I first met Issa Nakhleh in the 1980s while he was still busily researching for his two volume "Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem". I learnt first hand of his personal history, a palestinian, a refugee, a man who had lost everything he had had. His house, his law office, his apartment house in Jerusalem and a banana plantation were, as he describes "usurped by the Zionists and Israeli war criminals ". A man's roots had been cut.
Issa fought all his life for a peaceful resolution to the many problems facing the Palestinian people, who are scattered all over the globe today. In fact, after he told me his personal history, I was surprised how peaceful yet at the same time determined he went after his business of documenting the history of his people, insisting that the political process, including especially the United Nations, should ultimately give the Palestinians back their homeland. Writes Mr. Nakhleh: The greatest Zionist and Israeli crime against me and six million other Palestinians is that they have deprived us of living in our ancestral homeland, Palestine, as citizens of our independent undivided Palestinian State.
Unfortunately it is not reason that determines the development of the world. Current Israeli politics is ignorant of its own past, while many of its leaders are all too ready to blame the rest of the world for anti-semitism when it pleases them. Geopolitical strategic thinking determines what the current world powers are willing to undertake in the matter — and that is not a lot for the Palestinians.
To keep the torch of freedom lit and the hope of a beaten Palestinian people alive, I have since the year 2004 created the website http://palestine-encyclopedia.com with the kind permission of Mr. Nakhleh’s wife. A year after Issa passed away, his decades of work again saw the light of publication. However, I believe that an eBook version of the Encyclopedia is well worth doing, so that those interested can read independent of the internet, what the roots causes of the Palestine problem are. Only by understanding the beginnings of the tragedy, which some are working hard for the world to forget about, can one come to the conclusions any sane and objective reader would reach.
And so the Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem is published as an eBook, as a body of profound detail, so that politicians, diplomats, government agencies, law makers, scholars, journalists, the interested public and the uncounted Palestinians scattered all over the world, who want their children to understand the tragedy, can read and discuss the issues with in depth knowledge. Here you will find a source of detailed — and in many parts horrifying — information about Palestine and the plight of its people. Information, which is thoroughly documented. Information, and which could serve as the basis for international courts to become active ... if the law would be permitted to stand above vested political interests.
The Encyclopedia was published in 1991, so, obviously, more recent events of the past 25 years are not covered. However, and this is the great value the Encyclopedia has: It shows in greatest detail the beginning of the tragedy, whose perpetrators have gone unprosecuted. And reading the news shows us, that a solution seems to be far away. Considering, how meticulously Nazi war criminals are even to this date, in the year 2014, being sought and found and despite their age still being brought before court, anyone reading this work should join in and demand, that those who stole Palestine from the Palestinians be brought to justice. This book shows the roots, shows where it all began. Facing those times is a requirement to come to a solution and help the area get out of the mess it has been in ever since the founding days of the state of Israel.
It would also be fair to those innocently born in Israel, to understand, what great injustice the founders of the state, their fathers and grandfathers, have done and what an ever lasting burden will be on their young shoulders, should Israel not face up to the crimes committed over decades. History is a curse and history is a hope. It is time Israel faced its past. Or, as professor John Quigley wrote in his foreword to this book: The consequences of Mr. Nakhleh’s analysis are serious. If the government of Israel has committed even a fraction of the international crimes he describes, then virtually every high official in Israel from 1948 to the present [1991, the editor] is subject to prosecution as a war criminal.
As the editor of the internet version and now of the eBook, I wish to thank the daughter of Issa Nakhleh for supplying most of the photos of the original book, which so many Palestinians have asked about in the past and which we now partially re-scanned for better quality. They cling to any and every bit of memory they can find of their roots. Their cities, their houses, their fields. And they dream of the unthinkable: their right to return.
In the past I have been spammed with hate mails, telling me how the book was wrong and evil. I always politely wrote back, offering to publish any corrections or start a discussion, as long as they were based on verifiable documents. I never received replies.
If you wish to write to me, please feel free to do so: editor /\at/\palestine-encyclopedia.com. I may open a discussion forum on the website to this book. Hate mails go where they belong: Into the trash bin or straight onto the internet.
The list of names of persons as well as cities and villages at the end of the book can be used by simply searching for the terms in your eBook reader. Example: When you see the term “Sharon, General Ariel” just search for Sharon or Ariel Sharon.
For the technically interested: We took the internet version of the book, which I had done earlier and which was based on a scan of the original two volumes and transferred it to process it with a desktop publishing tool. This way most of the formatting did not have to be redone. It still took weeks to get it into its present form. From there it was then further processed by an expert digital and printing company to be available in all kinds of eBook formats. So I do apologize for typographical errors, which may be found mainly in names of persons or places.