by Joseph Hobeika, Read about Arafat, PLO massacres in Lebanon Organized by Professor M. Kahl
Do you not remember Damour Lebanon. Let me remind you. Arafat and the PLO plunged Lebanon into “massacres, rape, mutilation, rampages of looting and killings. Out of a population of 3.2 million, some 40,000 or more people had been killed, 100,000 wounded, 5,000 permanently maimed
In January of 1976, the destruction of Damour, a town of some 25,000 was completed by the PLO within two weeks. “The priest of Damour, Father Mansour Labaky desperately trying to save people of the town telephoned Kamal Jumblat [one of the Lebanese leaders], in whose parliamentary constituency Damour lay. ‘Father, Jumblat said, ‘I can do nothing for you, because it depends on Yasser Arafat’ ” . All efforts were useless. In the morning following the first night of invasion, when more than fifty people were massacred, Father Labaky “despite the shelling managed to get to the one house, to bring out some corpses. An entire family had been killed, the Canan family, four children all dead, and the mother, the father, and the grandfather. The mother was still hugging one of the children. And she was pregnant
The eyes of the children were gone and their limbs were cut off. No legs and no arms” (123). In total, 582 people were massacred in the storming of Damour. Father Labaky went with the Red Cross to bury them. “Many of the bodies had been dismembered, so they had to count the heads to number the dead. Three of the men they found had had their genitals cut off and stuffed in their mouths”
Azmi Zrayir, the PLO Member, an organizer of the terrorist attack in March, 1975 on the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv in which seven people were killed and eleven wounded, was remembered in Lebanon as “a thief, a murderer, a rapist and a torturer.” Being a PLO headquarters commander in Tyre, “he formed a football team into which he conscripted teenage children. The players were forced to gratify Zrayir’s sexual appetites. He debauched both girls and boys. At least one child who defied him was shot dead” (144).
Damour lay across the Sidon - Beirut highway about 20 km south of Beirut on the slopes of a foothill of the Lebanon range. On the other side of the road, beyond a flat stretch of coast, is the sea. It was a town of some 25,000 people, containing five churches, three chapels, seven schools, private and public, and one public hospital where Muslims from near by villages were treated along with the Christians, at the expense of the town.
On 9 January 1976, three days after Epiphany, the priest of Damour Father Mansour Labaky, was carrying out a Maronite custom of blessing the houses with holy water. As he stood in front of a house on the side of the town next to the Muslim village of Harat Na’ami, a bullet whistled past his ear and hit the house. Then he heard the rattle of machine-guns. He went inside the house, and soon learned that the town was surrounded. Later he found out by whom and how many—the forces of Sa’iqa, consisting of 16,000 Palestinians and Syrians, and units of the Mourabitoun and some fifteen other militias, reinforced by mercenaries from Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a contingent of Libyans.
Father Labaky telephoned the Muslim sheikh of the district and asked him, as a fellow religious leader, what he could do to help the people of the town. ‘I can do nothing,’ he was told ‘They want to harm you. It is the Palestinians. I cannot stop them.’
While the shooting and some shelling went on all day, Father Labaky telephoned a long list of people, politicians of both the Left and the Right, asking for help. They all said with apologies and commiserations that they could do nothing. Then he telephoned Kamal Jumblatt, in whose parliamentary constituency Damour lay. ‘Father,’ Jumblatt said, ‘I can do nothing for you, because it depends on Yasser Arafat.’ He gave Arafat’s phone number to the priest. An aide answered, and when he would not call Arafat himself, Father Labaky told him, ‘The Palestinians are shelling and shooting at my town. I can assure you as a religious leader, we do not want the war, we do not believe in violence.’ He added that nearly half the people of Damour had voted for Kamal Jumblatt, ‘who is backing you,’ he reminded the PLO man. The reply was, ‘Father, don’t worry. We don’t want to harm you. If we are destroying you it is for strategical reasons.’
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