Just when I thought I could not get more depressed about the prospects for peace between Israel and Palestine, I learn that the departments of education of both Israel and Palestine have banned a unique textbook designed by Israeli and Palestinian educators entitled “Learning Each Other’s Historical Narrative.”
The book places the Israeli and Palestinian versions of the history of their homelands side by side, allowing children on both sides to learn how the other understands the history they take for granted. Of course both versions are controversial in the eyes of the other, but that is the point. There is no “true” history, there is only the narrative histories told by each side’s historians. And being able to see the reality the other sees is a huge step toward authentic dialogue and empathy.
Of course the leaders on both sides fear both empathy and dialogue, and so both have banned the book from public high school curriculums. How sad.
On the other hand it does show that the leadership of both sides are not really on opposite sides at all. They are on the same side: the side of fear and hatred that keeps them in power.
Just as the Israelites could not enter the Promised Land until almost all of the older generation passed away, peace may not come to the region until all those currently in power are pass away. The questions we must ask are these: how many generations of status quo leadership are left; and how many people must die before these leaders finally die?