Outset of the New School Year:
Recommendations for Peace Education in
and in the Palestinian Authority
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.
– 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
The two Ministries of Education will
encourage the development of programs that teach about “the others” from
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.
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.