In an effort to settle one of the longest-running disputes in the Middle East peace process, American, Israeli and Palestinian researchers are conducting what purports to be the first scientific study of incitement in Palestinian and Israeli textbooks.

The study, funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State, was commissioned by the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL), a Jerusalem-based consortium of senior Islamic, Jewish and Christian religious figures in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The study seeks to provide the first rigorously empirical and objective analysis of how Palestinian and Israeli textbooks depict the "other".

“Our purpose is to help build a culture of peace there,” said Bruce Wexler, the Yale University psychiatry professor who designed the study. “That is what the religious leadership council wants to do.” The results will be released sometime at the end of this year or in early 2012. After that, the religious council will begin making recommendations on education reform to the Palestinian and Israeli governments, based on the research.

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