the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English

This Week in HistoryThis Week in History: Week 38 (17 September 1982)

Palestinian Refugees Killed In Lebanon

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Palestinian refugees are killed in refugee camps in Lebanon.

In 1982, Palestinian refugees living in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut, Lebanon, were attacked by members of a right-wing Lebanese militia. Estimates of the number of people killed, including men, women and children, range from 800 to 3,500. Lebanon was under the control of Israeli forces at the time, and Israeli soldiers were accused of allowing the massacre to take place. In 1983, an Israeli inquiry found that Israel was indirectly responsible and Defence Minister Ariel Sharon resigned after being widely condemned for failing to stop the killings. Sharon went on to become the Israeli Prime Minister in 2001.

refugees (noun): people who have had to leave their homeland to find safety
refugee camp (noun): place where refugees can stay, living in very basic conditions
right-wing (adjective): conservative or traditional in belief
militia (noun): non-army people who fight
massacre (noun): the killing of many people; mass murder
condemn (verb): judge with extreme disapproval

Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon was Israeli Defence Minister at the time of the massacre in 1982, and became Israeli Prime Minister in 2001.

Test your understanding:

1. Israel was found indirectly responsible for the killings because Israeli forces in control of the area

a) attacked the refugees
b) attacked the right-wing militia
c) allowed the militia to attack the refugees

Show answer


2. The Isreali Defence Minister who resigned after being condemned for his role in the killings

a) was forced to leave Israel
b) was jailed for human rights abuses
c) became the Prime Minister of Israel

Show answer


3. The citizens of a country will condemn a politician if they think he or she has

a) done something terrible
b) done something wonderful
c) done something quite well

Show answer


Contributor: Matt Errey