How to explain what’s happening in Gaza to your students

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

 #6 News Story of 2018

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Video summary

  • As the U.S. opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, a total of 61 Palestinians, including eight children, have been killed, and more than 2,000 injured, along the Gaza border.
  • Instead of blaming the U.S. embassy opening, the world should focus on Iran who is supporting the riots in Gaza, according to Danny Danon, Israeli ambassador to the U.N. “We regret every casualty,” Danon said, “When we saw those pictures, we regret that, but they are being used by Hamas.”
    • Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, and is deemed by the U.S. and Israel to be a terrorist organization. Others in the international community do not agree with this designation. The U.S. and Israel say that Hamas is encouraging civilians in Gaza to take part in violent protests against Israel, and thereby wrongly risk their lives. Gaza, which is 1/10 the size of Rhode Island, is home to two million Palestinians. Unemployment stands at 40 percent.
  • Eight members of the European Union at the United Nations called on Israel to restrain from using excessive force and on Hamas to ensure protests in Gaza remain non-violent. Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States over the Trump administration’s moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
  • Check out this background piece What moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem means for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks to learn why the embassy move was seen by many in the international community as controversial and opposed by those in the Arab world, including the Palestinian people.

Discussion questions:

  1. Essential question: Why is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so complicated and difficult to solve?
  2. Why did the U.S. support moving its embassy to Jerusalem?
  3. The conflict between Israeli and Palestinians has been going on since the middle of the 20th century, although historians say the conflict extends back to the end of the 19th century.
    • What do you know about it?
    • When learning about complicated foreign affairs, what are some strategies to implement so that hear various viewpoints?
    • For broader context, you may want to research the Arab-Israel conflict.
  4. What will it take for peace to come to the Middle East? Who should be involved in the peace process?
  5. Media literacy: The New York Times was recently criticized for using biased wording in a tweet linking to its news piece. Monday’s tweet read “At Least 37 Palestinians Die in Protests as U.S. Prepares to Open Jerusalem Embassy,” while the actual news story read, “Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem.”
    • What is the difference between the two headlines?
    • Do you think the criticism of the Times’ tweet was warranted? Why or why not?

Extension activity:

In order to find out about the humanitarian crisis that has been taking place in Gaza for many years, watch NewsHour’s “Would alleviating Gaza humanitarian concerns ease violence?” Do you think helping to solve the humanitarian crisis could help a political or diplomatic solution have a better chance of succeeding? Why or why not?


Visit PBS NewsHour Extra for more education resources designed to help teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories@NewsHourExtra

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