Since the summer of 2000, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going through rough times on both the political and military levels. This generally applies as well to societal collaboration between the parties. Despite this multi-level gloomy state of affairs, one type of societal collaboration flourishes: addressing the historical narratives of the conflict. Since the early 2000s, nine such projects have been conducted by Palestinians and Israeli-Jews: PRIME, ‘Shared Histories,’ ‘Circles of Knowledge,’ ‘Zochrot,’ ‘History’s Double Helix,’ ‘Shared Narratives,’ ‘Van Leer,’ ‘IHJR,’ and ‘Gabay-Kazak.’ This article assembles for the first time these projects and discusses them methodologically using: 1) interviews conducted with the directors of most of the projects, 2) other studies, and 3) primary sources (the projects’ publications). It describes the projects, highlights the importance of presenting them to the societies of both parties, and discusses their characteristics as bottom-up projects. It also explains the conservative orientation of official institutions, leading to a lack of similar top-down projects; the differences between contemporary and past aspects of the conflict; and the uniqueness and special contribution of such pre-resolution activity. Moreover, the article explains the prevalence of this activity since the early 2000s, lists the positive effects of the projects on the involved parties, and explains how the fact that they were conducted by the rival parties contributed to their success.

issue 05 / July 2013 by Rafi Nets-Zehngut