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Univocality within Multivocality

The Israeli-Arab-Palestinian Conflict as Reflected in Israeli History Textbooks, 2000-2010

Elie Podeh

Previous research on the way in which the Arab-Israeli conflict and the image of the Arab have been presented in Jewish history and civics textbooks established that there have been three phases, each typified by its own distinctive textbooks. The shift from the first to the third generation of textbooks saw a gradual improvement in the way the Other has been described, with the elimination of many biases, distortions and omissions. This article explores whether new history textbooks, published from 2000 to 2010, have entrenched or reversed this trend. With the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the early 2000s, one might have expected that the past linear process of improvement would be reversed. However, textbooks written over the last decade do not substantially differ from those written in the 1990s, during the heyday of the peace process. The overall picture is, therefore, that the current textbooks do not constitute a fourth generation.