History textbooks for Israeli Arab students this year will, for the first time, present the Palestinian version of Israel's creation as a "catastrophe," the education ministry said Sunday.
"For these types of events, both the Israeli and Palestinian versions have to be presented," education minister Yuli Tamir said in a statement.
Alongside presenting the Israeli interpretation of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the books will also present the version "that is generally accepted among the Arabs, according to which Israel's War of Independence (occupation) is perceived as a catastrophe [Naqba] by the Palestinians," Tamir said.
The books will also, for the first time, say that "some of the Palestinians were expelled following the War of Independence, and that many Arab-owned lands were confiscated," the statement said.
The books also claims Palestinian leaders refused the 1947 United Nations partition plan of then British-mandate Palestine into an Israeli and Palestinian state, while Jewish leaders accepted it.
Some Israeli secular history books have, for years, presented the Palestinian version of the 1948 events, but textbooks for Israeli Arabs have not contained that side of history, which the students heard widely at home.
The ministry's initiative was immediately condemned by right-wing politicians.
Hard-line strategic affairs minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, denounced on army radio what he called "the masochism and defeatism of the Israeli left, which constantly seeks to apologize, while we did what we had to."
Former education minister Limor Livnat of the right-wing opposition Likud party said presenting the Palestinian version could "push young Arabs to the conclusion that they have to fight against the Israeli occupation."
Israeli Arabs, who represent about 20 percent of the nation's population, are descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained inside Israel following the 1948 war, while the rest left or were driven out.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Temmuz 2007, 20:43