This unique project is a collaboration between the Salzburg Seminar‘s Institute for Historical Justice, an American NGO based in Austria, and the Arab Thought Forum (ATF). It forms part of the Salzburg Seminar‘s strategy of initiating creative projects aimed at solving global problems, in particular focusing on historical conflict reconciliation and resolution. The project‘s methodology is based on joint work and dialogue among working groups each comprised of Palestinian and Israeli scholars and experts. The goal is for the teams to work together on researching and writing a shared narrative, which seeks to dispel common destructive myths, and thereby helps to overcome prejudices and promote tolerance and understanding between Palestinians and Israelis. Specific activities include the publication of a joint, historical atlas detailing events of 1948, a shared narrative regarding sacred sites, including the Temple Mount / Haram al Sharif, and a working group focused on the question of refugees.
The project is the first of its kind in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with Salzburg Seminar and ATF proudly pioneering an objective, academic and historic dialogue on pertinent issues. Working together with the Simon Peres Center for Peace, the initiative will not be a repetition or imitation of other projects undertaken to date.
The first preliminary session between the two groups was held in Salzburg in order to agree on general principles and guidelines of action. Palestinian representatives included:
- Adel Yahia
- Salim Tamari
- Adel Manna
- Hilga Bomfarten
- Albert Agaziryan
- Nazmi Jubeh
- Jad Issaq
- Abbas Abed Haq
- Azzam Abu Soud
- Abdel Rahman Abu Arafeh
- Maha Taweel
Haider Abdul Shafi and Salah Saqa were unable to attend due to unfavorable conditions in the Gaza Strip.
The IHJR Middle East Project receives support from the Ford Foundation and the Sigrid Rausing Trust.
ATF will be ready to cooperate with Palestinian specialists and will supervise, coordinate and organize any activities in this regard.