On September 14, 1982, Bachir Gemayel disappeared, just 3 weeks after being elected President of the Lebanese Republic, assassinated in an attack which will also cause 26 other deaths. With his death, the Lebanese civil war will unfortunately be relaunched for another 8 years.
The assassination, claimed by a member of the PSNS, Habib Chartouni, will lead, according to the official version, to the “punitive” massacre of Sabra and Chatila on the night of September 17 to 18. . His brother Amine succeeds him as president, under the military cover of the Tsahal.
Born on November 10, 1947, a lawyer by training and with a degree in political science, Bachir Gemayel quickly became interested in public affairs for family reasons, his father Pierre being the founder of the Kataëb Party.
It was elsewhere following the clashes in 1969 between the Lebanese Army and the armed faction of the PLO of Yasser Arafat, in Lebanon that he began the formation of a paramilitary group under the orders of William Hawi which would later become the embryo of the Lebanese Forces. It was also at this time that Bachir Gemayel was kidnapped by Palestinian militants and taken to the Tel el Zaatar camp from where he was released after 8 hours of captivity following mediation, it is said, by Kamal Joumblatt. .
Become the leader of what was then called the BG Brigade, still under the command of William Hawi, Bachir Gemayel will call under his orders, Fouad Abou Nader, Fadi Frem and Elie Hobeika. Bachir Gemayel will then come into conflict with the governing bodies of the Kataëb Party still led by his father, in particular on the question of the entry of the Syrian Forces into Lebanon due to Damascus’s desire to annex the Land of the Cedars.
Bachir Gemayel will participate in the civil war and will be accused in particular of being at the origin of Black Saturday, September 9, 1975. This day will be marked by the massacre of both Lebanese Muslims and Palestinians in retaliation for the assassination of 4 members of the Phalangist party in the streets of Fanar, in the suburbs of Beirut. Ordering the deployment of militiamen in the streets of the capital, the situation quickly escalated and would have escaped his control, said Karim Pakradouni and Michel Samaha, who were then part of his circle of friends.
Following this event, the situation will only worsen, especially with the blockade imposed by the Palestinian camps around the Christian neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital. This will lead in particular to the necessary capture of the Quarantine camps on January 18, 1976 with the death of 1000 Palestinian combatants and numerous civilian victims. In retaliation, the Palestinians will also commit their batches of massacre with that of the Christian locality of Damour south of Beirut, also killing 1,000, mainly civilians. Then comes the turn of the Palestinian camp of Tel el Zaatar and the various battles that will punctuate the first phase of the Lebanese civil war.
Also in 1976, the death of William Hawi during the battle of Tel el Zaatar will lead Bachir Gemayel to succeed him at the head of the paramilitary forces of the Phalangist Party before he can form the Lebanese Forces in 1977.
It was then a question of bringing together “under the Christian rifle” the various Christian armed groups for better coordination on the ground. Under his command, the Lebanese Forces will not only oppose the Palestinian militias but also the Syrian militias present in Lebanon.
Thus in 1978, the Syrian Army will bombard the district of Ashrafieh for 100 days. It is also at this time that the Lebanese Forces will begin military cooperation with Israel.
It was also at this time that tensions began within the Lebanese Forces and in particular with Tony Franjieh, son of the former president of the republic Sleiman Franjieh, close to the Syrian regime, and who at the time led the Marada Brigade. . At the end of an operation intended to capture Marada militiamen who assassinated members of the Kataeb Party, Bachir Gemayel will send a squadron to Ehden. Tony Franjieh, still present on the scene due to the breakdown of his vehicle, will be killed on June 13, 1978.
Likewise, various clashes between Christian militias of Dany Chamoun’s PNL and members of the Kataëb Party led to the Safra massacre in 1980. The battle of Zahlé where 92 fighters of the FL sent from Beirut will oppose themselves in addition to the inhabitants of the locality against the Syrian Forces will allow Bachir Gemayel to take an international stature. This battle will end with the deployment of the ISF in the city and the withdrawal of 92 fighters.
With the military support of Israel and following numerous meetings with Ariel Sharon, then Minister of Defense, Bashir Gemayel will be informed of the Israeli operation aimed at ending the presence of the PLO in Lebanon. It was thus that in August 1982 was marked by Operation Peace for the Galilee, which he nevertheless tried to avoid, informing a representative of the Palestinian organization Hani Al Hassan, to withdraw from Lebanon. This mission will however be marked by failure.
It was during this invasion that Bachir Gemayel announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic with the support of the USA. He will also refuse official cooperation between the Lebanese Forces and the IDF, while meeting informally with members of the Israeli authorities.
One and only candidate, Bachir Gemayel will be elected on August 23, 1982. President of the Republic, he will go to Nahariya to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 1, 1982, who will demand the signing of a Peace Treaty between Lebanon and Israel, failing which, the Tsahal will remain deployed in Peace Cedars. Furious, Bachir Gemayel refused this blackmail, indicating that any peace treaty with the Hebrew state can only be dependent on a consensual agreement between the leaders and the various Lebanese denominations. It was then a period when Civil Peace seemed to be possible after 7 years of fratricidal conflict. The Lebanese Army will deploy on September 4 in the western part of Beirut then on September 9 in the Palestinian camps of Bourj Barajneh. Beirut International Airport will also resume operations on September 13, a day before his assassination.
On September 14, 1982, Bachir Gemayel will go to the HQ of the Kataëb Party in Ashrafieh for a last meeting before he officially takes up his post as President of the Republic. It is then that the bomb placed in the apartment below the permanence will explode. costing him his life.
From his wife Solange Gemayel, Bachir had 2 children, Nadim and Youmna, in addition to Maya, who was murdered on February 23, 1980, during an attack.
Succeeding his brother, Amine Gemayel will quickly be elected President of the Republic. The Lebanese Forces will take their independence from the Kataëb Party and will form a separate structure.
This is how the civil war will be relaunched, which will continue until 1990.
Today, the role of Bachir Gemayel during this dark period in Lebanon is still the subject of heated debate, some praising him for his actions in favor of the sovereignty of the Land of the Cedars and his fight against the occupation, both Palestinian and Syrian woman and others strongly criticizing her role in various massacres or for her cooperation with Israel.
Since his assassination, after a laborious legal procedure, Nabil Alam and Habib Tanios Chartouni accused of his assassination were sentenced on October 20, 2017 in absentia to the death penalty, in accordance with Lebanese laws in the matter. This penalty remains ineffective for the time being, the latter having disappeared.