Reading David Hirst’s Beware of Small States: Lebanon, Battleground of the Middle East, I’ve come across a passage that highlights other manifestations of Israel’s “purity of arms” in Lebanon aside from the mass slaughter of civilians (Hirst cites 20,000 fatalities, primarily civilian, in the 1982 invasion alone).
The passage discusses the “mess [that] confronted 1,500 US Marines, when, returning to Lebanon along with the rest of the ‘multi-national’ force [in September 1982], they took up position at Beirut international airport”. The Multinational Force, which had in August been tasked with overseeing the withdrawal from the country of the PLO, had itself prematurely withdrawn and was now being redeployed following the massacre of several thousand civilians at Sabra and Shatila by Lebanese Phalangists overseen by the IDF.
Hirst describes the scene at the airport:
“[The Marines’] first task there had been to remove the stinking mounds of excrement that, as in so many other places in the country, adorned just about everything, floors, elevators, chairs, desks and drawers. The Marines got the message. This, they quickly understood, was a ‘house-warming present’ from the Israeli soldiers whose place they were taking; it was their way of venting their spleen on those ‘Arab-loving’ American allies of theirs, who had bought all that Arab ‘propaganda’ about Sabra and Shatila, the Beirut blitz, and the iniquity of a nation that had done such things. Less disgusting, but decidedly more dangerous, was their other gift: the countless cluster bomblets, golfball-sized, which they had strewn the length and breadth of the airport buildings”.