In this issue of Palestine-Israel Journal (PIJ), “Looking Back, Thinking Ahead,” we are marking our 25th anniversary. It is true that we are now 28 years old, since we started in 1994, but due to the Covid-19 and all related restrictions and financial difficulties we are late, but late is better than never.
Creating the Palestine-Israel Journal was an idea inspired by the Oslo Accords at a time when euphoria was the dominant factor between Israelis and Palestinians who were longing to see an end to the Israeli occupation and an era of peace and coexistence between Israel and Palestine, two neighboring states alongside the Green Line on the borders of the 4th of June 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, a fair and just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem based on UN relevant resolutions.
Two veteran senior journalists initiated the Palestine-Israel Journal (PIJ), the late Israeli journalist Victor Cygielman and the Palestinian journalist Ziad AbuZayyad. And the aim was to encourage debate on sensitive issues related to the peace process such as refugees, right of return, Jerusalem, settlements, water, regional security etc. The preparations started in the second half of 1993, and the first issue of the Journal was published in January 1994.
Choosing the name of the Journal was not easy. The Israeli Interior Ministry refused to register any name with the word “Palestine,” and after suing it in front of the High Court of Justice, the lawyers reached a compromise: to register us as a Non-Profit Organization (Amuta), under the name Middle East Publications, and we could give our publications any name we want.
The euphoria gradually dispersed the dreams by the disappointing reality, and finally the process stopped but we decided to continue. Hope was and is the last thing that we can give up on, and maintaining hope, pushing towards the same goal, keeping the dream alive and bridging between the gaps succeeded to encourage the initiators and their teams to continue. And it is the time to admit that without the dedication and supporters this project would not have continued till today. Because in addition to financial difficulties we are facing spoilers, who tried and trying to undermine of our project and bring it to an end. But we are willing to accept the challenge and continue with the backing and support of all our friends who believe in our way and our goal.
The PIJ staff are guided by an outstanding Editorial Board of twenty-eight members, equally divided between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as everything in this project. Our Editorial Board gathers prominent academics, public figures, writers and senior journalists, intellectuals and civil society activists from both sides and internationals. In addition to our staff, we host yearly dozens of interns from all corners of earth who come to gain journalistic skills and learn about the Israeli Palestinian conflict and Middle
East politics. We benefit from their voluntary work and help them to learn and develop their skills. And without their help we had to expand our staff beyond our financial abilities.
With this spirit of determination, and relentless efforts to accomplish our mission, we are approaching 2022, and look forward to further activities and further success until the course of events change and our dreams come true.
Usually, each issue of the PIJ has a focus which focusses on a specific topic related to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, followed by a public event with around one hundred audience and prominent speakers to launch the issue, and accompanied related activities. That is to say that the PIJ is an ongoing dialogue project.
The focus of this issue is an unusual “Conversation” between Prof. Noam Chomsky and Dr. Tony Klug about Israel-Palestine. This fascinating yearlong exchange of letters covers the entire spectrum of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This exchange of views was prompted by an article which Dr. Tony Klug published in the PIJ issue about Trump vision under the title “Steal of the Century.” The exchange began when Dr. Klug sent Prof. Chomsky a copy of his article, he published in the PIJ. Chomsky responded, and that exchange developed to become a yearlong conversation.
In addition to this prolonged conversation, we asked number of Palestinian, Israeli, and international academics, public figures, and intellectuals to comment on this conversation which touched on most aspects of the conflict and the attempts to achieve a political settlement to the conflict. Some agreed to comment on the conversation, while others preferred to write their own views on the situation from their own perspective.
This is a unique issue of the PIJ presenting an extraordinarily rich food for thought about the past, the present, and ideas about how to coup with the futures prospects and challenges. This issue fits well in the relentless efforts of the PIJ to contribute to the efforts to find a path out of the impasse to a track conducive to peace and prosperity of the two peoples of Israel and Palestine.