Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi
Head of PASSIA, Jerusalem
Under the auspices of its Research Studies Program, PASSIA has been able to publish over 120 studies, monographs and reports since its foundation in 1987. These publications cover a diversity of subjects relating to the Palestine Question and represent an effort to provide background information, documentation and in-depth studies to contribute to the enrichment of the Palestinian library as well as to a better understanding of the Palestinian cause and Palestinian perspectives.
This task has become even more crucial in the light of the current stage in Palestinian history, where over a decade of official negotiations, “secret” talks and unofficial initiatives aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have failed to deliver a resolution. Observers of the unfolding events ever since the British Mandatory period are witnesses to a never-ending series of plans, proposals, and partial agreements, of different negotiation agendas and changing players, and of organizations being established while others ceased to exist. All of these have added continuously new details and aspects to what is commonly known as the “Palestine Question”, and it has become increasingly difficult to keep track of the various documents and terms that have emerged alongside it.
Against this background, PASSIA recognized the need to publish a concise reference guide to the historical and contemporary key terms, organizations and concepts one often encounters in the study of the Palestine Question or Palestinian-Israeli conflict respectively.
The accurate and responsible presentation of the Palestine Question, both in its current context and throughout the course of history, has long been a major component of PASSIA’s work. With an extensive catalogue of in-depth works on crucial aspects and periods of Palestinian history to its name, PASSIA has also sought to create suitably concise publications presenting the core issues in a comprehensive, yet comprehensible format.
The Dictionary of Palestinian Political Terms represents an important addition to this aspect of PASSIA’s work. The PASSIA team has compiled this dictionary to provide a broad audience with a reliable and up-to-date reference source of information on every aspect of the political life of Palestine both historically and contemporarily.
The purpose of this dictionary is thus to acquaint the reader in a simple yet comprehensive fashion with the terminology used by policy-makers, journalists, academics, commentators, and analysts, in discussing the unfolding events as well as the complexities and nuances of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. To serve this task, this volume contains over 500 brief, to the point entries, which provide - arranged in alphabetical order - definitions and explanations of key terms on all aspects of Palestinian politics, from political factions, movements and institutions to issues related to the Middle East peace process to key concepts, terms and documents that define Palestinian political life, events, and international relations.
While there are numerous difficulties and potential criticisms to be faced in producing research and documentation of this scope, we have tried our best to uphold our commitment to objectivity and can only hope that our sincere apologies be accepted for any errors or unintended omissions. The same goes for the fact that while the reader will find a great number of details and facts, there are certainly endless additional entries and information that could have been but is not included here.
Nevertheless, we trust that this reference source will serve its purpose and help the reader navigate through the political legacy of the ‘Palestine Question,’ as well as better comprehend present and ongoing events and issues. It is hoped that the Dictionary will become a much consulted source information for scholars, students, journalists, researchers and all those professionally concerned with or generally interested in the Palestine-Israel conflict.