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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...

Israel and Palestine: culture and conflict

The Israeli Palestinian Conflict: History and Information

Information, maps, videos and internet resources describing the historical and cultural background of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Resources are from The Mid East Web and the Council on Foreign Relations. Utilizing all that is available teachers and students should have a good grasp of the situation. 

CFR logo

1. Crisis Guide: The Israeli-Palestinian ConflictThe Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. This guide features professionally made audio-visual presentations, readings and links that explain in great detail the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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2. Israel and Palestine History and Maps: History Part 1, History Part 2, MapsMidEast Web was started by people active in Middle East dialog and peace education efforts. Their goal is to create a website of Arabs, Jews and others who want to build a new Middle East based on coexistence and neighborly relations. Our members and staff include distinguished educators, engineers, Web designers and other professionals experienced in dialog, peace education projects and in promoting dialog and coexistence using the Internet.

Israel Topics: FRONTLINE/World Videos and Articles

FRONTLINE/World logo

Three video resources from PBS FRONTLINE/World, a news series developed by FRONTLINE producers in conjunction with public television stations KQED San Francisco and WGBH Boston, FRONTLINE/World launched in 2002 as a national public TV series that turns its lens on the global community, covering countries and cultures rarely seen on American television.

1. Occupied Minds, A Palestinian and Israeli on the road. By Jamal Dajani and David Michaelis, August 30, 2005. This 20 minute video is the story of two men who are committed to finding a peaceful settlement to the dilemmas of the Middle East. Occupied Minds is the personal odyssey of two journalists -- Jamal Dajani, a Palestinian American, and David Michaelis, an Israeli citizen -- who travel together to Jerusalem, where they were both born, "to face the hard realities of our shared land." Their journey is a road trip across a grim and divided landscape, but it is leavened by gallows humor and a heartfelt desire to find solutions. Website: 

2. Punk Rock in the Holy Land. By Liz Nord, April 2005. In Israel, a vibrant punk scene has emerged in a society torn apart by the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. In these four candid video interviews, each about 4-5 minutes long, FRONTLINE/World reporter and filmmaker Liz Nord talks to the musicians driving the movement.

3. In the Line of Fire. By Patricia Naylor, March 2003. FRONTLINE/World reviews the dilemmas and dangers reporters have faced covering the violence in the West Bank and Gaza over the past several years. Canadian TV producer Patricia Naylor interviews Palestinian cameramen and other journalists who say they have been shot by Israeli soldiers. (20 minutes) 



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.

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. NewsHour Extra.

If you would like students to read the most recent news, please use an update from the Online NewsHour.

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. Pose the following discussion questions or print out this worksheet:

When did the Arab-Israeli crisis begin?

What is at the core of the ongoing conflict between the Arabs and Israelis?

Which areas of land are in dispute? Based on your research, whom do you view as the rightful owners of the land in question? Explain.

What are the basic arguments each group has regarding resolving the conflict? What concessions does each side expect of the other?

Why have efforts to resolve the conflict and establish peace failed?

In your opinion, particularly based on recent acts of violence in the Middle East, do you feel the conflict can be resolved? Discuss.

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. Have the students research and identify some of the past agreements. Why have they failed?

6) Divide students into small groups. Have students review and discuss the pros and cons of the many different peace plans, taking into consideration Arab and Israeli perspectives. What do the plans all share? What are the main differences? Invite each group to report its points of view to the class.


World History Standard 44: Understand the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world

Language Arts Writing Standard 1: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process Standard 4: Gathers and uses information for research purposes

Reading Standard 5: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process Standard 7: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts

Listening and Speaking Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes

Working with Others Standard 1: Contributes to the overall effort of a group Standard 4: Displays effective interpersonal communication skills

Thinking and Reasoning Standard 1: Understands and applies the basic principles of presenting an argument Standard 6: Applies decision-making techniques




Who is your enemy? How do you know? Why do you think so? Do you believe you're taught to hate-- as the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein song from South Pacific says, "Before it's too late: to hate all the people your relatives hate, you've got to be carefully taught?" Do you learn to hate in schools? From your families? From the media?

Seeds of Peace
Some students had an unusual experience to seek answers to these questions: young adults from areas of the world "at war" or "nearly at war" with neighboring areas. A program called Seeds of Peace sponsors opportunities for young people to come together for a stay at a camp in Maine during which time they have the opportunity of meeting and getting to know other young adults from those "enemy" nations they have learned about and to test their perceptions and learning against the reality of meeting a live person.

The main focus of Seeds of Peace is the Arab-Israeli conflict.

This lesson will engage students in reading reflective essays from students who have participated in the Seeds of Peace experience.

Student Objectives:

  1. gain a better understanding of the experiences of young people growing up in an area at war
  2. analyze some of the changes of students who have gone through the experience of the Seeds of Peace program
  3. critically examine why enemy imaging continues and who stands to benefit from the practice. How many students take part in this experience? How can they change the attitudes of people who do not have the same experience?
  4. locate and support efforts which bring together opposing sides in a conflict for purposes of reconciliation

Correlation to national standards


  1. Teachers might wish to begin this lesson with a discussion of the Introductory paragraph. Ask students to relate these questions to their own personal lives and experiences. How might these compare with experiences of students who have lived through war in other world areas?
  2. Discuss or review the background to the Israel/Palestine conflict (See the Online NewsHour Special Report for more background information). Have the students read the NewsHour Extra article on the "road map to peace"
  3. Divide students into three random groups. Introduce information about the Seeds of Peace Project.

    Make copies of the speeches by Ma'ayan, a 17 year old Israeli young woman from the city of Kfar Saba, who attended the Seeds of Peace Camp during the summers 2000 through 2002; Muhammed, a 17 year old young Palestinian man from Gaza City, who was part of the 2000 summer program; and Tarek, a 17 year old Arab-Israeli from the village of Jatt who attended the Seeds of Peace Camp during the summers 2000 through 2002. (For more readings by Seeds of Peace alumni see the Seeds of Peace magazine The Olive Branch.)

    Give each group one essay to read. They will then share what they've read with the rest of the class.

    Discuss the changes in viewpoints of these three students due to their experience in Maine.
  4. What conditions are necessary in order for the "road map" to succeed? From the insights of Seeds of Peace participants, what might be a list of actions that would assist the peace process. How could the Media be involved? What other organizations might lend support to dialogues of peace? Follow current news stories coming out of the Middle East. Write letters of encouragement to those assisting with the peace process.
Homework/Extension Activities:

  1. Students might wish to learn and study more about the concept of restorative justice implemented by the Truth and Reconciliation Committee of the Republic of South Africa at the end of the apartheid era. This process of restorative rather than retributive justice was made famous by Bishop Desmond Tutu. Desmond Tutu, the Commission's Director. He has clarified that retributive justice leads to a punishment in accord with the action; restorative justice moves on to forgiveness, a giving back to a healthy state that which has been lost by restoring, rebuilding and reconstructing. How might the South African experience benefit the Israelis and Palestinians?
  2. Conflict resolution is a process which needs to be understood at the personal level and incorporated into one's daily actions. Search for local persons involved in mediation and programs in conflict resolution. Invite a speaker to class to learn more about this topic and ways to integrate conflict resolution practices more into the school climate.
  3. Students may wish to continue their exploration of the Seeds of Peace Program by reading the alumni produced magazine The Olive Branch, which can be found online.
Correlations to National Standards:

National Council for the Social Studies:

II Time, Continuity and Change
III People, Places and Environments
IV Individual Development and Identity
VI Power, Authority and Governance
IX Global Connections
X Civic Ideals and Practice

Mid Continent Research for Education and Learning
Behavioral Studies Standard and Benchmarks:

Standard 4: understands conflict, cooperation and interdependence among individuals, groups and institutions.

1. Understands that conflict between people or groups may arise from competition over ideas, resources, power, and/or status

7. Understands that even when the majority of people in a society agree on a social decision, the minority who disagree must be protected form oppression, just as the majority may need protection against unfair retaliation from the minority.

8. Understands how various institutions have changed over time and how they further both continuity and change in societies

9. Understands how changes in social and political institutions both reflect and affect individual's career choices, values and significant actions

10. Understands that decisions of one generation both provide and limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation

Travels with Music: Israel #1: Glantz (accordion) and Dalal (oud)

Yehuda Glantz is a talented multi-instrumentalist who received a scholarship to the Music Conservatory in Buenos Aires as a teenager. There he learned to play the guitar, flute, tarbuka, violin, and charango. Glantz now lives in Israel and tours worldwide, composing and performing music that combines many of his instruments and cultural traditions. A famed composer, violinist, and oud player, Yair Dalal is an Israeli musician who plays Jewish music from many styles and cultures but especially that of his parents’ native country, Iraq. His talent and energies have been focused on sharing the music of the Near East's desert regions, especially that of the Bedouin of the Negev. He is also dedicated to exploring the music of his Iraqi and Babylonian roots.

This resource is part of the Travels with Music: Eastern Mediterranean collection.

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Travels with Music: Israel #2: Yair Dalal (violin and oud)

A famed composer, violinist, and oud player, Yair Dalal is an Israeli musician who plays Jewish music from many styles and cultures but especially that of his parents’ native country, Iraq. He was nominated "best musician from the Middle East" in the 2002 BBC World Music Awards. Ever since Dalal gave up his previous career as a desert guide to become a full-time musician, his talent and energies have been focused on sharing the music of the Near East's desert regions, especially that of the Bedouin of the Negev. He is also dedicated to exploring the music of his Iraqi and Babylonian roots.

This resource is part of the Travels with Music: Eastern Mediterranean collection.

Open or Download This File: