Italian MPs in Lebanon to Commemorate Sabra and Shatila
More than 200 Italian MPs, human-rights activists and journalists arrived in Lebanon on Thursday to commemorate on Saturday the 22nd anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, reported the Daily Star newspaper.
Former Information Minister George Skaff told the visitors that the country was counting on their support, as well as the support of the international community, to collect compensation for the damages caused by the Israeli occupation, said the daily.
Italian journalist Stefano Kiarini described the massacres, which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, as "crimes that can never be erased from human memory."
He said that the visiting delegation planned to build a proper cemetery for the victims, the daily said.
Kiarini blamed the Israelis for sanctioning the killings and said that Ariel Sharon, the Israeli defense minister at the time, had ordered the massacres. "Israelis believe that Palestinians don't have the right to live or even to be buried properly," he said.
Kiarini invited all citizens to participate in a march on Saturday to lay flowers at the victims' graves.
He also said that the delegates wanted to highlight the Palestinian side of the conflict, particularly the right of return, which, he claimed, was the key to regional peace.
"Sabra and Shatila are only two of many other violations that Israel has committed since 1949. They've tried to divert people's attention from the fact that Palestinians came from Palestine and that they have the right to return," he said, claiming that Israel's true objective was to exterminate all the refugees, according to the paper.
He said that Israel has changed its strategy and is now trying to eliminate the Palestinians through diplomacy.
European Union parliamentarian Louisa Morgantini said the intransigence in the Israeli-Palestinian talks was coming from the Israelis.
"Palestinians have the right to return to their country, they have the right to compensations and they have the right to an independent country with safe borders and a safe capital in Jerusalem," she was quoted as saying.
She said that while Europe supports Lebanon and Palestine economically and socially, its political support is lacking. "Europe should start putting pressure on Israel," she said.
Lawyer Farouk Yaghi said that a group of lawyers was preparing a lawsuit against Israel, which will include grievances concerning Israeli attacks on Lebanon, the paper added – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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