Many will agree that the past few months have posed many challenges to Palestinian unity; yet, when reading the stories of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced scattered around the world, one cannot but feel the symbiotic union of a people; something that transcends borders and politics, “something of the heart”, as a boy in the Al-Wihdat refugee camp puts it.
This special Nakba 60 issue of al Majdal aims to honor the 7 million Palestinian refugees and internally displaced who live in forced exile today. Voices, from Chile to Gaza, that come together to tell of their love and longing for their home, land and people; voices that call for humanity, justice and dignity – and for return, the return of rights, all rights.
A demand, after 60 years of ongoing dispossession and displacement, that is stronger than ever. Palestinians - the indigenous people of the land which is now Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory - are suffering from historic injustices as a result of the colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources. They are struggling against an ideology - Zionism – that contends that there should be a Jewish State in ‘Eretz Israel’ - a territorial construct that includes all of the land of Mandate Palestine, and upon which a Jewish majority should be created and maintained. Concretely, this means that Palestinians are faced with discriminatory policies and practices that violate their fundamental rights, notably their rights to self-determination, equality, and return.
Despite violations of their fundamental rights, Palestinians remain steadfast and committed to regain the justice and dignity they have been denied for the past 60 years. They know they are the indigenous people of this land and that they will return, because they are Palestine. As Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 1938:
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.
--Mahatma Gandhi, “The Jews In Palestine”, The Harijan, 26 November 1938.