Life in the camp under the Zionist occupation

Lebanon War 1982

It was summer 1982 in the aftermath of the Zionist invasion and the total destruction of the camp by the Zionist planes. For this reason, the camp residents could live in semi-destroyed houses without doors or windows without suffering from severe cold. Therefore, the main concern was that winter would come before reconstructing their homes. I used to hear these expressions of worry from the camp people, afraid of the coming of winter, while they were in this situation.

Until that time, the camp still consisted of rubble blocks scattered here and there, despite the modest efforts of the residents to remove the rubble and minor repairs to some houses. There was no electricity, so the camp was plunged into darkness at night. And when it was dark, no one would move in the camp. The camp looked like a completely deserted place.

Perhaps the description of Sheikh Hammod, who was a cleric in the camp, that the camp is like a cemetery, expresses the reality. We sometimes heard shooting sounds at night, but we did not know their source.

Once, we heard the sound of gunfire at night close to us.

I thought of opening the door to see what was happening, but my mother caught me and prevented me from going out. She was worried about me all the time.

She wanted me to leave the camp, but this was a hard thing to do. I have a moral obligation towards my people and could not leave them in this situation. When I remember my mother now, I feel much pain in my heart. I feel enormous hatred and contempt towards the Zionists criminals who came from their ghettos in Eastern Europe and destroyed our lives, forbidding us to live in our country freely and peacefully.

The most provocative is that the Zionist criminals, unlike all occupants in history, portrayed themselves as victims. They managed to brainwash people in the west that they are so.

One major problem in the camp was that if someone got sick at night, we couldn’t move to take him or her to Doctor Outside the camp. Moving at night meant exposing us to Zionist fire.

The only clinic was the clinic run by the Norwegian medical team, who left after the invasion. There were no medical services left in the camp, neither in regular times nor in emergency cases.

I remember my grandmother’s case, who had severe stomach cramps, but we could not move at night to take her to Abu Issam, a nurse in the camp who functioned like a Doctor in the absence of doctors and proper health care. Abu Issam worked many years a nurse.

He had much experience and indeed got a good reputation among the residents of the camp .In addition, he always kept medicine at home. We gave her some herbs that help the stomach, and we waited until next day and went to Abu Issam, who gave her some medicine.

Once, an accident happened that saddened the whole residents in the camp.

It happened with a young man from the camp named Youssef, a Mongolian type.

Youssef was moving in the camp all time. When he approached the Israeli checkpoint, they shot and killed him one day. Once I saw him in the street. He tried to explain it to me in his way the situation.

So he made his finger the shape of a pistol and aimed it in all directions. Youssef knew that we had fallen under a ruthless occupation. He was trying to express this situation with the movements of his hands.

Youssef’s death was a tragedy because everyone knew his condition. The Zionists kidnapped his life as they kidnapped and still the Palestinian lives. I do not stray from the truth when I say that the word “Zionist” or “Israeli” or “Jew” has become equivalent to death in the Palestinian culture.

All camp residents walked in his funeral, which was an expression of rejection of the occupation. It was a sad funeral. Everyone walked into the funeral knew Youssef. And everyone knew that he might get killed at any time and for no reason.


This is part of my testimony about the situation in Burj Shimali camp under the Zionist invasion to Lebanon in June 1982.  I witnessed all the horror inflicted by Zionists. So I feel it’s a moral obligation to tell the story of those people who lived all this horror to help in revealing the murderous nature of Zionists.

I’m grateful to Mr. Binu and countercurrents for publishing this testimony.

Salim Nazzal is a Palestinian Norwegian researcher, lecturer playwright and poet, wrote more than 17 books such as Perspectives on thought, culture and political sociology, in thought, culture and ideology, the road to Baghdad. Palestine in heart.


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