Al mashriq - The Levant


    Tel-el-Zaatar (the Hill of Thyme) was a Palestinian refugee camp established in 1948 in the northern part of what became Christian East Beirut during the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. As part of the internal political power games at the beginning of the war, Tel-el-Zaatar was besieged and a substantial part of its population massacred.

    In his biographical profile of Yasser Arafat, The broken revolutionary, Robert Fisk writes: "When he needed martyrs in 1976, he called for a truce around the besieged refugee camp of Tel el-Zaatar, then ordered his commanders in the camp to fire at their right-wing Lebanese Christian enemies. When, as a result, the Phalangists and "Tigers" militia slaughtered their way into Tel el-Zaatar, Arafat opened a "martyrs' village" for camp widows in the sacked Christian village of Damour. On his first visit, the widows pelted him with stones and rotten fruit. Journalists were ordered away at gunpoint."