In Israel, beginning with the 2000 school year, ninth graders are being taught what it felt like to be a Palestinian Arab living in Jaffa or Jerusalem when the first Zionist settlers arrived. These lessons are part of a deliberate drive to change the national consciousness. New textbooks, in use nationwide, as well as an extensive series of programmes on Zionist and Israeli history on public television, call into question previously sacred Israeli tenets: that Jewish immigrants to Palestine settled largely on swamps they drained, hillsides they cleared, or land they bought at full price from Arabs; that the settlers sought to live in peace with the "natives"; and that they would have been content to accept various compromises dividing Palestine between a Jewish and an Arab state -- a plan scuttled by the Arabs time and again. Instead, children are being exposed to an "alternate narrative," according to which Jews drove Arabs off their land and rejected numerous peace feelers from Arab leaders. Far from defending themselves heroically, the Israelis are now said merely to have exploited their military superiority in their numerous confrontations with the surrounding Arab nations.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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