Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict: History's Double Helix

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Indiana University Press, 2006 - History - 283 pages
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"An exciting and wide-ranging exploration of the myths and narratives that lie behind the unresolved Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.... Anyone dedicated to the fullest possible understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will want to read this volume cover to cover." --Neil Caplan, Vanier College, Montreal

Why does Hamas refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel? Why do Israeli settlers in the West Bank insist that Israel has a legitimate right to that territory? What makes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so intractable? Reflecting both Israeli and Palestinian points of view, this provocative volume addresses the two powerful, bitterly contested, competing historical narratives that underpin the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Compelling contributions by Israeli and Palestinian authors show how the intertwined reckonings of the historical past--history's double helix--provide powerful ammunition for current battles. Just when a resolution of the conflict might seem to be on the horizon, the gulf of history resurges to separate the contenders. Palestinians and Israelis remain locked in struggle, tightly entangled and enveloped by a historical cocoon of growing complexity, fundamental disagreement, and overriding miscalculation.

This book creates a dialogue among Palestinian and Israeli authors, who examine opposing versions of the historical narratives in the context of contemporary Israeli-Palestinian relations. In hard-hitting essays the contributors debate the two justifying and rationalizing constructions, laying bare the conflict's roots and the distorted prisms that fuel it. Israeli and Palestinian Narratives of Conflict is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to make sense of today's headlines.

Contributors are Sami Adwan, Dan Bar-On, Mordechai Bar-On, Daniel Bar-Tal, Nathan J. Brown, Saleh Abdel Jawad, Eyal Naveh, Ilan Pappe, Dina Porat, Robert I. Rotberg, Nadim N. Rouhana, Gavriel Salomon, and Mark Tessler.

 

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Contents

1 Building Legitimacy through Narrative
1
Evolution Contents Functions and Consequences
19
3 Forging Zionist Identity Prior to 1948Against Which CounterIdentity?
47
4 The Arab and Palestinian Narratives of the 1948 War
72
The Dynamics of Force Fear and Extremism
115
Can the Zionist and Palestinian Narratives of the 1948 War Be Bridged?
142
7 Narratives and Myths about Arab Intransigence toward Israel
174
8 The Bridging Narrative Concept
194
9 The Psychology of Better Dialogue between Two Separate but Interdependent Narratives
205
10 Contesting National Identity in Palestinian Education
225
11 The Dynamics of Identity Construction in Israel through Education in History
244
List of Contributors
271
Index
275
back cover
284
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About the author (2006)

Robert I. Rotberg is Director of the Belfer Center s Program on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution at Harvard University s Kennedy School of Government. He is also President of the World Peace Foundation. His many books include Battling Terrorism in the Horn of Africa and When States Fail: Causes and Consequences. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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