“Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative” is the name of a new textbook approved for teaching in Palestinian schools but is still banned in Israel. The book explains the historical narratives of the Nakba, the creation of Israel, and the Arab Israeli conflict, showing both the Palestinian and the Israeli narratives. Although banned by the Israeli Ministry of Education, the Palestinian Authority decided to start including it in two high schools in Jericho.
The decision was made through the cooperation of Palestinian, Israeli and Swedish authorities and reportedly aims at strengthening coexistence through education.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Ministry of Education decided to question the principal of a high school in the Israeli Negev town of Sderot after he allowed the book to be used in a special supplementary course.
The book was initiated in a project by Dan Bar-On of Ben Gurion University, and Sami Adwan, a Professor at Bethlehem University. It was printed in English, Arabic and Hebrew.
In August, a delegation of Swedish mayors visited Israel and the West Bank and signed an agreement with the Negev Regional Council and the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Ramallah.
Palestinian and Israeli teachers are excepted to participate in a workshop in Sweden as part of the first phase of the project.
In a second stage, 11th and 12th grade students from Israel, the West Bank, and from Sweden will hold joint sessions to discuss the book.
An official statement reported by Haaretz said, “Palestinian officials in Ramallah approved the textbook after deliberating its contents, while Israel banned it even without checking its contents.”
The Israeli official also said, “this is a breakthrough, as the Palestinians are willing to present the Israeli narrative, yet in Israel, official are still stuck in old positions”.
An official who helped in administering the book in Sha’ar Hanegev Israeli school in the Negev, said that summoning the principal for clarifications is a “highly embarrassing situation”, and that the Palestinian Education Ministry is way ahead of Israel when it comes to acknowledging the other side of the story.