IPCRI

מרכז ישראל/פלסטין למחקר ולמידע

مركز إسرائيل فلسطين للأبحاث و المعلومات

Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information

 

 

 

At the Outset of the New School Year:

 

Policy Recommendations for Peace Education in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority

Twelve Recommendations for Twelve Years of Education

 

Much has been written and documented about the non-recognition of the State of Israel and of Jewish rights in Israel in the Palestinian Authority text books.  The truth of the matter is that a mirror image of non-recognition of Palestinian rights exists in the text books of the State of Israel. This situation exists despite the fact that both the various Governments of Israel since 1993 and the Palestinian Authority have both recognized each other’s political and national rights. The acceptance of the Road Map and the Bush vision is only the latest evidence of mutual recognition. The continued ignorance of this fact is an additional element that does not help in getting us out of the impasse and the violence. Neither the State of Israel nor the Palestinian Authority have met the challenge of systematically and institutionally educating the next generation of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace.

 

While it is clear that peace will not be made through education, it is nonetheless essential to educate each side about the other and to enrich each side’s conceptual maps of understanding the issues in conflict and the possibilities and means of resolving them. Not only do the educational systems of both peoples refuse to deal with the possibilities of peace, they even fail to educate the young people that from 1991 until 2000 there was a peace process going on. The young people of Israel and Palestine learn nothing about that important piece of history.

 

The following is a set of recommendations that provide a “win-win” situation for Israelis and Palestinians and have the potential of creating positive advances towards changing the political environment and decreasing violence.

 

  1. Unequivocal statements – The Ministers of Education of Israel and of the Palestinian Authority should make unequivocal declarations indicating their support for the adoption of policies and programs of peace education for all students in Israeli and Palestinian schools. The statements should include an operative decision to establish a coordinating unit in each respective Ministry for Peace Education.
  2. The Peace Education Unit in each Ministry will begin its work by undertaking a systematic internal analysis of text books and curricula regarding their implicit and explicit messages of peace and will undertake to amend and improve existing text books.
  3. The first step taken by the Peace Education Unit will be the issuance of directives regarding the use of maps in text books.  Any map reflecting current affairs on both sides will clearly indicate the existence of the State of Israel and of the Palestinian Authority.
  4. The recommendations of the Peace Education Unit in each Ministry regarding text books will issue directives for the removal of any inflammatory language or of incitement against the State of Israel, the Jewish people, the Palestinian Authority or the Palestinian people.
  5. The two Ministries should include in peace education curricula the teaching of conflict resolution skills and theory and the concepts of non-violent means for resolving disputes.
  6. The Peace Education Unit in each Ministry will encourage the development of peace education programs from within each Ministry and each school system as well as from non-governmental organizations including universities.
  7. The Peace Education Unit in each Ministry will receive and approve Peace Education programs and will encourage and facilitate their use within all schools in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority.
  8. The two Ministers of Education will request at the next meeting of the International Donors to create a special international fund for the advancement of peace education. The fund will be administered by one of the donors and the Ministries will provide a consulting role in the decision making process of the special fund.
  9. The two Units for Peace Education with the assistance of the special international fund will undertake the preparation of a text book to be used in secondary schools on both sides regarding the period of the Madrid Conference until today.  The text books will be pluralistic in its approach, covering the narratives of both sides and the complexity of internal pluralism within each society. The text will cover the agreements signed in the Oslo process, the demise of the peace process, the intifada, and the lessons that should be learned from years of failed peace making.
  10.  The two Ministries of Education will encourage the development of programs that teach about “the others” from positive perspectives.
  11.  The two Ministries will launch programs for teaching teachers to become “peace educators” including the adoption of peace education curricula in the teacher training colleges and seminars.
  12.  The two Ministers of Education will establish a joint commission on Peace Education.  The Joint Commission will seek the assistance and involvement of relevant and respected international institutions and individuals.