The struggle of the world’s peoples for self-determination has assumed greater dimensions and intensity. Standing in the forefront are the valiant Palestinians. For decades, in extremely difficult conditions, they have been waging a titanic battle to return to their homeland and realize their inalienable rights to freedom and independence. Some five million refugees have been waiting for more than fifty years to return to Palestine.
Moreover, the Middle East continues to be an arena of repeated acts of intervention and war. From 1947 to date, a number of wars, each bloodier than the former, have been waged there with, for example, more than one million people slaughtered in the Iran-Iraq war. The Middle East is a region where local and world events have reached a major turning point. Indeed, as we go to press, the Bush administration is preparing a new war against Iraq. A new generation among the various peoples of the Middle East is also about to take power and launch another chapter amid the developing, shifting and new strategic alliances. But nothing will progress without a lasting peace. A just settlement of the Palestinian question is vital. The politics of assassination, provocation, terror and destruction, and unjust war have gone on far too long.
This Dossier on Palestine strives to clarify:
• why and how the Palestinians have been dispossessed as a people from their mother soil, and why Israel continues to occupy their land and attack their sovereign government in explicit opposition to every norm of morality, justice and law;
• why Israel lives outside of and places itself above the rule of law, and the principles on which it is based, including opposition to the use of force to settle conflicts within nations and between nations;
• why the United States has proclaimed the Middle East a sphere for its own national interest and an extension of its own territory; and
• why so many conflicts have taken place in this oil-rich region in such a relatively short period.
To facilitate the process of understanding and tackle the disinformation and ignorance of the mass media, this Dossier provides authoritative articles, an in-depth timeline, press reports, analyses of key issues, compelling photojournalism from Palestine, and 23 detailed maps. (Keep in mind that Israel is one third the size of Nova Scotia, Canada’s smallest mainland province.) It includes a comprehensive resource list to guide readers interested in further research.
As an independent publication, we have always adopted a broad interpretation of the shunpiking metaphor: encompassing not only the exploration of the natural environment but also the investigation of culture, history, politics and economics in the provincial, national and international spheres.
Our perspective is neither Palestinian nor Israeli, Arab nor Jew but a modern Canadian perspective. In a Canada that is multi-national, a Canada whose government and media continually extol its international role and its participation in 19th century empire-building, it behooves us to seek to comprehend what is unfolding on the world scale.
Our conclusion: this illegal occupation must be ended. Zionist Israel has gone beyond South African apartheid. We are witnessing genocide – the attempted destruction of a people. The central issue is: who will hold Israel to account?
It is our duty to make a stand for conscience and principle, human dignity and justice. At the Halifax Land Day demonstration on March 30, 2002 we promised: “Our magazine, Shunpiking, which is independent of any vested interest, which speaks the truth, will act. We will make every effort to frustrate the shameless attempts of these forces to blame and malign the victims for their condition.”
It is with this spirit that, seven months later, we present this Dossier on Palestine.
– The Editors
(October 28, 2002)