Two stories but no happy ending

Rosemary Hollis on the problem of reconciling Israeli and Palestinian parallel universes.

The World Today Updated 25 May 2021 Published 1 April 2020 4 minute READ

Rosemary Hollis

Former Director, Olive Tree Israeli-Palestinian Scholarship Programme, City, University of London

All of us derive our national or group identity from the stories we are told as we grow up, and then in turn tell our children, stories about who we are and what distinguishes us from others. These narratives recount our collective triumphs and the tragedies we have endured as a people. They identify the heroes we honour and the villains we denounce.

They make sense of our emotional reactions to situations we find ourselves in and to those whom we have learnt to fear. This is not to say that our national stories are make-believe or myths. On the contrary, they refer to real occurrences or facts, but do so selectively. They are underpinned by the prevailing balance – or imbalance – of power in our relations with others.

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