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Middle east

Celebrations in Palestinian refugee camps on Sharon’s death

© AFP archive

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-13

The death of former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon's sparked celebrations in the Shatila and Sabra Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Many Palestinians blame Sharon for the 1982 massacres that took place there during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war.

“It’s a day of celebration for us,” a man taking part in the festivities exclaimed. “But it would have been better if Sharon had been judged before an international court, so that he would have been judged - for the whole world to see – [the] war crimes he committed against the Palestinian people.”

An elderly woman chimed in: “I'm very happy,” she said “He killed a lot of us, many of our people,” she said.

Hundreds of men, women and children were killed in the 1982 massacre that took place on the outskirts of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. The attack came just three months after Israel invaded Lebanon and was carried out as Israeli troops surrounded the two Palestinian refugee camps.

Sharon, who was Israel’s defence minister at the time, was later forced to resign over the incident after an Israeli commission of inquiry found that he bore "indirect" and "personal" responsibility for the massacre as his troops allowed Lebanese Christian militiamen to enter the camps.

Sharon later expressed regret for what he described as a "terrible tragedy", but never apologised or accepted any responsibility for the incident.

In an interview with FRANCE 24, a former Sharon government spokesman said that Sharon “had nothing to do with the massacre."

Sharon died in hospital just outside Tel Aviv on Saturday after spending just over eight years in a coma following a stroke.

Date created : 2014-01-12

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