Kahan Commission of Inquiry

   Toward the end of the War in Lebanon (1982), Christian Phalangist forces massacred Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in the Beirut area. Some alleged that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) should have known and could have prevented the massacres because the camps were within the army's supposed range of control. The resultant anguish within Israel led to the decision taken by the cabinet on 28 September 1982 to create a commission of inquiry chaired by Yitzhak Kahan, president of the Supreme Court of Israel. Other members of the commission were Aharon Barak, justice of the Supreme Court, and Yona Efrat, a reserve major general in the IDF. The Kahan Commission's terms of reference were described in the following way: "The matter which will be subjected to inquiry is: all the facts and factors connected with the atrocity carried out by a unit of the Lebanese Forces against the civilian population in the Shatila and Sabra camps."
   Its final report was issued in February 1983. Among other recommendations, it was suggested that Major General Yehoshua Saguy not continue as director of military intelligence and the division commander brigadier general Amos Yaron not serve in the capacity of a field commander in the IDF. Among other results of the report and recommendations was the resignation of Ariel Sharon as minister of defense. The commission charged Sharon with personal responsibility for the decision to allow the Phalangists to enter Sabra and Shatilla.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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