Situation in Lebanon – SecGen report




20 September 1982




1. This report is submitted in pursuance of Security Council resolution 521 (1982) adopted at 0345 hours (New York time) on 19 September 1982.  In that resolution, the Security Council, among other things, authorized the Secretary-General as an immediate step to increase the number of United Nations observers in and around Beirut from 10 to 50; requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with the Government of Lebanon, to ensure the rapid deployment of those observers in order that they might contribute, in every way possible within their mandate, to the effort to ensure full protection for the civilian population; requested the Secretary-General as a matter of urgency to initiate appropriate consultations and in particular consultations with the Government of Lebanon on additional steps which the Council might take, including the possible deployment of United Nations forces, to assist that Government in ensuring full protection for the civilian population in and around Beirut and further requested him to report to the Council within forty-eight hours.

2. Immediately after the adoption of the resolution, I instructed General Erskine, Chief of Staff of UNTSO, to contact the Israeli authorities with a view to sending 40 additional United Nations observers to Beirut without delay.

3. On 20 September, I met with the Permanent Representative of Israel, who informed me of the decision of the Israeli Cabinet, adopted at a meeting held on 19 September, "to concur with the dispatch of an additional forty United Nations observers to the Beirut area".  The text of his decision is contained in a letter which the Permanent Representative addressed to me on the same day, and is reproduced in Annex I to this report.

4. General Erskine was informed of the decision of the Israeli Cabinet in the morning of 20 September.  At 1023 hours GMT on the same day, 25 United Nations military observers, accompanied by 3 military staff officers and 2 United Nations field service officers, left Naqoura for Beirut by road.  They arrived in Beirut at 1230 hours GMT without incident.  It is planned to deploy these observers as follows:

(a) West Beirut:  One static observation post on top of the ILMAC building overlooking Sabra and Chatila refugee camps, two mobile patrols along the road running east of the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps from the airport roundabout to the Babir Hospital area, two mobile patrols along the coast from Bir Hassan roundabout north to Corniche Mazraa, two mobile patrols in the vicinity of Bordj el Brajneh refugee camp and an observation post in the airport area.

(b) East Beirut:  One static observation post at Yarze, two mobile patrols north of Yarze to the port area, and an additional patrol on the outskirts of Beirut along the Beirut-Damascus highway.

Ten more observers are scheduled to arrive in Beirut on 21 September and 5 the next day.

5. The following developments in West Beirut have been reported by the United Nations observers of the Observer Group Beirut (OGB) for the period from 1800 hours GMT, 18 September (time of my last report), to 1000 hours GMT, 20 September.

a) The situation in West Beirut remained generally calm.  Between 1800 hours on 18 September and 1000 hours on 19 September intense civil defence activity including removal of bodies and general cleaning up operations were observed in the refugee camp areas of Sabra and Chatila.

b) On 19 September one battalion from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) started deployment in the Sabra, Chatila and Bordj el Brajneh refugee camp areas.  The battalion was to check on the presence of any armed personnel in the camp areas, collect weapons and safeguard the local population in those areas.  As of 1000 hours GMT on 20 September LAF was deployed in the Bordj el Brajneh refugee camp area and an area enclosed by the roads running south from Babir Hospital to the Airport roundabout, west to Bir Hassan roundabout, north to Corniche Mazraa and thence east to Babir Hospital.

c) No major change in the deployment of IDF was observed during the reporting period.  IDF units were observed collecting captured military equipment, including arms, rocket launchers, mortars and vehicles.

d) No Kataeb or de facto militia units were observed during this period in the general West Beirut area.

e) During this period, OGB received various unconfirmed reports about the detention of civilians and breaking into buildings in the Bir Hassan area.  Information of this kind has been referred to the Lebanese authorities.

f) During the period under review, OGB teams were stopped several times by IDF units on the coastal road, in the vicinity of Corniche Mazraa and the ILMAC building.  At 0904 hours GMT on 20 September an OGB Liaison team was stopped at gunpoint on the road to the Saint Georges hotel and told to obtain permits from an IDF office.

6. Following the adoption of Security Council resolution 521 (1982), I also requested General Callaghan, the Commander of UNIFIL, to comment on the possibility of sending UNIFIL units to the Beirut area, should the Lebanese Government so request and the Security Council so decide.  He informed me that, if required, he could send to Beirut a group of about 2,000 men drawn from selected contingents of UNIFIL without seriously affecting the capacity of UNIFIL to perform its own interim tasks in Southern Lebanon, which are to man its present positions and to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to the local population.

7. Of course, any new functions of UNIFIL would require a decision of the Security Council, the consent of the host Government, the agreement of the contributing countries involved and the co-operation of all parties concerned.

8. On the morning of 20 September, I met with the Permanent Representative of Lebanon, Ambassador Tueni, who informed me that his Government had formally requested the reconstitution of the multinational force.  Following the meeting, Ambassador Tueni addressed a letter to me to confirm this information.  The text of his letter appears in Annex II.

9. On the same day, I received a letter from the Permanent Observer of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United Nations, Mr. Terzi, in which he informed me that the PLO insisted that "military forces, or United Nations military forces, or agreed multinational forces, should be deployed immediately to undertake the effective safeguards".  His letter is reproduced in Annex III.

10. At 1700 hours New York time on 20 September, the President of the United States of America made a statement announcing that he had decided, together with the Governments of France and Italy, to send the multinational force back to Beirut for a limited period.


Letter dated 20 September 1982 from the Permanent Representative of

Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

I have the honour to inform you that the Israel Cabinet, in its extraordinary meeting held on 19 September 1982, resolved to concur with the dispatch of an additional forty United Nations observers to the Beirut area.  The necessary steps have already been taken to co-ordinate their arrival in Beirut.

At the same meeting, the Cabinet also adopted a decision of which the following are the salient points:

"On the New Year (Rosh Hashana), a blood libel was leveled against the Jewish State and its Government, and against the Israel Defence Forces.

In a place where there was no position of the Israel army, a Lebanese unit entered a refugee centre where terrorists were hiding, in order to apprehend them.  This unit caused many casualties to innocent civilians.  We state this fact with deep grief and regret.

The Israel Defence Forces, as soon as they learned of the tragic events in the Shatila Camp, put an end to the slaughter of the innocent civilian population and forced the Lebanese unit to evacuate the Camp.

The civilian population itself gave clear expression to its gratitude for the act of salvation by the Israel Defence Forces.

All the direct or implicit accusations that the Israel Defence Forces bear any blame whatsoever for this human tragedy in the Shatila Camp are entirely baseless and without any foundation whatsoever.  The Government of Israel rejects them with the contempt which they deserve.

The fact remains that without the intervention of the Israel Defence Forces, there would have been much greater loss of life.

It is also necessary to note that for two days and nights the Israel Defence Forces carried out action against terrorists in West Beirut and no complaint whatsoever was voiced concerning civilian casualties.

It has become evident that the terrorists grossly violated the evacuation agreement, not only by leaving 2,000 of them in West Beirut, but also by hiding away quantities of weapons, including heavy arms such as tanks, artillery, mortars and large quantities of ammunition.

All this was done in order to continue with bloody terror against Israel and other nations from West Beirut."

(Signed)  Yehuda Z. BLUM


Letter dated 20 September 1982 from the Permanent Representative of

Lebanon to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

Confirming our conversation of this morning, and in the context of the consultations you are conducting, I am writing to inform you that the Government of Lebanon has formally requested the reconstitution of the Multi-national Force which was operating in Lebanon as of August 21, 1982.

Your Excellency will recall that I had indicated before the Security Council, in the meeting held on Saturday, that my Government was already discussing the possible return of the Multi-national Force, the mandate of which, we had hoped to see prolonged.

I am instructed to inform Your Excellency that the Council of Ministers met this morning and decided to press its request for an early deployment with the Governments of the United States of America, France, and Italy.

As soon as my Government receives the replies, which are expected very shortly, we will inform Your Excellency of their contents.

My Government wishes to take this opportunity to reiterate, as in our letter of August 20th, Lebanon's commitment, in accordance with the Charter, to the Security Council resolutions relating to the situation in Lebanon, and more particularly, our continued readiness to give all necessary assistance to the United Nations Observer Group in fulfilling an extremely difficult mission for which we have the highest appreciation.

(Signed)  Ghassan TUÉNI


Letter dated 20 September 1982 from the Permanent Observer of

the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United Nations

addressed to the Secretary-General

I am instructed by Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization to convey to you the following in regard to Security Council resolution 521 (1982), unanimously adopted by the Security Council on Sunday, 19 September 1982.

"The increase in the number of United Nations Observers in and around Beirut from 10 – 50 does not provide the guarantee for our people and does not defend the refugee camps.  The criminal designs are being planned at different sources, and the Palestine Liberation Organization insists that military forces, or United Nations military forces, or agreed multinational forces, should be deployed immediately to undertake the effective safeguards.

"The provision that the Lebanese Government should be exclusively consulted should not be accepted.  The Government of Lebanon has not protected the camps against these acts of genocide despite the fact that the Lebanese armed forces were enabled to enter all Palestinian refugee camps after we moved our armed forces from Beirut.  This was agreed upon with the Government of Lebanon and the Lebanese armed forces.

"Gaza and Acre hospitals were stormed.  In the Gaza hospital 1,097 martyrs fell, and in the Acre hospital more than 300 other martyrs.  This act of genocide was perpetrated while the Lebanese armed forces and the International Red Cross had assumed responsibility for the safety of these institutions and to our knowledge prior agreement was reached between the Red Cross and the Israeli army with a provision to protect these institutions even during the fighting.  Written and oral guarantees will not be trusted any longer.  It will be appreciated if the above is brought to the attention of the Member States of the United Nations and in particular to the members of the Security Council."

(Signed)    Zuhdi Labib TERZI

Permanent Observer


Document symbol: S/15408
Document Type: Report
Document Sources: General Assembly 7th Emergency Special Session, Secretary-General, Security Council
Subject: Peacekeeping
Publication Date: 20/09/1982

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