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Press Release
Contact Information: Hussein Ibish
March 22, 2007 - 12:00am

Washington, D.C., March 23 -- The American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) held a briefing
today at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The briefing was titled "Developing a
Dual Israeli-Palestinian Historical Narrative". Dr. Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University and Dr.
Dan Bar-Or of Ben Gurion University presented their experiences as co-directors of the Peace
Research Institute in the Middle East (PRIME) in developing and teaching the 'Dual Historical
Narrative' booklets to their pupils.

Dr. Bar-On began the briefing by discussing the two narratives project. Dr. Bar-On explained
that the dual narratives project; working under the auspices of PRIME, "is a joint research
project" meant to "facilitate the peace process". One of the most apparent factors affecting
the project was the distinct asymmetry of power between the Israelis and Palestinians. Dr.
Bar-On also explained the psychology of each group in the periods of time, pre-Oslo, during
the Oslo process and at the outset of the second Intifada.

In an effort to provide security for oneself, the Israelis and Palestinians alike focused on
their own narrative while dehumanizing the other and de-legitimizing the other's narrative.
The dual narrative approach attempts to remedy these psychological maladies. However, Dr.
Bar-On explained that even the peace process could be risky. The Israelis and Palestinians run
the risk of losing their own identity, an identity that is shaped in many ways by defining
their adversary. Thus, the peace process will ultimately serve as a mechanism to redefine

Dr. Bar-On also suggested that in the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict there is no dual
narrative, each group focuses on its own monolithic interpretation. In order to disarm the
internalized, personal narratives, Dr. Bar-On asserted that a bottom-up peace process should
be utilized. This bottom-up approach empowers the teachers from both sides.

Dr. Adwan began his address by declaring that "the multi-narrative" approach is the way
forward. This approach combines both children and adults and works for future generations, or
as Dr. Adwan put it, "our children's children". The dual narrative textbook provides a
chronological narrative from 1900-2000. The textbook, developed by PRIME, has been used many
teachers in Israeli and Palestinian schools.

Dr. Adwan explained that in developing the textbook each side was responsible for its own
narrative, but the other side was able to offer suggestions and clarifications, not
criticisms. These narratives are not intended to represent full Israeli or Palestinian
narratives, however they are meant to give each side exposure to a narrative much different
from their own.

Dr. Adwan concluded by explaining that the goal of the project is to go from a conflict to a
post-conflict narrative. There must be a mutual level of respect between the Israelis and
Palestinians of the other's narrative and this is a necessary step to any peace process.
Although this project began as a bottom-approach to building peace it has evolved into a tool
of educational reform that can be applied to other conflicts. Dr. Adwan ended his address by
saying that the dual narrative approach was meant "For our children's children to humanize
each other, live in peace and to put an end to the gridlocked peace process".


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017