Palestinian Oral History as a Source for Understanding the Past: Insights and Lessons from an Oral History Project among Palestinians in Israel

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to further explore the potential for Palestinian oral history to be used as a source for understanding the past. It examines existing directions in this field and highlights new approaches based on a discussion of an oral history project conducted by the author of this paper - a Jewish Israeli - in the Upper Galilee between the years 2006 and 2011. The article sharply illustrates the necessity and the urgency of recording Palestinian oral history with regard to the period that preceded the 1948 war, especially where written sources are lacking. It demonstrates the richness of oral history among Palestinians in Israel and exemplifies its ability to capture a vivid picture of a segment of Palestinian rural life before the Nakba. Methodologically, the article emphasizes the significance of cross-checking non-dependent oral sources as well as cross-checking oral sources against written testimonies as a means of striving for the truth and as a useful way of examining the reliability of oral sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-425
Number of pages14
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014

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