Shatila camp is called by this name after the Lebanese Saad Eddin Basha Shatila who the land of the camp owner’s agent. Some refugees, wanted to name the camp after Al-Mujahidoun (the militants). It is located in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to the east of the Al-Madina Al-Riyadiah (Sports City), and administratively follows the Baabda district of Mount Lebanon Governorate. It extends from Ariha School, parallel to the Farhat neighborhood in the east, and from Ariha School to the Sharq Cinema in the north, the Western Neighborhood and the Madin Riyadiah in the west, and Sabri Hamada Street and Al Harash in the south. It was established by the ICRC with the aim of accommodating the Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their homes on a land half of which was leased by UNRWA for a period of 99 years and half of which belonged to the PLO with an area of 39,567 square meters, before the urban expansion, as this expansion included the western neighborhood and some areas adjacent to the camp.
Its population is approximately (30,000) people, of whom (8,500) are Palestinian refugees, while the rest are from Lebanese, Syrian, Asian and other nationalities. Most of the camp’s residents are from the villages of the Galilee provence, Saffuriya, Haifa, Jaffa, Shafa Amr, Al-Khalisa and several other cities in northern Palestine.
During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the camp was subjected to complete destruction and was repeatedly targeted during the Lebanese Civil War, which led to the destruction of property and the displacement of refugees. The Shatila camp is considered one of the most famous Palestinian camps in Lebanon, as a result of the horrific massacre carried out by the Lebanese Phalange forces (Al-Kata’eb), backed by the Israeli occupation army in September 1982, after the withdrawal of the Palestinian guerrillas from Lebanon with US and international guarantees of protection for the Palestinian refugees. The number of the massacre victim is estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 victims, most of them were Palestinian civilians, along with Lebanese.
During the “War on the Camps” (1985-1987), Shatila was besieged for three years by the Amal Movement and its allies. Number on its neighborhoods were destroyed by tank shells. A severe shortage of supplies and worsening health problems emerged. The camp residents suffered from a shortage of basic needs, and medicines, infant formula, drinking water and electricity were cut off.