Prospects for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The state of Palestine was divided in 1947 to establish the nation of Israel, resulting in two separate homelands for the Arab and Jewish people. This land division has polarized Arabs and Israelis for over 50 years, resulting in ongoing violent conflicts. In this lesson, students examine the root causes of the crisis and analyze past and present attempts at peace.
Determine the common elements of disputes and the challenges in resolving them
Identify the key factors in the Middle East crisis
Analyze a past peace plan for resolving Arab/Israeli crisis
Design a peace plan to resolve the Mideast conflict
Before beginning the lesson, students should
understand the history and current status of the Middle East conflict. You can
have them read these backgrounders for homework or the beginning of class.
1) Have students consider the typical causes of disputes, who is involved with them, what prolongs them and how they are resolved. Ask: What seem to be the key ingredients in resolving disputes? What has to occur between/among the involved parties in order for a dispute to end?
2) Explain that the ongoing conflict between Arabs and Israelis is based on a land dispute that began after the birth of Israel, the nation that evolved out of the division of Palestine in 1947. (Indicate on a map of Israel and the Palestinian territories the lands in dispute, noting boundaries prior to the land division.)
3) Review with students--or have students conduct research on--the history and current status of the Arab-Israeli crisis. (Use the Web sites noted in the Background section.) Pose the following discussion questions or print out this worksheet:
4) Explain that during the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict, peace-making efforts have been undertaken, but have typically lasted a very short period of time or have not taken at all. The Mitchell Report, the result of a presidential committee investigation of an Israeli/Palestinian peace process, proposes a halt to the current violence in order for the parties to resume peace negotiations.
5) If you have a fast connection to the internet, watch the NewsHour interview with George Mitchell, head of the international committee http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june01/mitchell_5-7.html.
you cannot use the Internet in the classroom, print out the transcript and have
students read it.
Students should answer the questions in this handout.
6) Divide students into small groups. Distribute a summary of the Mitchell Report. Have students review and discuss the pros and cons of the report's key recommendations, taking into consideration Arab and Israeli perspectives. Encourage students to research other peace initiatives like the Camp David Accords or Wye River Agreement. Invite each group to report its points of view to the class.
Activity and Assessment
Applying their understanding of the history and current status of the Arab/Israeli conflict and the Mitchell Report, have students work in small groups representing a presidential investigation committee to construct a recommended peace plan.
Have each group present its plan/recommendations at a mock international conference focused on resolving the Israeli/Arab conflict. Students, as conference attendees, may pose questions of the presenters to challenge or substantiate a proposed action.
Related Web sites
Middle East Peace: Treaties Historic Documents,
Treaties, and Agreements
Internet Modern History Sourcebook
MidEast Web Gateway
Fact Sheet: The Middle East Peace Process
USA teaching standards correlation:
National Council for the Social Studies
II. Time, Continuity, & Change
B. Apply key concepts such as time, chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity. E. Investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues, while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgement.
IX. Global Connections
B. Explain conditions and motivations that contribute to conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among groups, societies, and nations. E. Analyze the relationships and tensions between national sovereignty and global interests, in matters such as territory, economic development, nuclear and other weapons, use of natural resources, and conflicts related to universal human rights.
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