Sunday, April 3, 2016

How WCG Responded to the Sabra and Shatilla Massacre

Authoritarian religious groups tend to teach their followers to view matters in a simplistic black and white manner. This is good. This is bad. If one can teach people to view matters in this way it is easier to manipulate them. The COGs tend to take this approach with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One side is good One side is bad. And if information comes to light that contradicts that viewpoint the contrary information is minimized or denied. This may be seen in how WCG reacted to the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982.

From the evening of September 16 till the morning of September 18, 1982 Falangist militiamen committed a sustained massacre in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila and massacred up to thousands of defenseless Palestinians. The massacre lasted for about 36 hours. While this occurred Israeli personnel were stationed outside Sabra and Shatila.

WCG's immediate response to this terrible massacre may be seen in the September 20, 1982 issue of the Pastor General's Report.
World public opinion, especially that of Europe, is solidly lining up against Israel in its deepening involvement in Lebanon. No matter what Israel does it seems to turn out wrong. The smoke is still clearing from the weekend massacre of Palestinian residents of two urban camps in West Beirut. Israel has been indirectly implicated in the blood-letting for permitting Falangist militiamen into the camps in search of P.L.O. guerrillas. The Falangists instead went berserk killing everyone they saw, including women, children and the elderly. (p. 10.)
Did the Falangists go berserk? The massacre lasted for 36 hours. That is not a sign of uncontrollable rage but indicates an organized and determined effort that was followed through for 36 hours. The Falangists entered Sabra and Shatila and chose to commit the acts of massacre for 36 hours.

In an attempt to minimize the horror of what happened at Sabra and Shatila WCG's article then stated that the murderers did it in revenge for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel and it is insinuated -- without any evidence -- that Arafat might have been behind the assassination.
The rightist militiamen were seeking revenge for the shocking murder, on Tuesday September 14, of Lebanon's President-elect Bashir Gemayel and over a score of his top aides. Significantly, P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat did not claim responsibility for the dastardly act. He couldn't, surely, for he was about to embark on another mission to Europe to shore up his role as a legitimate statesman. (p. 10.)
WCG's author presents no evidence whatsoever to support that accusation that Arafat had anything to do with that assassination.

Contrary to that accusation a man connected with a pro-Syrian party, the SSNP, was arrested for the assassination.

The article proceeds to scare monger about Yasser Arafat meeting with Pope John Paul II.
On September 15 Arafat topped off an earlier red carpet welcome in Greece with a real jewel for his black-and-white head-dress: a 20-minute private audience with Pope John Paul II in Rome. The reception understandably unleashed a storm of protest in Jerusalem. 
After the meeting, the Vatican released a communique saying John Paul chose to meet Arafat because of the Pope's "constant preoccupation to foster the difficult peace process in the Middle East." The communique added that by granting the audience the Pope "demonstrated his benevolence towards the Palestinian people. ..expressing the wish that an equitable and lasting solution be reached as soon as possible to the Middle East conflict which would, excluding recourse to armed violence in any form and above all to terrorism and vengeance, lead to the recognition of the rights of all people and in particular to those of the Palestinians to a homeland of their own--and of Israel to her security." (Emphasis ours.) (p. 10.)
Just imagine: All these Palestinian civilians (who are viewed as non-white by the COGs' leaders) had just been massacred and WCG's leaders were scare mongering about Yasser Arafat meeting with Pope John Paul II.

An interview made by journalist Oriana Fallaci with Ariel Sharon is then presented in WCG's article with the stated intention of making Sharon look good and Arafat and the Palestinians look bad. The interview was published on August 30, 1982.
Here are a few key excerpts of an interview with Israel's Defense Minister Ariel Sharon conducted by the famous razor-sharp Italian interviewer, Oriana Fallaci, printed in the August 30, 1982 TIMES of London. The interview gives quite an insight into the character not only of Sharon but of the P.L.O. and its "messenger of peace," Arafat. (p. 11.)
So whoever placed this interview thought this would show Israel's Defense Minister Ariel Sharon in a good light and prove that Arafat and the Palestinians deserve to be hated and scorned as WCG's leaders taught. Here is one excerpt.
FALLACI: ... Why did you go on with that massacre even when they had agreed to leave? And why when the agreement had been reached, on August 11, thanks to Habib, did you order the most ferocious bombing of all, 12 endless hours that caused almost 600 dead?

SHARON: Because Arafat continued to play, to trick, to lie. Because he made a joke of us, that liar. You can never trust him, you can never trust them. They live on shrewdness and they always betray their word, their agreements. Even during the expulsion they did. They had agreed to give their names, for instance, instead they haven't. They had agreed not to board jeeps and trucks, instead they tried to. On August 11 they still demanded that we withdrew from Beirut, to be substituted by the international forces, So I bombed them, yes....But it worked. The following night...they bent to our conditions. And I stopped. (p. 12.)
Note that Sharon never bothered to deny or question Fallaci's statement that many people were killed by the bombardment of August 11, 1982. He justified the deadly bombardment to force Palestinians to give names and not use jeeps and trucks while leaving Beirut.

WCG's writer even underlined parts of Sharon's response seemingly failing to analyze the implication of Sharon's words.

When things happen that contradict our view of the world we should investigate such matters. But in this instance WCG's leaders chose to insist that their view of the matter was still correct. They did not view Palestinians as white like themselves so their lives are not valued equally by WCG's leaders at the time.

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