From Death to Life: Forty Years After the Sabra Shatila Massacre
Special Report By Dr. Swee Chai Ang
Dr. Swee Chai Ang is founder and patron of British Charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, author of From Beirut to Jerusalem, A Woman Surgeon with the Palestinians” updated and republished 2019 by The Other Press, Kuala Lumpur. She was an orthopedic surgeon in Gaza Hospital Sabra Shatila during the 1982 massacre.
AS WE APPROACH the 40th anniversary of the Sabra Shatila massacre, the situation in the West Bank and Gaza and for the Palestinians living in refugee camps in countries neighboring Israel could not be more dark and grim. The constant arrests, house demolitions and killing of unarmed Palestinians in the West Bank and the regular bombing of blockaded Gaza are rarely reported in the mainstream media anymore. Funding for Palestinian refugees is also in jeopardy. The Gulf’s normalization with Israel resulted in severe funding cuts to UNRWA. Fourteen U.S. Republican senators are also trying to erase Palestinian refugees by redefining who is a refugee and conditioning aid to UNRWA (S. 2479).
The six million refugees living outside historic Palestine (now called Israel) are all but forgotten. Many of us have allowed them to fade in our consciousness. Yet every Palestinian killed—be they the recent 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, killed by Israeli bombardment of Gaza in 2021; or the 2,022 killed, including 526 children, in Operation Protective Edge in 2014; the 1,400 deaths, including 300 children, in Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9; or in the Great March of Return cannot be forgotten.
These deaths wrench out the hearts of their family and those who love them, leaving large gaping wounds which have not healed. There is no healing as the violence against the Palestinians is ongoing. There is no post-traumatic stress syndrome; there is only ongoing traumatic onslaughts and wounding of their bodies and souls. Every child born in Gaza after 2008 has experienced four major military assaults with intensive bombardment, deaths and injuries. Two million Palestinians are held under blockade in Gaza since 2007 converting Gaza into a large prison whose “inmates” are bombed and not allowed to escape.
This year also marks the 74th anniversary of the Nakba—and the 105th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, drafted with support of U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis and two other Americans who were part of the then-nascent Zionist movement. Britain was on its ascent in colonial power, thus paving the way for the giving away of the homes of the Palestinians and wiping Palestine off the world map. Read the whole report
An extremely powerful and important video interview with Dr Swee Chai Ang prepared by Orthohub.