision to that
effect was taken, and did not learn of the decision until the
Cabinet session. When he heard about the Phalangists’ entry into
the camps, it had already taken place. According to the “rosy”
reports the Prime Minister received from the Defense Minister
and the Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister was entitled to assume
at that time that all the operations in West Beirut had been
performed in the best possible manner and had nearly been
concluded. We believe that in these circumstances it was not
incumbent upon the Prime Minister to object to the Phalangists’
entry into the camps or to order
their removal. On the other hand, we find no reason to exempt
the Prime Minister from responsibility for not having evinced,
during or after the Cabinet session, any interest in the
Phalangists’ actions in the camps. It has already been noted
above that no report about the Phalangists’ operations reached
the Prime Minister, except perhaps for the complaint regarding
the Gaza Hospital, until he heard the BBC broadcast towards
evening on Saturday. For two days after the Prime Minister heard
about the Phalangists’ entry, he showed absolutely no interest in
their actions in the camps. This indifference would have been
justifiable if we were to accept the Prime Minister’s position that
it was impossible and unnecessary to foresee the possibility that
the Phalangists would commit acts of revenge; but we have
already explained above that according to what the Prime
Minister knew, according to what he heard in the Thursday
cabinet session, and according to what he said about the
purpose of the move into Beirut, such a possibility was not
unknown to him. It may be assumed that a manifestation of
interest by him in this matter, after he had learned of the
Phalangists’ entry, would have increased the alertness of the
Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff to the need to take
appropriate measures to meet the expected danger. The Prime
Minister’s lack of involvement in the entire matter casts on him a
certain degree of responsibility.

 

The Minister of Defense, Mr. Ariel Sharon
The notice sent to the Minister of Defense under Section 15(A)
stated that the Minister of Defense might be harmed if the
commission determined that he ignored or disregarded the danger
of acts of revenge or bloodshed perpetrated by Lebanese forces
against the population of the refugee camps in Beirut and did not
order the adoption of the withdrawal of the Lebanese forces
from the refugee camps as quickly as possible and the adoption
of measures to protect the population in the camps when
information reached him about the acts of killing or excesses
that were perpetrated by the Lebanese forces.
In his testimony before us, and in statements he issued
beforehand, the Minister of Defense also adopted the position
that no one had imagined the Phalangists would carry out a
massacre in the camps and that it was a tragedy that could not
be foreseen. It was stressed by the Minister of Defense in his
testimony, and argued in his behalf, that the director of Military
Intelligence, who spent time with him and maintained contact
with him on the days prior to the Phalangists’ entry into the
camps and at the time of their entry into the camps, did not
indicate the danger of a massacre, and that no warning was
received from the Mossad, which was responsible for the liaison
with the Phalangists and also had special knowledge of the
character of this force.
It is true that no clear warning Was provided by military
intelligence or the Mossad about what might happen if the
Phalangist forces entered the camps, and we will relate to this
matter when we discuss the responsibility of the director of
Military Intelligence and the head of the Mossad. But in our view,
even without such warning, it is impossible to justify the
Minister of Defense’s disregard of the danger of a massacre. We
will not repeat here what we have already said above about the
widespread knowledge regarding the Phalangists’ combat ethics,
their feelings of hatred toward the Palestinians, and their leaders’
plans for the future of the Palestinians when said leaders would
assume power. Besides this general knowledge, the Defense
Minister also had special reports from his not inconsiderable
[number of] meetings with the Phalangist heads before Bashir’s
assassination.
Giving the Phalangists the possibility of entering the refugee
camps without taking measures for continuous and concrete
supervision of their actions there could have created a grave
danger for the civilian population in the camps even if they had
been given such a possibility before Bashir’s assassination; thus
this danger was certainly to have been anticipated – and it was
imperative to have foreseen it – after Bashir’s assassination. The
fact that it was not clear which organization had caused Bashir’s
death was of no importance at all, given the known frame of
mind among the combatant camps in Lebanon. In the
circumstances that prevailed after Bashir’s assassination, no
prophetic powers were required to know that concrete danger of
acts of slaughter existed when the Phalangists were moved into
the camps without the I.D.F.’s being with them in that operation
and without the I.D.F. being able to maintain effective and
ongoing supervision of their actions there. The sense of such a
danger should have been in the consciousness of every
knowledgeable person who was close to this subject, and
certainly in the consciousness of the Defense Minister, who took
an active part in everything relating to the war. His involvement
in the war was deep, and the connection with the Phalangists
was under his constant care. If in fact the Defense Minister,
when he decided that the Phalangists would enter the camps
without the I.D.F. taking part in the operation, did not think that
that decision could bring about the very disaster that in fact
occurred, the only possible explanation for this is that he
disregarded any apprehensions about what was to be expected
because the advantages – which we have already noted – to be
gained from the Phalangists’ entry into the camps distracted him
from the proper consideration in this instance.
As a politician responsible for Israel’s security affairs, and as a
Minister who took an active part in directing the political and
military moves in the war in Lebanon, it was the duty of the
Defense Minister to take into account all the reasonable
considerations for and against having the Phalangists enter the
camps, and not to disregard entirely the serious consideration
mitigating against such an action, namely that the Phalangists
were liable to commit atrocities and that it was necessary to
forestall this possibility as a humanitarian obligation and also to
prevent the political damage it would entail. From the Defense
Minister himself we know that this consideration did not concern
him in the least, and that this matter, with all its ramifications,
was neither discussed nor examined in the meetings and
discussion held by the Defense Minister. In our view, the
Minister of Defense made a grave mistake when he ignored the
danger of acts of revenge and bloodshed by the Phalangists
against the population in the refugee camps.
We have already said above that we do not assert that the
decision to have the Phalangists enter the camps should under
no circumstances ever have been made. It appears to us that no
complaints could be addressed to the Defense Minister in this
matter if such a decision had been taken after all the relevant
considerations had been examined; however, if the decision were
taken with the awareness that the risk of harm to the inhabitants
existed, the obligation existed to adopt measures which would
ensure effective and ongoing supervision by the I.D.F. over the
actions of the Phalangists at the site, in such a manner as to
prevent the danger or at least reduce it considerably. The
Defense Minister issued no order regarding the adoption of such
measures. We shall not dwell here on what steps might have
been taken; this we shall consider below. Regarding the
responsibility of the Minister of Defense, it is sufficient to assert
that he issued no order to the I.D.F. to adopt suitable measures.
Similarly, in his meetings with the Phalangist commanders, the
Defense Minister made no attempt to point out to them the
gravity of the danger that their men would commit acts of
slaughter. Although it is not certain that remarks to this effect
by the Defense Minister would have prevented the acts of
massacre, they might have had an effect on the Phalangist
commanders who, out of concern for their political interests,
would have imposed appropriate supervision over their people
and seen to it that they did not exceed regular combat
operations. It was related above that a few hours after the
Phalangists entered the camps, soldiers at the site asked what to
do with the people who had fallen into their hands, and the
replies they were given not only did not bar them from harming
those people, but even urged them to do so. It is a highly
reasonable assumption that had the commanders who gave that
reply heard from the Defense Minister or from higher Phalangist
commanders a clear and explicit order barring harm to civilians
and spelling out the damage this was liable to cause the
Phalangists, their reply to these questions would have been
different.
Had it become clear to the Defense Minister that no real
supervision could be exercised over the Phalangist force that
entered the camps with the I.D.F.’s assent, his duty would have
been to prevent their entry. The usefulness of the Phalangists’
entry into the camps was wholly disproportionate to the damage
their entry could cause if it were uncontrolled. A good many
people who heard about the Phalangists’ entry into the camps
were aware of this even before the first reports arrived about the
massacre. The Chief of Staff in effect also held the same
opinion, as emerges from his reply to a question whether he
would have issued orders for additional measures to be taken or
would have sufficed with the steps that were in fact taken, had
it been expected that the Phalangists would commit excesses.
He replied as follows (p. 1677):
“No, if I had expected that this was liable to happen, or if
someone had warned me that this was liable to happen, they
would not have entered the camps.”
In reply to another question, whether he would have taken
additional measures, the Chief of Staff said:
“They would not have entered the camps; I would not have
allowed them to enter the camps.”
Asked if he would not have allowed the Phalangists to enter the
camps despite the aim of having them operate together with the
I.D.F. and spare the I.D.F. losses, the Chief of Staff
replied:
“Then maybe we should have acted differently, by closing the
camps, by surrounding them, or bringing them to surrender in
another week or in another few days, or shelling them with all
our might from the air and with artillery. As for me, if I had
anticipated that this is what would happen, or if such a warning
had been given, they would not have entered the camps.”
And the Chief of Staff added that if he had suspected or feared
that what happened would happen, “they would not have
entered the camps at all, they would not have come anywhere
near the camps.” We quote these remarks here in order to show
that despite the usefulness of having the Phalangists enter the
camps, that step should have been abandoned if a massacre
could not have been prevented using the means in the I.D.F.’s
hands.
We do not accept the contention that the Defense Minister did
not need to fear that the Phalangists would commit acts of
killing because in all outward aspects they looked like a
disciplined and organized army. It could not be inferred from the
Phalangists’ orderly military organization that their attitude
toward human life and to the non-combatant population had
basically changed. It might perhaps be inferred from their military
organization that the soldiers would heed the orders of their
commanders and not break discipline; but at the very least, care
should have been taken that the commanders were imbued with
the awareness that no excesses were to be committed and that
they give their men unequivocal orders to this effect. The routine
warnings that I.D.F. commanders issued to the Phalangists,
which were of the same kind as were routinely issued to I.D.F.
troops, could not have had any concrete effect.
We shall remark here that it is ostensibly puzzling that the
Defense Minister did not in any way make the Prime Minister
privy to the decision on having the Phalangists enter the
camps.
It is our view that responsibility is to be imputed to the Minister
of Defense for having disregarded the danger of acts of
vengeance and bloodshed by the Phalangists against the
population of the refugee camps, and having failed to take this
danger into account when he decided to have the Phalangists
enter the camps. In addition, responsibility is to be imputed to
the Minister of Defense for not ordering appropriate measures for
preventing or reducing the danger of massacre as a condition for
the Phalangists’ entry into the camps. These blunders constitute
the non-fulfillment of a duty with which the Defense Minister
was charged.
We do not believe that responsibility is to be imputed to the
Defense Minister for not ordering the removal of the Phalangists
from the camps when the first reports reached him about the
acts of killing being committed there. As was detailed above,
such reports initially reached the Defense Minister on Friday
evening; but at the same time, he had heard from the Chief of
Staff that the Phalangists’ operation had been halted, that they
had been ordered to leave the camps and that their departure
would be effected by 5:00 a.m. Saturday. These preventive
steps might well have seemed sufficient to the Defense Minister
at that time, and it was not his duty to order additional steps to
be taken, or to have the departure time moved up, a step which
was of doubtful feasibility.

 

 

The Foreign Minister Mr. Yitzhak Shamir

The Foreign Minister, Mr. Yitzhak Shamir, was sent a notice
under Section 15(A) that he might be harmed if the commission
determined that after he heard from Minister Zipori on 17.9.82
of the report regarding the Phalangists’ actions in the refugee
camps, he did not take the appropriate steps to clarify whether
this information was based in fact and did not bring the
information to the knowledge of the Prime Minister or the
Minister of Defense.
In the memorandum that the Foreign Minister submitted to us in
response to the aforementioned notice, he explained that what
he had heard from Minister Zipori about the “unruliness” of the
Phalangists did not lead him to understand that it was a matter
of a massacre; he thought, rather, that it was a matter of
fighting against terrorists. Since he knew that many of them had
remained in Beirut, together with their weapons, he could have
had the impression from Minister Zipori’s statement that perhaps
the Phalangists’ combat operations were carried out in a manner
that differed from the way a battle was conducted by the I.D.F.,
but he did not understand that a massacre of civilians, women
and children, was taking place. The Foreign Minister also
explained his attitude to Minister Zipori’s statement by stating
that he knew that Minister Zipori had been long and consistently
opposed to cooperation with the Phalangists, and he was also
known in the Cabinet as a constant critic of the Minister of
Defense, the Chief of Staff, and their actions. For these reasons
the Foreign Minister restricted himself to asking a member of his
ministry’s staff whether there was any news from West Beirut
and satisfied himself that there was no need for further
investigation after the Minister of Defense and others responsible
for security affairs came to his office and did not mention that
anything extraordinary had occurred in Beirut.
It is not easy to decide between the conflicting versions of what
Minister Zipori said to the Foreign Minister. We tend to the
opinion that in the telephone conversation Minister Zipori spoke
of a “slaughter” being perpetrated by the Phalangists, and it is
possible that he also spoke of “unruliness.” He had heard from
the journalist Zeev Schiff of reports that a massacre was going
on in the camps and had treated Schiff’s information seriously;
and it is difficult to find a reason why he would not have told the
Foreign Minister what he had heard when the point of the
telephone communication was to inform the Foreign Minister
what he had learned from Schiff. Mr. Schiff, in a statement he
has submitted, confirms Minister Zipori’s version. Nevertheless,
we are unable to rule out the possibility that the Foreign Minister
did not catch or did not properly understand the significance of
what he heard from Minister Zipori. The Foreign Minister likewise
did not conceal that in relating to what Minister Zipori had told
him, he was influenced by his knowledge that Minister Zipori
was opposed to the policy of the Minister of Defense and the
Chief of Staff regarding the war in Lebanon, and particularly to
cooperation with the Phalangists.
The phenomenon that came to light in this case – namely, that
the statement of one minister to another did not receive the
attention it deserved because of faulty relations between
members of the Cabinet – is regrettable and worrisome. The
impression we got is that the Foreign Minister did not make any
real attempt to check whether there was anything in what he
had heard from Minister Zipori on the Phalangists’ operations in
the camps because he had an a priori sceptical attitude toward
the statements of the minister who reported this information to
him. It is difficult to find a justification for such disdain for
information that came from a member of the Cabinet, especially
under the circumstances in which the information was reported.
As stated, the conversation between the two ministers was
preceded by a Cabinet meeting on 16.9.82 at which Minister
Levy had expressed a warning of the danger involved in sending
the Phalangists into the camps. That Friday was the end of a
week in which dramatic events had occurred, and the situation
as a whole was permeated with tension and dangers. In this
state of affairs, it might have been expected that the Foreign
Minister, by virtue of his position, would display sensitivity and
alertness to what he had heard from another minister – even if
we were to accept unconditionally his statement that the point
under discussion was only the “unruliness” of the Phalangists.
The Foreign Minister should at least have called the Defense
Minister’s attention to the information he had received and not
contented himself with asking someone in his office whether any
new information had come in from Beirut and with the
expectation that those people coming to his office would know
what was going on and would tell him if anything out of the
ordinary had happened. In our view, the Foreign Minister erred in
not taking any measures after the conversation with Minister
Zipori in regard to what he had heard from Zipori about the
Phalangist actions in the camps.

 

The Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Rafael Eitan
The notice sent to the Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Rafael
Eitan, according to Section 15(A), detailed a number of findings
or conclusions that might be harmful to the Chief of Staff if the
commission established them.
The first point in the notice has to do with the Chief of Staff
disregarding the danger of acts of vengeance and bloodshed
being perpetrated by the Phalangists, against the population of
the refugee camps and his failure to take the appropriate
measures to prevent this danger. In this matter, the Chief of
Staff took a position similar to that of the Minister of Defense
which was discussed above and which we have rejected. The
Chief of Staff stated in his testimony before us that it had never
occurred to him that the Phalangists would perpetrate acts of
revenge and bloodshed in the camps. He justified this lack of
foresight by citing the experience of the past, whereby
massacres were perpetrated by the Christians only before the
“Peace for Galilee” War and only in response to the perpetration
of a massacre by the Muslims against the Christian population,
and by citing the disciplined conduct of the Phalangists while
carrying out certain operations after the I.D.F.’s entry into
Lebanon. The Chief of Staff also noted the development of the
Phalangists from a militia into an organized and orderly military
force, as well as the interest of the Phalangist leadership, and
first and foremost of Bashir Jemayel, in behaving moderately
toward the Muslim population so that the president-elect could
be accepted by all the communities in Lebanon. Finally, the Chief
of Staff also noted, in justifying his position, that none of the
experts in the I.D.F. or in the Mossad had expressed any
reservations about the planned operation in the camps.
We are not prepared to accept these explanations. In our view,
none of these reasons had the power to cancel out the serious
concern that in going into the refugee camps, the Phalangist
forces would perpetrate indiscriminate acts of killing. We
rejected arguments of this kind in the part of this report that
dealt with indirect responsibility, as well as in our discussion of
the responsibility borne by the Minister of Defense, and the
reasons we presented there likewise hold for the Chief of Staff’s
position. Here we will restrict ourselves to brief reasoning.
Past experience in no way justified the conclusion that the entry
of the Phalangists into the camps posed no danger. The Chief of
Staff was well aware that the Phalangists were full of feelings of
hatred towards the Palestinians and that their feelings had not
changed since the “Peace for Galilee” War. The isolated actions
in which the Phalangists had participated during the war took
place under conditions that were completely different from those
which arose after the murder of Bashir Jemayel; and as one
could see from the nature of [those] operations, in the past there
had been no case in which an area populated by Palestinian
refugees had been turned over to the exclusive control of the
Phalangists. On a number of occasions, the Chief of Staff had
harsh and clear-cut things to say about the manner of fighting
between the factions and communities in Lebanon, and about the
concept of vengeance rooted in them; and in this matter we need
only refer to the detailed facts presented in this report. We have
already said a number of times that the traumatic event of the
murder of Bashir Jemayel and of a group of Phalangists was
sufficient reason to whip up the Phalangists. It is difficult to
understand how it was possible to justify ignoring the effect of
this event on arousing a feeling of vengeance and hatred toward
all those who were inimical to the Phalangists, and first and
foremost the Palestinians. The consideration that the military
organization of the Phalangists and their orderly and disciplined
appearance attested to a change in their mode of fighting was
specious, and we have already pointed this out.
The absence of a warning from experts cannot serve as an
explanation for ignoring the danger of a massacre. The Chief of
Staff should have known and foreseen – by virtue of common
knowledge, as well as the special information at his disposal –
that there was a possibility of harm to the population in the
camps at the hands of the Phalangists. Even if the experts did
not fulfill their obligation, this does not absolve the Chief of
Staff of responsibility.
The decision to send the Phalangists into the camps was taken
by the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff, and the Chief
of Staff must be viewed as a partner to this decision and as
bearing responsibility both for its adoption and for its
implementation. The Chief of Staff did not express any
opposition to or reservation about the decision to the Minister of
Defense, and no one disputed that it was taken with his consent.
There is no reason to doubt that had the Chief of Staff expressed
opposition or reservation, this fact would have borne serious
weight in the consideration of the decision; and had there been a
difference of opinion between him and the Minister of Defense,
he could easily have brought the matter before the Prime
Minister for his decision. It emerges quite clearly from the Chief
of Staff’s testimony, as cited above, that his opposition to
sending the Phalangists into the camps would have meant that
they would not have been sent in, and other means (which he
detailed in the statement cited above) would have been adopted
for taking control of the camps.
If the Chief of Staff did not imagine at all that the entry of the
Phalangists into the camps posed a danger to the civilian
population, his thinking on this matter constitutes a disregard of
important considerations that he should have taken into account.
Moreover, considering the Chief of Staff’s own statements
quoted above, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Chief
of Staff ignored this danger out of an awareness that there were
great advantages to sending the Phalangists into the camps, and
perhaps also out of a hope that in the final analysis, the
Phalangist excesses would not be on a large scale. This
conclusion is likewise prompted by the Chief of Staff’s behavior
during later stages, once reports began to come in about the
Phalangists’ excesses in the camps.
It has been argued by the Chief of Staff, and in his behalf, that
appropriate steps were taken to avoid the danger. A similar claim
has been made by Major General Drori and Brigadier General
Yaron. In our opinion, this claim is unfounded.
As stated, one of the precautions was a lookout posted on the
roof of the forward command post and on another roof nearby. It
may be that this lookout was of value in obtaining certain
military information on combat operations, but it was worthless
in terms of obtaining information on the Phalangists’ operations
within the camps. Another step was taken to obtain information
on exchanges over the communications sets between the
Phalangist forces in the field and their commanders. It is difficult
to regard this step as an efficient way to discover what was
going on in the camps, because it was based on the assumption
that what was said over the communications network would
provide an accurate picture not only of the combat operations
but also of any atrocities, and this assumption was not
sufficiently grounded. It is true that the first reports of the
massacres came from this source of information, but that was
merely fortuitous; and just as questions had been asked about
the fate of 45 to 50 people, it could have happened that such
questions would not have gone over the communications
network. As stated, the fact of 300 dead was not discovered as
a result of listening in on the communications set; and it is a fact
that whatever was said over these sets did not reveal the fact
that the massacre of hundreds of people was going on in the
camps. The final means whereby it was hoped that the
Phalangists’ operations in the camps would be revealed was by
placing a Phalangist liaison officer on the roof of the forward
command post and a liaison officer from the Mossad in the
Phalangist headquarters. The obtaining of information from these
two sources was likewise based upon unfounded assumptions.
As to the Phalangist officer, there was no reason to believe that
on his own initiative, he would tell the I.D.F. officers about the
Phalangist operations, for he knew that the I.D.F. would
vigorously oppose them if word of such operations came to its
attention. While Phalangist liaison officer G. did tell of 300 dead,
this was evidently a slip of the tongue on his part, for he
immediately tried to play down the assessment by decreasing the
number of casualties to 120. No information was received from
the Mossad liaison officer; and the hope that he would be able to
supply information of this sort was based on the unrealistic
expectation that the Phalangist commanders would let him in on
all the information that came in about the Phalangists’ actions,
even if it was a report on an action they knew the I.D.F. would
vigorously oppose.
We asked the witnesses why an I.D.F. liaison officer was not
attached to the Phalangist force that entered the camps, and we
received the reply that there were two reasons: first, the point
was that the I.D.F. should not enter the refugee camps, and the
presence of an I.D.F. liaison officer would contradict that point;
second, there was fear for the life of any such liaison officer, for
obvious reason. We are prepared to accept this explanation and
have no criticism of the fact that this step was not adopted. On
the other hand, no explanation was given for falling to provide
special briefings to the I.D.F. units that were in the vicinity of
the camps – something which should have been done,
considering the importance of the matter.
The claim that every possible step was taken to obtain detailed
information on the excesses of the Phalangists – in the event that
such excesses would take place – is not congruent with the claim
that such excesses were not foreseen at all. But we do not wish
to go into this logical contradiction, as in any case it is clear that
the steps which were adopted fell far short of satisfying the
need to know what was going on in the camps; and in fact, the
truth about what was happening there only came out after the
Phalangists left the camps.
We find that the Chief of Staff did not consider the danger of
acts of vengeance and bloodshed being perpetrated against the
population of the refugee camps in Beirut; he did not order the
adoption of the appropriate steps to avoid this danger; and his
failure to do so is tantamount to a breach of duty that was
incumbent upon the Chief of Staff.
The other matter for which a notice was sent to the Chief of
Staff under Section 15(A) was that when reports reached him
about acts of killing or actions that deviated from usual combat
operations, he did not check the veracity of these reports and
the scope of these actions and did not order the cessation of the
operations, the removal of the Phalangists from the camps as
quickly as possible, and the adoption of steps to protect the
population of the camps. In a meeting with the Phalangist
commanders on the morning of 17.9.82, he approved the
continuation of their operations until the morning of 18.9.82 and
ordered that they be provided with assistance for that
purpose.
As related in the description of the events in this report, the
Chief of Staff first heard of the excesses perpetrated by the
Phalangists when Major General Drori contacted him by phone on
Friday morning. The Chief of Staff did not ask Major General
Drori at that time what he knew about the excesses and what
moved him to halt the Phalangist operation; and one should not
take him to task for this, because he had decided to go to Beirut
and preferred to clarify the matter during a personal visit, rather
than try to clear it up in a phone conversation. On the other
hand, it is difficult to understand or justify the Chief of Staff’s
actions after he reached Beirut, and especially during the
meeting with the Phalangist commanders. Upon reaching Beirut,
the Chief of Staff heard from Major General Drori what the latter
knew about the Phalangist actions; he contented himself with
this report and asked no question about this matter either of
Major General Drori or of Brigadier General Yaron. If it is still
possible to comprehend this reticence as stemming from the
Chief of Staff’s expectation that he would hear more exact
details during his meeting with the Phalangist commanders, what
took place at that meeting raises questions to which we have not
found a reasonable answer. The Chief of Staff did not raise with
the Phalangist commanders any question about the aberrant
operations or the grave actions that might have been perpetrated
in the camps. It is clear from his testimony that he thought that
if any such actions had been perpetrated, the Phalangist
commanders would have told him about them on their own
initiative. There was no real basis for this naive belief. It is
impossible to understand how the Chief of Staff concluded, from
the fact that the Phalangist commanders told him nothing about
the operations against the civilian population in the camps, that
the suspicions that had arisen about those actions had no basis
in reality.
The outstanding impression that emerges from the Chief of
Staff’s testimony is that his refraining from raising the issue of
the Phalangists’ excesses against the population in the camps
stemmed from a fear of offending their honor; but this fear was
out of place and should not have been a cause for the lack of any
clarification of what had happened, when the Chief of Staff had
gotten reports that should have served as a warning about the
grave harm caused to the population in the camps and when, as
a result of these reports, Major General Drori had issued an order
to halt the advance of the Phalangists. Not only did the Chief of
Staff not raise the subject of the Phalangists’ behavior in the
camps at the meeting which was called to clarify what was
happening in the camps, but he expressed his satisfaction with
the Phalangist operation and agreed to their request to provide
them with tractors so they could complete their operations by
Saturday morning. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this
conduct on the Chief of Staffs part during the meeting at the
Phalangists’ headquarters stemmed from his disregard of the
suspicions that the Phalangists were perpetrating act of
slaughter, and this disregard went so deep that even the
information that had arrived in the meanwhile and reached the
Chief of Staff did not shake it.
It emerges from the Chief of Staffs testimony that after the
meeting with the Phalangists, he felt assured that everything
was proceeding properly, that nothing out of the ordinary had
happened that would require the immediate removal of the
Phalangists from the camps, and that there was nothing wrong
with – and perhaps there was benefit to be derived from – their
completing their operation through Saturday morning. It is
impossible to reconcile what we heard from the Chief of Staff
regarding this matter with what he told the Minister of Defense
in a phone conversation when he returned to Israel. We have
already established above that in this conversation, the Chief of
Staff told the Minister of Defense things about the conduct of
the Phalangists that could have led the Minister of Defense to
understand that the Phalangists had perpetrated the murder of
civilians in the camps. But even if we go by the Chief of Staffs
version of that conversation, according to which he said only
that the Phalangists had “overdone it,” it is difficult to reconcile
this statement with the absence of all suspicion on his part
regarding what had happened in the camps and the possibility of
further similar actions.
Likewise, after the meeting, the Chief of Staff did not issue any
order to major General Drori or Brigadier General Yaron to
prevent the entry of additional Phalangist forces or to send in or
replace [Phalangist] forces, because he did not have the
impression that there was any reason to stop them.
In our opinion, after the Chief of Staff received the information
from Major General Drori in a telephone conversation that the
Phalangists had “overdone it” and Major General Drori had halted
their operation, this information should have alerted him to the
danger that acts of slaughter were being perpetrated in the
camps and made him aware of his obligation to take appropriate
steps to clarify the matter and prevent the continuation of such
actions if the information proved to be of substance. Toward
that end, the Chief of Staff should have held a detailed
clarification [session] with Major General Drori, Brigadier General
Yaron, and other officers of the division, as well as with the
Phalangist commanders, immediately upon his arrival in Beirut.
If, as a result of this clarification, he was not satisfied that
excesses had not been committed in the camps, he should have
ordered the immediate removal of the Phalangist forces from the
camp, admonished the Phalangist commanders about the
aberrant actions, and demanded that they issue immediate orders
to their forces to refrain from any act that would cause harm to
civilians while they were still in the camp. None of these things
were done by the Chief of Staff. On the contrary, the Phalangist
commanders could have gotten the impression from the Chief of
Staff’s words and from his agreement to supply them with
tractors that they could continue their operations in the camp
without interference until Saturday morning and that no report of
excesses had reached the I.D.F. – and if they had reached the
I.D.F., they had not roused any sharp reaction.
We determine that the Chief of Staff’s inaction, described above,
and his order to provide the Phalangist forces with tractors, or a
tractor, constitute a breach of duty and dereliction of the duty
incumbent upon the Chief of Staff.

 

Director of Military Intelligence Major General Yehoshua
Saguy
In the notice sent to the Director of Military Intelligence, Major
General Yehoshua Saguy, non-fulfillment of duty was ascribed to
him because he did not give sufficient attention to the decision
regarding sending the Phalangists into the camps and did not
warn after the murder of Bashir Jemayel of the danger of acts of
revenge and bloodshed by these forces against the Palestinian
population in West Beirut, and especially in the refugee
camps.
The Director of Military Intelligence testified that he did not
know at all about the decision regarding the sending of the
Phalangists into the camps and did not hear about the role
assigned to the Phalangists in connection with the entry into
Beirut until he discovered the matter in the cable regarding the
300 killed on Friday morning (17.9.82). We find it difficult to
accept this claim. The decision regarding the sending of the
Phalangists into the camps was discussed on the roof of the
forward command post on Wednesday morning, 15.9.82, in
conversations between the Minister of Defense, the Chief of
Staff and Major General Drori; and we find it hard to believe that
a decision discussed in these conversations did not at all reach
the Director of Military Intelligence, who was present on the roof
of the forward command post. According to the description of
the detailed discussions which were held that morning on the
roof of the forward command post, the Director of Military
Intelligence had ample opportunities to hear on that occasion
about the plans regarding the participation of the Phalangists in
the entry to Beirut and about the role assigned to them. If indeed
the Director of Military Intelligence did not hear then about the
plan to send the Phalangists into the camps, then the only reason
that can be given for this is that he was completely indifferent to
what was being said and what was happening at that time on
the roof of the forward command post, and showed no interest
in the subjects which by virtue of his position should have
interested him.
From the forward command post the Director of Military
Intelligence travelled together with the Defense Minister to the
meeting at Phalangist headquarters; and there the Defense
Minister said that the Phalangist forces would enter West Beirut
– though he apparently did not say explicitly that they would
enter the camps. Regarding this meeting, Major General Saguy
testified that it seems to him that it was said that the
Phalangists should participate in something, but he does not
remember exactly (p. 1561). After that meeting as well, the
Director of Military Intelligence evinced no special interest in the
question of what would be the role of the Phalangists in the
entry into Beirut. He spent a considerable amount of time with
the Defense Minister and did not find it necessary to pose any
question to him regarding this matter. An additional meeting in
which the Director of Military Intelligence could have, if he had
wanted to, obtained information on the plans regarding the roles
of the Phalangists in West Beirut took place at a gas station,
after the condolence call in Bikfaya, when Major General Drori
reported to the Defense Minister on the course of events during
the I.D.F.’s entry into Beirut and showed him maps. This
opportunity was also missed, for some reason, by the Director of
Military Intelligence. An additional discussion in which the
Director of Military Intelligence participated and in which the
entry of the Phalangists into the camps was explicitly mentioned
was in the meeting at the Defense Minister’s office on Thursday,
16.9.82, at 10:00 a.m. According to Major General Saguy he did
not pay attention to things said at that meeting on the sending
of the Phalangists into the camps. The inattention [displayed] in
this meeting as well is surprising and inexplicable. Major General
Saguy was present at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting on
Thursday evening and left the meeting a short time after it had
begun. It has not been explained why Major General Saguy did
not demonstrate sufficient interest in the role of the Phalangists
in the entry into West Beirut and left the place without even
trying to ascertain from anyone present there who knew what
was happening in Beirut what the plan was for involving the
Phalangists. To all this it should be added that already on
Wednesday, 15.9.82, the assistant for research to the Director
of Military Intelligence heard at a meeting in the office of the
Deputy Chief of Staff about the plan that the Phalangists would
enter the camps (p. 7 in exhibit 130).
We cannot believe that no information about the plan to send the
Phalangists into the camps reached the Director of Military
Intelligence until Friday morning, keeping in mind that he was
present at a number of meetings in which this plan was
mentioned and he had ample opportunities to ascertain the role
given to the Phalangists. Even if we were to unreservedly accept
Major Saguy’s testimony in this matter, his statements would
have been surprising. The Director of Military Intelligence, who is
required to provide an intelligence assessment regarding the
Phalangists, knows that the I.D.F. is entering Beirut, knows that
in the past there had been complaints about the non-involvement
of the Phalangists in the fighting, hears, at the latest on
Wednesday morning during the meeting at Phalangist
headquarters, that these forces will cooperate with the I.D.F. in
the entry into West Beirut, he does not demonstrate any interest
and does not raise any question as to the role assigned them and
does not make any comment to the Defense Minister or the Chief
of Staff on this matter in the meetings in which he participated.
The picture received according to the testimony of Major General
Saguy himself is of indifference and a conspicuous lack of
concern, of shutting of eyes and ears to a matter regarding
which it was incumbent on the director of the intelligence arm of
the I.D.F. to open his eyes and listen well to all that was
discussed and decided.
The only explanation which can be found for the aforementioned
behavior of the Director of Military Intelligence apparently lies in
the fact that the approach of the Director of Military Intelligence
to the Phalangists and to cooperation between Israel and these
forces was much more sceptical that the sympathetic approach
of the Mossad, and that he knew that the Defense Minister,
Chief of Staff and perhaps also the Prime Minister accept the
Mossad’s approach, and Military Intelligence’s approach had
been rejected in favor of the Mossad’s approach. Therefore, the
Director of Military Intelligence was satisfied with Intelligence
reports compiled and sent on his behalf, in which, according to
his claim, there is sufficient warning of the dangers to be
expected from cooperation with the Phalangists.
In our opinion, the Director of Military Intelligence did not fulfill
his duty by [providing only] these situation evaluations. The
verbal warning following the murder of Bashir, about which the
Defense Minister testified, was given rather weakly. According
to Major General Saguy’s testimony (pp. 105-106), he said in a
telephone conversation with the Defense Minister on the night of
14.9.82, when it became clear that Bashir had been killed, that
there were two possibilities: one, that there would be acts of
revenge on the part of the Phalangists; and two, that they would
fall apart. It is difficult to view these vague statements as a
substantial warning. On 15.9.82, at about 18:00 hours,
Intelligence Branch prepared a document (exhibit 26) bearing the
title, “Main Emphases for Situation Assessment,” and the only
thing said there regarding the danger of acts of revenge by the
Phalangists is that the I.D.F.’s entry into West Beirut could “be
received by some of the parties involved, and perhaps even
among some of the Muslim elements, as a development which
might contribute, at least temporarily, to stability in the city, and
provide them with protection from possible acts of revenge by
the Phalangists” (paragraph I-a in exhibit 26). This document
cannot be considered a clear warning of the danger of involving
the Phalangists in the I.D.F.’s entry into Beirut or an indication of
the need to take special precaution in order not to enable the
Phalangists to carry out acts of revenge against the Palestinians.
In an additional Intelligence document which was issued on
15.9.82 and bears the title “The Murder of Bashir Jemayel –
Main Implications,” it was said that “the assassination creates
conditions for heightening the polarization between the rival
Lebanese power elements, for mutual settling of accounts, and
for deterioration, which, in the absence of a stabilizing element,
is liable to develop into a general civil war” (paragraph 4, exhibit
25). Neither can this be considered a substantial warning which
draws attention to the dangers of acts of revenge by the
Phalangists entering West Beirut with the I.D.F. or in its
wake.
The director of Military Intelligence said in his testimony that for
the issue of sending the Phalangists into the camps to have been
discussed and clarified properly, situation-assessment
discussions ought to have been held to examine the various
topics (which he enumerated in his testimony, p. 1587)
connected with the Phalangists’ entry into the camps. In his
opinion, such a clarification could have been made within a short
time; and had it emerged in such a discussion that it were
possible to ensure the coordination with – and the command by –
the I.D.F. “all the way,” he would have supported the entry of
the Phalangists, and not the I.D.F., into the camps. We accept
these statements of his; but it appears to us that the director of
Military Intelligence should have demonstrated sufficient interest
in the matter in order to ascertain the role assigned the
Phalangists, if for some reason he had not heard about it in the
meetings in which he had participated; and it was incumbent
upon him to demand that a clarification or discussion be held
regarding those topics which he raised in his testimony before
us. The fact which the director of Military Intelligence and his
representatives point out, namely that the combat morals of the
Phalangists and the massacres carried out in the past during the
civil war in Lebanon were known to everyone, did not exempt
the director of Military Intelligence from the fulfillment of his
duties, especially when the issue was cooperation with the
Phalangists after the murder of Bashir Jemayel – and this, even if
there had not been an organized discussion of this matter.
Less so is there any satisfactory explanation for the lack of
substantial action by the director of Military Intelligence in
connection with the entry of the Phalangists into the camps,
after he had heard on Friday morning not only about the entry of
the Phalangists into the camps, but also about the killing of 300
persons in this operation. All he did was give an order to check
the veracity of this report, and nothing else. He made no attempt
to contact the Chief of Staff or the Defense Minister, to make
them aware of the danger in the very operation of the
Phalangists in the camps, especially after receipt of the report of
the killing of 300 persons. Indeed, this report was unconfirmed,
and he thought that it was from an Operations and not
Intelligence source; but it contained information which could
have confirmed his fears regarding actions by the Phalangists. In
his testimony, the director of Military Intelligence explained why
he had made no attempt to warn at that stage of the danger in
the situation which had been created. His remarks on this matter
are as follows:
I “I am labelled as one who has always opposed the Phalangists,
not from today, [but] for four years already. In the morning, I
read that the Phalangists were inside the camps; and I know that
this is as per the Defense Minister’s orders – since I have the
Dudai document in hand – and that it is under the command of
the I.D.F. So what could I say now? Why did you send it [sic] in
without asking me? Or should I act insulted? No, I simply step
aside in this matter. That’s all. ”
We believe that in these remarks Major General Saguy revealed
the main reason why he “stepped aside” regarding the whole
issue; and these remarks of his explain not only his inaction after
receiving the report on Friday, but also his behavior at previous
stages, as we have described. In our opinion, it was the duty of
the director of Military Intelligence, as long as he occupies this
post, to demonstrate alertness regarding the role of the
Phalangists in the entry into Beirut after Bashir’s assassination,
to demand an appropriate clarification, and to explicitly and
expressly warn all those concerned of the expected danger even
prior to receipt of the report on Friday, and certainly after receipt
of the report. The fear that his words would not receive
sufficient attention and be rejected does not justify total
inaction. This inaction constitutes breach of the duty incumbent
on the director of Military Intelligence in this
capacity.

 

Head of the Institute for Intelligence and Special Projects
(Mossad)
The head of the Mossad was sent a notice under Section 15(A)
of the law in which it is stated that he is liable to be harmed if
the commission determines that he did not pay appropriate
attention to the decision taken regarding the roles to be played
by the Phalangists during the I.D.F.’s entry into West Beirut, and
did not warn after the murder of Bashir Jemayel of the danger of
bloodshed by these forces against the Palestinian
population.
The head of the Mossad testified that he first learned of the role
given to Phalangists to enter the camps, only at the cabinet
meeting on Thursday 16.9.82 On Friday, 15.9.82, he received
cables from the Mossad representative in Beirut (exhibits 161
and 162) in which it was reported to him about the meetings of
the Chief of Staff and Defense Minister with the Phalangist elite;
but in neither of these documents is there any report of the role
given the Phalangists in the camps, but rather there is general
mention in them that the Phalangists will enter West Beirut after
the I.D.F. and will assist the I.D.F. in its operations. In a third
cable (exhibit 163), sent on Thursday at 12:00, it was stated
that there had been a coordination meeting with the G.O.C. to
prepare the Phalangists “for operations to clear the city of
terrorists.” In an additional cable sent at that time (exhibit 164)
it was said that the Phalangists would start work at the Burj
el-Barajneh camp.
Apparently, the Mossad was not explicitly informed of the
Phalangists’ entry into the camps, and the head of the Mossad
did not know of the decision which had been made on this
matter. The testimony of the head of the Mossad should
therefore be accepted, that only at the cabinet meeting of
Thursday evening did he hear of the decision regarding the role
of the Phalangists and of their entry into the camps, which by
then had already taken place.
In the aforementioned circumstances it does not appear to us
that the head of the Mossad was obligated, before knowing of
the decision regarding the role of the Phalangists, to offer at his
initiative an assessment regarding the situation which was liable
to develop, if the Phalangists would be given the opportunity to
take revenge on the Palestinians and attempt to carry out their
plans for them in West Beirut. The head of the Mossad was
present at the cabinet meeting until its conclusion. He heard
what was said there, but did not himself give a situation
assessment regarding the entry of the Phalangists into the
camps, and did not express any reservation about this entry. He
spoke at that meeting about the Mossad’s assessment regarding
the situation created after the murder of Bashir, but his remarks
did not explicitly deal with the issue of the Phalangists’ entry
into the camps or with the problems which could ensue
therefrom. A certain hint of the danger of irregular actions by the
Phalangists can be found in the following remarks made by the
head of the Mossad at that meeting (p. 26 in exhibit 122):
“When we learned of the death of Bashir – and this was close to
midnight we thought that there could be two phenomena: one,
that the whole forest would catch fire, and the Phalangist forces
themselves, which were suddenly left without a commander,
[and] with a desire for revenge, could also have taken
uncontrolled action; and on the other hand, those Palestinians
and Lebanese organizations which were in West Beirut, when
they suddenly learned that the leader of the Phalangists is dead
and possibly the Phalangists have been weakened following this,
it was possible that they would start up – i.e., there was
definitely the possibility that a situation of total conflagration
would flare up in the city.”
These remarks should not be considered an unequivocal warning
of the danger entailed in the entry of the Phalangists into the
camps, an entry about which the head of the Mossad made no
comment in the situation assessment which he gave at the
cabinet meeting. The head of the Mossad did not express any
reservation about the entry of the Phalangists into the camps. In
his first testimony he said that had he been asked at that
meeting about the entry of the Phalangists into the camps, he
would have recommended this “with the warning that they not
carry out a massacre” and with the belief that such a warning
would be effective – and this, according to the Mossad’s
experience with certain operations carried out together with the
Phalangists in the past (p. 173). In his additional testimony, the
head of the Mossad said that the data which the Mossad had at
the time of the cabinet meeting did not indicate and did not warn
of the possibility of atrocities in the camps.
The data which he presented (p. 1428) were that according to
the reports received, despite the murder of Bashir, the military
commander of the Phalangists was in control of his forces; and
in addition, according to the information which the Mossad had,
the murder of Bashir was carried out not by the Palestinians but
by the Mourabitoun. This last argument is far from convincing. It
is not at all certain that the Phalangists knew at that time who
carried out the assassination; and even if they had known this, it
is most doubtful whether this would have moderated their
actions against the Palestinians, whom they considered the
source of all the tragedies which had befallen Lebanon, and who
had cooperated with the Mourabitoun in the fighting against the
Phalangists.
The question is whether this inaction by the head of the Mossad
constitutes breach of a duty incumbent upon the head of the
Mossad.
The answer to this question is not easy. As mentioned above,
the view of the Mossad, which had been expressed for a fairly
long period prior to the I.D.F.’s entry into Lebanon, as well as
afterwards, was that there should be greater cooperation with
the Phalangists. The view prevalent in the Mossad, as expressed
in various documents, was that the Phalangists are a trustworthy
element which can be relied upon, and this despite the
Phalangists’ past regarding their attitude to the Palestinians and
their statements on the way to solve the Palestinian problem
once they reach power. The head of the Mossad himself noted in
part of his testimony mentioned above, that this approach of the
Mossad was influenced by the development of subjective
feelings by representatives of the Mossad, who were in constant
contact with the leaders of the Phalangists. We do not believe
that the head of the Mossad can be held responsible for the
existence of such a “conception.” He assumed the position of
head of the Mossad only on 12.9.82 that is, two days before the
murder of Bashir. He had previously been the deputy head of the
Mossad and was acquainted with the Mossad’s affairs; but the
responsibility for the way in which the Mossad operated was not
his. The entry of the Phalangists into the camps did not
contradict the Mossad’s situation assessment; and therefore it is
difficult to expect that the head of the Mossad would have
reservations about this decision when he heard about it at the
Cabinet meeting on 16.9.82. In this matter as well, it should be
taken into account that he had then been serving as head of the
Mossad for only four days, and that this was the first Cabinet
meeting in which he participated in this capacity.
It appears to us, that even in the situation described above, the
head of the Mossad was obligated to express his opinion at the
Cabinet meeting on the entry of the Phalangists and deal in this
expression of opinion with the dangers involved in the
Phalangists’ operations – especially after he had heard Minister
David Levy’s remarks. In consideration of all the aforementioned
circumstances, it is our opinion that this inaction of the head of
the Mossad should not be considered serious.

 

G.O.C. Northern Command Major General Amir
Drori
In the notification sent to G.O.C. Northern Command Amir Drori,
it was stated that he is liable to be harmed if the commission
determines that he did not take appropriate or sufficient steps to
prevent the continuation of the Phalangists’ actions in the
refugee camps when he received reports of acts of killing or acts
which deviate from regular combat operations which were
carried out in the camps.
On Thursday night, the division intelligence officer transmitted
the report of 300 killed to the Northern Command, but this
report did not reach Major General Drori and he did not hear a
thing about what was happening in the camps until Friday
morning.
We have enumerated above the differences between the versions
of Major General Drori and Brigadier General Yaron regarding the
circumstances surrounding Major Drori’s visit to the forward
command post, the conversation which preceded this visit, and
the conversation which took place during the visit. According to
the testimony of Major General Drori, the visit was made at his
initiative, without his knowing that any problem had arisen
regarding the camps, while according to Brigadier General
Yaron’s version, Major General Drori’s appearance was the result
of a conversation in which Brigadier General Yaron reported his
uneasy feelings regarding what was being done in the camps.
We do not find that the differing versions on this subject are
important in the matter before us.
Neither was there a uniform version regarding the reports
transmitted to Major General Drori during his meeting at the
forward command post. Colonel Duvdevani said in his statement
that he had told Major General Drori about 100 killed in the
Phalangists’ operations; while according to Major General Drori’s
testimony, he did not hear in this visit about killing in the camps
or about a specific number of killed. From Brigadier General
Yaron’s remarks it is apparent that he did not report to Major
General Drori about the reports of the 300 killed and the 45
persons who had been captured by the Phalangists, since he had
thought that these reports were unsubstantiated. Regarding the
things Major General Drori heard from Brigadier General Yaron,
Major General Drori’s version differs only in unimportant details
from Brigadier General Yaron’s version. It appears to us that it is
not possible to determine with sufficient certainly that clear
reports were given to Ma . or General Drori about killing in the
camps. We believe, however, that in his testimony before us,
Major General Drori belittled the importance and significance of
the things about which he had heard in the meeging at the
forward command post, as well as the impression these had
made on him. It should be noted that Major General Drori was
aware that the Phalangists were liable to act in an uncontrolled
way, and this not necessarily from his conversation with an
officer connected with the Lebanese Army on Thursday evening,
but mainly from his knowledge of the Phalangists, based on his
constant contact with them. There is therefore no room for
doubt that after the conversations which he held on the roof of
the forward command post on Friday morning, he was aware
that the continuation of the Phalangists’ actions in the refugee
camps posed a danger. Three actions which he took are evidence
of this. The first – the order he gave regarding cessation of the
Phalangists’ actions; the second – a telephone report to the Chief
of Staff that the Phalangists “had overdone it” and that he had
ordered their operation stopped; and the third – the continuation
of his efforts to impress upon the commander of the Lebanese
Army that this army enter the camps instead of the Phalangists.
Here we should mention that in this persuasion effort, Major
General Drori told the commander of the Lebanese Army, “You
know what the Lebanese are capable of doing to each other.”
These remarks, in the context in which they were made, in a
section of Major General Drori’s testimony as cited above, show
that Major General Drori had realized the gravity of the matter
and the need to make efforts to terminate the Phalangists’
operations in the camps.
Taking into consideration that it has not been proved that Major
General Drori had [received] explicit reports about acts of killing
and about their extent, it appears to us that he acted properly,
wisely, and responsibly, with sufficient alertness at this stage.
He heard from the Chief of Staff that the latter was to arrive in
Beirut in the afternoon hours and could rely on the fact that this
visit by the Chief of Staff, which was to take place within a few
hours, would lead to positive results regarding the Phalangists’
activity in the camps.
In the notification as per Section 15(A) of the law, Major General
Drori was informed that he is liable to be harmed if it is
determined that he did not warn the Chief of Staff when the
latter arrived in Beirut on 17.9.82 of the danger posed to the
population in the camps from the continued activity or continued
presence of the Phalangists in the camps, and did not try – at a
meeting with the Phalangist commanders, or shortly thereafter –
to prevent the continuation of such activity.
According to the testimony of Major General Drori, it was clear
that he was satisfied with an absolutely passive role regarding
the issue of the Phalangists in the camps, from the time the
Chief of Staff arrived in Beirut and later. Major General Drori did
not emphasize to the Chief of Staff before the meeting with the
Phalangist commanders that it was necessary to end the
Phalangists’ presence in the camps or take some kind of action
which could ensure that the Phalangists’ actions against the
non-combatant populace would stop. This refraining from
bringing the importance and seriousness of the matter to the
attention of the Chief of Staff was explained by Major General
Drori by the fact that after the meeting on the roof of the
forward command post with Brigadier General Yaron, the
acuteness of his sense of imminent danger diminished, for two
reasons. The first reason was that a few hours had gone by
before the Chief of Staff arrived, and no additional reports had
come in. The second reason which calmed Major General Drori
was that at his meeting with the commander of the Lebanese
Army, he had not heard anything about irregular occurrences in
the camps, despite the fact that the Lebanese Army was
deployed around the camps, including at the places where the
Phalangists had entered, and Lebanese Army personnel should
have known if something unusual had happened in the camps
(Major General Drori’s testimony, pp. 1611-1615).
These reasons for the diminished sense of the matter’s
importance are not convincing. It is difficult to consider the lack
of additional reports a calming factor, when only few hours are
involved and when Major General Drori made no special efforts,
while on the roof of the forward command post and while
speaking with the officers there, to investigate and testify the
details of the reports reaching him, and did not give orders to
conduct special checks on what was going on in the camps. He
also did not speak during the meeting on the roof of the forward
command post with the Phalangists’ liaison officer, who was
present there. At the meeting with the commander of the
Lebanese Army, Major General Drori did not ask whether the
commander had any reports on events in the camps, but drew
his conclusion which reduced his alertness solely from the fact
that this commander did not “volunteer” any information.
We described above what happened at the meeting with the
Phalangist commanders, in which the subject of the Phalangist
forces’ behavior in the camps did not come up at all. In our
opinion, even though the Chief of Staff conducted the meeting
for the Israeli side, it was Major General Drori’s duty to at least
make an attempt to raise the issue at this meeting. He also made
no attempt to persuade the Chief of Staff to raise the matter at
the meeting with the Phalangists, but was satisfied with sitting
idly by. Major General Drori is a senior commander with a very
important task, who bears heavy responsibility for events on a
wide front. A commander at such a level and rank should be
expected to take the initiative when he sees that the Chief of
Staff does not intend to deal with the issue which was the main
cause of his coming to Beirut and holding a meeting with the
Phalangist staff. If this passive behavior by Major General Drori
was the result of a significant decline in his alertness during the
time which had gone by since ordering a halt to the Phalangists’
operations, then we have already said above that this reduced
alertness was not at all justified. Also, after the conclusion of
the meeting with the Phalangist commanders, Major General
Drori did nothing about the behavior of the Phalangists and did
not raise the matter for discussion with the Chief of Staff. The
Phalangists’ request that the I.D.F. supply them with tractors
should have increased the suspicion that actions which are
difficult to describe as combat operations were being carried out
in the camps; and apparently this suspicion arose, since the
order was to provide the Phalangists with only one tractor and
remove the I.D.F. markings from it. We cannot find justification
for Major General Drori’s disengagement from any treatment of
the subject of Phalangist behavior, from the moment the Chief of
Staff arrived in Beirut and until after the departure of the
Phalangists from the camps.
We determine that it was the duty of the G.O.C. to warn the
Chief of Staff when the latter arrived in Beirut on 17.9.82 and
during the rest of the Chief of Staff’s stay in Beirut, that the
population in the camps is endangered by the continued presence
of the Phalangist forces in the camps, and that they should be
removed from there immediately -or that at least steps be taken
to ensure the safety of the population in the camps or to reduce
the danger they face to the barest possible minimum. Major
General Drori’s refraining from any action regarding the danger
facing the civilian population from the Phalangist forces, from
the time the Chief of Staff arrived in Beirut and until Saturday,
18.9.82, constitutes, in our opinion, a breach of the duty which
was incumbent on Major General Drori.

 

Division Commander Brigadier General Amos Yaron
The first issue specified in the notice sent to Brigadier General
Amos Yaron under section 15(A) of the law is that Brigadier
General Yaron did not properly evaluate and did not check
reports that reached him concerning acts of killing and other
irregular actions of the Phalangists in the camps, did not pass on
that information to the G.O.C. and to the Chief of Staff
immediately after it had been received on 16.9.82, and did not
take the appropriate steps to stop the Phalangists’ actions and to
protect the population in the camps immediately upon receiving
the reports.
We determined in the specification of the facts that Brigadier
General Yaron received reports of acts of killing in the evening
and night hours of 19.9.82. He received the first report from
Lieutenant Elul, and from it it should have been clear to him that
the Phalangists were killing women and children in the camps.
Brigadier General Yaron heard an additional report that same
evening from the division intelligence officer concerning the fate
of the group of 45 people who were in the Phalangists’ hands. A
third report was delivered by the Phalangists liaison officer, G.,
about 300 killed, a number which was later reduced to 120.
Even if we suppose that the first and second report were
considered by Brigadier General Yaron to be about the same
event, nevertheless, from all the reports, it became known to
Brigadier General Yaron that the Phalangists were perpetrating
acts of killing which went beyond combat operations, and were
killing women and children as well. That evening he was
satisfied with reiterating the warnings to the Phalangists’ liaison
officer and to Elie Hobeika not to kill women and children; but
beyond that he did nothing to stop the killing. He did not pass on
the information that he had received to Major General Drori that
evening nor on the following day in the morning call, nor when
they met before noon. When Brigadier General Yaron heard from
the division intelligence officer, in the briefing on 16.9.82, about
the report indicating the danger that women and children were
being killed, he interrupted him – and it appears from the
transcript of the conversation that took place then that Brigadier
General Yaron wished to play down the importance of the matter
and to cut off the clarification of the issue at that briefing.
Brigadier General Yaron testified that he was, indeed, aware that
the Phalangists’ norms of behavior during wartime are different
from those of the I.D.F. and that there is no sense in arguing
with them to change their combat ethics; but since in previous
Phalangist operations conducted jointly with the I.D.F. they had
not behaved aberrantly, he trusted that his reiterated warnings
not to kill women and children would suffice, the Phalangist
commanders’ promises would be kept, and the steps that he had
taken in order to obtain information on the Phalangists’
operations would enable him to follow their actions. We are not
prepared to accept this explanation. We have already determined
that the means of supervision over what the Phalangists were
doing in the camps could not ensure the flow of real and
immediate information on their actions. It is difficult to
understand how Brigadier General Yaron relied on these warnings
and assurances, when he knew about the Phalangists’ combat
ethics. He also did not take into account the influence of the
assassination of Bashir on the fanning of the Phalangists’
feelings of revenge. Already shortly after the Phalangists’
entrance into the camps, he started receiving reports which
should have clarified to him the gravity of the danger of a
massacre being perpetrated in the camps and which should have
spurred him to take immediate steps, whether on his own
cognizance or by authorization from the G.O.C. or the Chief of
Staff, to prevent the continuation of operations of these kinds.
No action was taken by Brigadier General Yaron, and neither did
he see to conveying the information in his possession to his
superiors.
An additional explanation by which Brigadier General Yaron tried
to justify his behavior was that in the situation which existed
that night, the reports about 300, or fewer, killed did not seem
to him sufficiently important to spur him to check whether they
were true, since on that night, in his role as division commander,
he had combat problems which were much more important than
the matter of the Phalangists in the camps (testimony of
Brigadier General Yaron on p. 699). We cannot accept this
explanation either. If Brigadier General Yaron could find the time
to hold a briefing, he could also have issued orders to pass on
the reports and to take appropriate measures such as were called
for by the information received.
Perhaps it is possible to find an explanation for Brigadier General
Yaron’s refraining from any substantial reaction to the serious
information which had reached him Thursday evening in that he
was interested that the Phalangists continue to operate in the
camps so that I.D.F. soldiers would not have to engage in
fighting in that area. Brigadier General Yaron had no reservations
about admitting the Phalangists into the camps; he testified that
he was happy with this decision and explained his position in
that “we have been fighting here for four months already and
there is a place where they can take part in the fighting, the
fighting serves their purposes as well, so let them participate and
not let the I.D.F. do everything” (p. 695). It is possible to show
understanding for this feeling, but it does not justify a lack of
any action on the part of Brigadier General Yaron, considering
the reports that had reached him.
During Friday as well, Brigadier General Yaron did not act
properly with regard to the Phalangist operation in the camps.
When he met with Major General Drori, he was obligated to
report all the information that had reached him, but he did not do
so. As a result of this failure, Major General Drori was not
apprised of all the information that had reached the division by
that time. A number of times, Brigadier General Yaron
approached the Phalangist officers who were at the forward
command post, including Elie Hobeika and repeated the
admonition not to do harm to women and children; but other
than this he did not take any initiative and only suggested that
the Phalangists be ordered not to advance – and an order to this
effect was issued by Major General Drori. This order might have
been regarded as enough of a precaution by Major General Drori,
who had not heard about instances of killing; but Brigadier
General Yaron should have known that halting the advance did
not ensure an end to the killing.
The notice sent to Brigadier General Yaron under Section 15(A)
also speaks of the failure to provide any warning to the Chief of
Staff when the latter reached Beirut on 17.9.82, as well as of
Brigadier General Yaron’s granting the Phalangists permission to
send a new force into the camps without taking any steps that
would bring a stop to the excesses. When the Chief of Staff
came to Beirut, Brigadier General Yaron did not tell him
everything he had heard and did not make any suggestion to him
about the continuation of the Phalangist operation in the camps.
From the time he saw the Chief of Staff (after his arrival in
Beirut) until the Chief of Staff left Beirut, no warning was heard
from Brigadier General Yaron – not even a significant comment
regarding the danger of a massacre. Brigadier General Yaron was
not oblivious to this danger. We have evidence that on Friday he
had spoken to the Phalangist liaison officer charging that his men
were killing women and children (statement No. 23 by Colonel
Agmon), but he did not express this awareness clearly in his
meetings with Major General Drori and the Chief of Staff.
Brigadier General Yaron’s inaction regarding the continuation of
the Phalangist operation in the camps was epitomized by the fact
that he did not issue, any order to prevent them from replacing
forces on Friday and did not impose any supervision on the
movement of the Phalangist forces to and from the camps,
despite the fact that the order halting the operation was not
rescinded.
We have already cited Brigadier General Yaron’s statement at the
Senior Command Meeting in which he admitted with laudible
candor that this was an instance of “insensitivity” on his part
and on the part of others concerned. As we have already stated
above, Brigadier General Yaron’s desire was to save I.D.F.
soldiers from having to carry out the operation in the camps, and
this appears to be the main reason for his insensitivity to the
dangers of the massacre in the camps. This concern of a
commander for the welfare of his men would be praiseworthy in
other circumstances; but considering the state of affairs in this
particular instance, it was a thoroughly mistaken judgment on
the part of Brigadier General Yaron, and a grave error was
committed by a high-ranking officer of an I.D.F. force in this
sector.
We determine that by virtue of his failings and his actions,
detailed above, Brigadier General Yaron committed a breach of
the duties incumbent upon him by virtue of his
position.

 

Mr. Avi Dudal, Personal Aide to The Minister of
Defense
The sole issue regarding which the notice was sent to Mr. Dudai
was “that on 17.9.82, during the morning hours or before noon,
Mr. Dudai received a report about killings that had been
perpetrated by the Lebanese Forces in the refugee camps, and
did not pass this report on to the Minister of Defense.”
In his testimony, Mr. Dudai denied that any report on what was
happening in the camps was given him on 17.9.82. Yet
Lieutenant Colonel Gai, an officer in the National Security Unit,
testified before us that on Friday morning, 17.9.82, he was in
the office of the director of Military Intelligence, where he met
one of the officers who works in the office, Captain Moshe
Sinai, who told him (according to Lt. Col. Gai) “as a piece of
gossip” that about 300 persons had been killed in the camps in
Beirut, and that, at around 11:00- 11:30 that same day, he – Lt.
Col. Gai – in one of his telephone conversations with Dudai, told
Dudai what he had heard from Captain Sinai (testimony by Gai,
pp. 921-923). In his second round of testimony, too, Gai stood
by his story that he had passed this report on to Dudai; except
that according to this testimony, the report was not given at
about 11:00 but rather at a later hour, between 12:30 – when
Dudai arrived at the Foreign Ministry, whence he spoke with Gai
– and 15:00 hours.
Lieutenant Colonel Hevroni, bureau chief to the director of
Military Intelligence, testified that he had been with Dudai at the
Sde Dov airfield for a meeting that the Defense Minister had
summoned there, [and] afterwards had come to Jerusalem with
Dudai for a meeting at the Foreign Minister’s office which had
lasted until 15:00 hours; and during that same period of time,
Dudai asked him what was happening regarding Gai’s and Sinai’s
story – and the reply was that there was no verification of this
report. It was clear to Hevroni from this conversation that Duda’i
had gotten the report which Gai had received from Sinai
(testimony of Hevroni, pp. 876-877). We also heard additional
testimony which was intended to show that post factum, Dudai
admitted, in the presence of Gai and the witness Colonel
Kniazher (called Zizi), that Gai had told him about the report on
Friday; but from Colonel Kniazher’s testimony (pp. 1466-1468) it
turns out that Gai wasn’t present at the time he spoke with
Dudai, and Duda’i wasn’t present at the time that Kniazher spoke
with Gai (p. 1466); and there is no evidence in Kniazher’s
testimony that Duda’i had heard about the report from Gai on
17.9.82.
As has been said, an investigation was held in the director of
Military Intelligence’s bureau after the event, as a result of which
an investigative report was drawn up (exhibit 29). In Paragraph 6
of this report, it is stated that the visit by Lt. Col. Gai between
the hours of 7:30-8:00 was intended to clarify what had
happened to two Military Intelligence documents which had not
yet reached the Defense Minister.
From the testimonies we have heard, it becomes apparent that
Gai’s visit in the morning hours was for the purpose of receiving
reports from Military Intelligence about that attack on the tank
which had occurred in West Beirut. Gai did pay two visits to the
director of Military Intelligence’s bureau that same day, but this
second visit was at about 11:00 hours and was carried out on an
order that Duda’i transmitted by phone from Sde Dov to Gai, so
that the latter would clarify the matter of the documents. This
inaccuracy would indeed appear tiny, but it has a certain
significance in that it fits in with testimonies that on that same
Friday morning, Dudai complained to those who work in his
office, including Gai, that there were defects in the reporting of
what was happening in Lebanon and that reports weren’t
reaching the Defense Ministry. Here it should be noted that on
that same day, the Defense Minister’s military adjutant was not
in the office because he was on vacation, and Dudai was taking
his place.
In paragraph 13 of exhibit 29, it is said “that in retrospect (in
reconstruction) it turned out that Lt. Col. Gai – after receiving the
report from the bureau chief of the director of Military
Intelligence – looked into the matter on the morning of 17
September with Operations Branch, after he, too, had gotten the
impression that an operations report/ occurrence was at issue;
and in the investigation, he was told that Operations did not
know about such an action by the Phalangists.” In his testimony,
Gai said that these statements were inaccurate, and that he had
only inquired at Operations if there was anything new from
Beirut and had received a negative reply. In paragraph 14 of
exhibit 29, it is said that in a second update between minister’s
aide Avi Dudai and Lt. Col. Gai, Dudai reported that he had
spoken with the bureau chief of the Director of Military
Intelligence, who had told him that the report had not received
verification from Military Intelligence personnel who had looked
into the matter.” What is said here was not confirmed by Lt. Col.
Gai’s testimony; and as mentioned, Dudai denied receiving any
report. The rather obvious general trend of exhibit 29 regarding
the report to Gai is: to show that report on the contents of the
cable on the 300 killed was conveyed from the Director of
Military Intelligence’s bureau to the Defense Minister’s bureau.
According to Lt. Col. Gai’s testimony, the conversation between
him and Captain Sinai cannot be viewed as more than “an
exchange of gossip,” and it is difficult to treat such a
conversation as a proper act of conveying an important
report.
Captain Sinai gave a statement to the staff investigators (No.
112) in which he said that he had read the cable (Appendix A,
exhibit 29) in front of Lt. Col. Gai, and that the latter had
reacted to it with the words, “Listen, that’s very interesting” –
and, as far as Sinai recalls, he said, ” I spoke with the minister
during the night, and I’ll go talk with him in a little while; the
story is very interesting, and the minister will be very happy to
bear the report.” According to Sinai, this is more or less the
version he heard from Gai. We find it difficult to attribute
importance to this statement. In his statement, Sinai gave exact
details concerning a search for the two documents which
preceded the conversation between Gai and himself, and at
present it is already clear that he erred in this, because the
search for the documents was not conducted in the early hours
of the morning, but rather close to the noon hour. It is not
reasonable [to suppose that ] if Gai did indeed receive Sinai’s
report as an interesting or important report, he would not
immediately convey it to Dudai, who on that same morning
complained several times about a lack of reporting on what was
happening in Lebanon and inquired after such reports from time
to time.
It is our opinion that it cannot be determined that Gai did indeed
pass on the contents of the above report to Dudai on Friday. The
doubt stems not only from contradictions revealed in the
witnesses’ statements, but also from [the fact] that the
witnesses who told about the conveying of the report have an
interest in showing that they fulfilled their obligation in
transmitting the report from the director of Military Intelligence’s
bureau to the Defence Minister’s aide. It is also difficult to treat
Gai’s testimony as testimony by someone who is a disinterested
party in the matter, since it is in his interest to show, after all
that happened, that he did not keep the contents of the report
he’d heard from Sinai to himself. Gai also did not give a
satisfactory explanation as to why, according to his version, he
had told Dudai about this report only in the afternoon, despite
the fact that Duda’i was constantly asking whether reports had
come in from Lebanon and was complaining about a lack of
reports. In view of the entire body of evidence, we do not
determine that Dudai indeed received the report about the 300
people killed on Friday, 17.9.82, and it therefore cannot be
determined that he refrained from fulfilling an obligation which
was incumbent upon him, as was stated in the notice of
(possible] harm which was sent to him.

 

The Functioning of Establishments
Thus far we have dealt with the findings and conclusions
regarding the course of events, and the responsibility for them of
those persons whose actions had a decisive effect on the course
of events. As we noted, we decided not to discuss the activities
of other persons who were close to the course of events but
who played a secondary role. All these persons, whether they
had central or secondary roles, operated within organizational
frameworks whose functioning was flawed.
In this section of the report we wish to dwell briefly on the flaws
in the functioning of these organizational establishments. We
shall devote only a few comments to this important topic, with
the aim of pointing to a number of flaws which seem to us
worrisome, and to bring about a situation in which all the
responsible authorities – civil and military – will take all the
requisite measures so that the reasons and causes for these
flaws will be examined and analyzed, the lessons therefrom
learned, and so that what requires amending will indeed be
amended. As in this entire report, we shall deal only with the
functioning of the various establishments from the time the
decision was taken on the entry of the Phalangists into the
camps until their departure. Within this framework, too, we shall
offer our opinion only regarding outstanding matters which are
especially noteworthy. Unquestionably, there were many
establishments that functioned properly, even excellently; but in
the nature of things our attention is directed toward those
establishments in which were revealed flaws that are relevant to
the subject of the commission’s scrutiny. Hence, the major part
of our attention is directed to two key topics which concern us:
one is the flaws in the course of decision-taking by the
policy-making institutions; the other is the flaws in the manner
of handling the information which was received.
The decision on the entry of the Phalangists into the refugee
camps was taken on Wednesday (15.9.82) in the morning. The
Prime Minister was not then informed of the decision. The Prime
Minister heard about the decision, together with all the other
ministers, in the course of a report made by the Chief of Staff at
the Cabinet session on Thursday (16.9.82) when the Phalangists
were already in the camps. Thereafter, no report was made to
the Prime Minister regarding the excesses of the Phalangists in
the camps, and the Prime Minister learned about the events in
the camps from a BBC broadcast on Saturday (18.9.82)
afternoon. This state of affairs is unsatisfactory on two planes:
first, the importance of the decision on the entry of the
Phalangists, against the backdrop of the Lebanese situation as it
was known to those concerned, required that the decision on
having the Phalangists enter the camps be made with the prior
approval of the Prime Minister. Moreover, once the decision had
been taken without the Prime Minister’s participation, orderly
processes of government required that the decision be made
known to him at the earliest possible moment. It is not proper
procedure for the Prime Minister to hear about this decision in an
incidental manner along with the other Cabinet ministers during a
Cabinet session, when the Phalangists were already in the
camps.
Second, once the decision was taken, orderly processes of
government required that the Prime Minister be informed of any
excesses committed. What the Defense Minister, the Chief of
Staff and the General Command knew on Friday and on Saturday
morning, the Prime Minister ought also to have known. It is
inconceivable that the Prime Minister should receive his
information about this from a foreign radio station.
As we have seen, the decision on the Phalangists’ entry into the
camps took final shape on Wednesday morning (15.9.82) on the
roof of the divisional forward command post. When this decision
was taken its ramifications were not examined, nor were its
advantages and disadvantages weighed. This is explicable in that
the decision was taken under pressure of time. Nonetheless,
enough time existed before the Phalangists’ entry on Thursday
evening (16.9.82) to carry out a situation appraisal in which the
decision, its manner of execution and its possible results could
be examined. No such deliberation in fact took place. The
discussion held by the Defense Minister on Thursday morning
(exhibit 27), in which he said, “I would move the Phalangists into
the camps,” cannot be regarded as a situation appraisal in the
usual sense of the term. The Chief of Staff told us that on
Wednesday he ordered his deputy to hold a consultation among
branch heads. Such a discussion did in fact take, place in the
late afternoon hours (exhibit 130), but it was a briefing and not a
situation appraisal. The issue of the Phalangists’ entry was
mentioned in that discussion in a general manner, but the
decision was not presented in detail, no examination was made
of the security measures to be taken, and no evaluation was
made of the possible ramifications of the decision.
The way in which decisions are to be taken and the appropriate
bodies to that end have been laid down in the procedures. These
formats ought to be exploited in order to enhance the prospect
that when decisions are taken, all the information at hand, the
various positions, the pros and cons, and the possible
ramifications of the decision will be taken into account.
Experience and intuition are very valuable, but it is preferable
that they not constitute the sole basis on which decisions are
taken.
The absence of the required staff discussion regarding the entry
of the Phalangists into the camps was accompanied by another
inevitable flaw. The information about the decision was not
transmitted in an orderly fashion to all the parties who should
have known about it. We have already seen that the Prime
Minister was unaware of the decision. The Foreign Minister, too,
learned of the Phalangists’ entry only in the Cabinet session. We
have already cited the account of the director of Military
Intelligence that he, too, did not learn about the decision until
Friday morning. Although we have stated that we find it difficult
to accept that account, this cannot justify the absence of an
orderly report about the decision being made to all the various
staff elements.
Thus, for example, it emerged that the Command Intelligence
officers were first briefed by the Command Intelligence Officer
about the fact that the Phalangists would enter the camps on
Thursday, some two hours after the operation had already
commenced. According to the testimony of the Military
Intelligence/ Research officers whose task it is to prepare
situation appraisals, they received no prior information about the
decision to have the Phalangists enter the camps.
As a result, that department was unable to prepare its own
appraisals, as would have been expected of it prior to the
Phalangists’ entry into the camps. This also had a certain effect
on the manner in which that department functioned at the stage
when it received the report about the 300 killed (Section 6,
Appendix B).
The head of the Mossad learned of the decision only at the
Cabinet session. Despite the fact that Mossad personnel were in
Beirut when the events occurred, and maintained ongoing
contacts with the Phalangist commanders, no report was
received from them regarding the special role of the Phalangists
in the camps prior to their entry, nor did they collect any data at
all on events in the camps after the Phalangists had
entered.
This is not a satisfactory state of affairs. Orderly processes
require that the decision on the entry of the Phalangists be
reported in an orderly and documented manner to the various
bodies that should know about it, so that they can direct their
activities and assessments accordingly.
The military establishments are based, inter alia, on diverse
channels of reporting. An examination of the events on the dates
relevant here indicates the existence of considerable flaws in
these channels of reporting. Matters that should have been
reported were not reported at all, or were reported late and in
fragmentary fashion. For example, the report about the behavior
of the Phalangists in the field was not transmitted to Divisional
Intelligence. For its part, the latter did not relay the reports about
the 45 civilians – which was brought to its attention already on
Thursday evening – to Command Intelligence. As for Command
Intelligence, despite the fact that it received a report from the
Division regarding the 300 killed, it did not convey it to General
Staff/Military Intelligence. The transmission of the report to
Military Intelligence was the result of the fine initiative of
Intelligence officer A.
We find a similar picture also in the Operations Branch channels.
Operations Branch Command did not receive an orderly report of
what was happening in the field. As we have seen, already on
Thursday evening and Friday morning -and throughout Friday –
reports were collected by a considerable number of soldiers and
officers who were near the camps. Only some of those reports –
and those in fragmentary fashion – were brought to the attention
of the Divisional Operations elements. Divisional Operations for
its part did not relay the information it had in an orderly fashion
to Command Operations elements. Thus, for example, the
reports in the possession of Divisional Operations about the 300
killed (or the 120 killed) were not transmitted at all to Command
Operations. The latter did not report (not even on the actual
entry of the Phalangists into the camps) to Operations Branch/
Operation. Thus, for example, the report about the 300 killed
was received already on Thursday evening in Command
Intelligence. For some reason that report was not conveyed
(neither in its telephone form nor in the form of the subsequent
cable) to the knowledge of the Command Intelligence Officer.
The report was not transmitted to Command Operations, and
ipso facto was not brought to the knowledge of the G.O.C.,
either that evening or the following day. Similarly, no orderly
report was made regarding the decision of the G.O.C. Northern
Command about halting the operations of the Phalangists. These
flaws in the reporting require examination and analysis, since in
the absence of an orderly and proper report the decision-makers
at the various levels lack the information required for their
decisions.
The reports that were received via the various channels were
also not always handled according to the standing procedures,
the result being that the reports sometimes became worthless.
Sometimes, reports received were not recorded in the designated
log books; reports that were relayed were sometimes transmitted
with important omissions, which prevented their being handled
properly. Reports that were dealt with (such as the handling of
the report about the 300 killed within the framework of Military
Intelligence/ Research) were at times handled superficially, with
a fruitless internal runaround and without exhausting the various
possibilities for verification and examination. Other Intelligence
means employed sometimes failed to produce the information
that was expected of them (see Section 5 Appendix B). Reports
that were received and which required a preliminary evaluation to
determine their significance and possible implications were not
dealt with properly and in the meantime were rendered worthless
due to a protracted process of examining their
authenticity.
In the course of the testimony we heard, we often came across
conversations – whether face-to-face or over the telephone or
radio – between highly responsible personnel. Contradictions
were often evident in the testimony about these conversations –
not out of any intention to conceal the truth, but as a natural
result of flaws in human memory. There is no satisfactory
explanation of why no notes were taken of these conversations.
The Prime Minister held many conversations with the Defense
Minister and the Chief of Staff, including the conversations in
which the decision was taken to seize key positions in West
Beirut. It is not surprising, therefore, if a certain difference exists
between the Prime Minister’s version of a guideline issued by
him, and that of the Chief of Staff regarding the guideline he
received.
The Defense Minister and the Chief of Staff held a conversation
on Tuesday evening in which a number of important decisions
were taken. This conversation was not recorded in any
form.
We believe that it is desirable to determine guidelines in this
matter in order to prevent a situation in which important
decisions are not documented. Precisely because human memory
is often faulty, it is desirable to determine a proper method and
procedure for recording those conversations which, according to
criteria to be determined, it is important to keep on record.

 

Recommendations and Closing Remarks

 

Recommendations
With regard to the following recommendations concerning a
group of men who hold senior positions in the Government and
the Israel Defense Forces, we have taken into account [the fact]
that each one of these men has to his credit [the performance of]
many public or military services rendered with sacrifice and
devotion on behalf of the State of Israel. If nevertheless we have
reached the conclusion that it is incumbent upon us to
recommend certain measures against some of these men, it is
out of the recognition that the gravity of the matter and its
implications for the underpinnings of public morality in the State
of Israel call for such measures.

 
The Prime Minister, The Foreign Minister, and the Head of the
Mossad
We have heretofore established the facts and conclusions with
regard to the responsibility of the Prime Minister, the Foreign
Minister, and the head of the Mossad. In view of what we have
determined with regard to the extent of the responsibility of each
of them, we are of the opinion that it is sufficient to determine
responsibility and there is no need for any further
recommendations.
G.O.C. Northern Command Major General Amir
Drori
We have detailed above our conclusions with regard to the
responsibility of G.O.C. Northern Command Major General Amir
Drori. Major General Drori was charged with many difficult and
complicated tasks during the week the I.D.F. entered West
Beirut, missions which he had to accomplish after a long period
of difficult warfare. He took certain measures for terminating the
Phalangists’ actions, and his guilt lies in that he did not continue
with these actions. Taking into account these circumstances, it
appears to us that it is sufficient to determine the responsibility
of Major General Drori without recourse to any further
recommendation.

 

The Minister of Defense, Mr. Ariel Sharon
We have found, as has been detailed in this report, that the
Minister of Defense bears personal responsibility. In our opinion,
it is fitting that the Minister of Defense draw the appropriate
personal conclusions arising out of the defects revealed with
regard to the manner in which he discharged the duties of his
office – and if necessary, that the Prime Minister consider
whether he should exercise his authority under Section 21-A(a)
of the Basic Law: the Government, according to which “the
Prime Minister may, after informing the Cabinet of his intention
to do so, remove a minister from office.”

 

The Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Rafael Eitan
We have arrived at grave conclusions with regard to the acts and
omissions of the Chief of Staff, Lt-Gen. Rafael Eitan. The Chief
of Staff is about to complete his term of service in April, 1983.
Taking into account the fact that an extension of his term is not
under consideration, there is no [practical] significance to a
recommendation with regard to his continuing in office as Chief
of Staff, and therefore we have resolved that it is sufficient to
determine responsibility without making any further
recommendation.

 

The Director of Military Intelligence, Major General Yehoshua
Saguy
We have detailed the various extremely serious omissions of the
Director of Military Intelligence, Major General Yehoshua Saguy,
in discharging the duties of his office. We recommend that Major
General Yehoshua Saguy not continue as Director of Military
Intelligence.

 

Division Commander Brigadier General, Amos Yaron
We have detailed above the extent of the responsibility of
Brigadier General Amos Yaron. Taking into account all the
circumstances, we recommend that Brigadier General Amos
Yaron not serve in the capacity of a field commander in the Israel
Defense Forces, and that this recommendation not be
reconsidered before three years have passed.
In the course of this inquiry, shortcomings in the functioning of
[several] establishments have been revealed, as described in the
chapter dealing with this issue. One must learn the appropriate
lessons from these shortcomings, and we recommend that, in
addition to internal comptrol in this matter, an investigation into
the shortcomings and the manner of correcting them be
undertaken by an expert or experts, to be appointed by a
Ministerial Defense Committee. It in the course of this
investigation it be found that certain persons bear responsibility
for these shortcomings, it is fitting that the appropriate
conclusions be drawn in their regard, whether in accordance with
the appropriate provisions of the military legal code, or in some
other manner.

 

Closing Remarks
In the witnesses’ testimony and in various documents, stress is
laid on the difference between the usual battle ethics of the
I.D.F. and the battle ethics of the bloody clashes and combat
actions among the various ethnic groups, militias, and fighting
forces in Lebanon. The difference is considerable. In the war the
I.D.F. waged in Lebanon, many civilians were injured and much
loss of life was caused, despite the effort the I.D.F. and its
soldiers made not to harm civilians. On more than one occasion,
this effort caused I.D.F. troops additional casualties. During the
months of the war, I.D.F. soldiers witnessed many sights of
killing, destruction, and ruin. From their reactions (about which
we have heard) to acts of brutality against civilians, it would
appear that despite the terrible sights and experiences of the war
and despite the soldier’s obligation to behave as a fighter with a
certain degree of callousness, I.D.F. soldiers did not lose their
sensitivity to atrocities that were perpetrated on non-combatants
either out of cruelty or to give vent to vengeful feelings. It is
regrettable that the reaction by I.D.F. soldiers to such deeds was
not always forceful enough to bring a halt to the despicable acts.
It seems to us that the I.D.F. should continue to foster the
[consciousness of] basic moral obligations which must be kept
even in war conditions, without prejudicing the I.D.F.’s combat
ability. The circumstances of combat require the combatants to
be tough – which means to give priority to sticking to the
objective and being willing to make sacrifices – in order to attain
the objectives assigned to them, even under the most difficult
conditions. But the end never justifies the means, and basic
ethical and human values must be maintained in the use of
arms.
Among the responses to the commission from the public, there
were those who expressed dissatisfaction with the holding of an
inquiry on a subject not directly related to Israel’s responsibility.
The argument was advanced that in previous instances of
massacre in Lebanon, when the lives of many more people were
taken than those of the victims who fell in Sabra and Shatilla,
world opinion was not shocked and no inquiry commissions were
established. We cannot justify this approach to the issue of
holding an inquiry, and not only for the formal reason that it was
not we who decided to hold the inquiry, but rather the Israeli
Government resolved thereon. The main purpose of the inquiry
was to bring to light all the important facts relating to the
perpetration of the atrocities; it therefore has importance from
the perspective of Israel’s moral fortitude and its functioning as
a democratic state that scrupulously maintains the fundamental
principles of the civilized world.
We do not deceive ourselves that the results of this inquiry will
convince or satisfy those who have prejudices or selective
consciences, but this inquiry was not intended for such people.
We have striven and have spared no effort to arrive at the truth,
and we hope that all persons of good will who will examine the
issue without prejudice will be convinced that the inquiry was
conducted without any bias.

 

Publication of the Report
In accordance with Section 20(a) of the Commissions of Inquiry
Law, this report and the attached Appendix A will be published
after the report is submitted to the Government. Appendix B to
this report will not be published, since we are convinced that this
is necessary to protect the security of the state and its foreign
relations.
Transcripts from the commission hearings which were conducted
in open session have already been made public. In accordance
with regulation 8(b) of the Commission of Inquiry Regulations
(Rules of Procedure) 1969, we resolve that the right to examine
the transcripts from those sessions which were held in camera,
as well as Appendix B to the report, will be given to all members
of the cabinet, all members of the Knesset Defense and Foreign
Affairs Committee, the General Staff of the Israel Defense
Forces, and any person or class of persons which may be
determined by the Ministerial Defense Committee. Similarly, the
right to examine Appendix B is given to those persons who
received a notice in accordance with section 15(a) of the law,
and to their representatives who appeared before the
commission.
This report was signed on 7 February 1983.
Yitzhak Kahan, Commission Chairman,

Aharon Barak, Commission Member,

Yona Efrat, Commission Member.

-- Reacties gesloten.