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israelis and palestinians discuss the conflict

Israelis and Palestinians come together to find a middle ground. Can they look past the deep conflict to understand one another?

October 23, 2023

Understanding Perspectives in the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Help students recognize and understand both sides of a painful conflict by seeing how a civil, meaningful conversation can help make progress instead of causing harm.


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Can Israelis and Palestinians come together to find a middle ground? Can they see a future past the deep conflict to understand one another? Watch this video from the Middle Ground Project to see Israelis and Palestinians discuss the conflict in a civil, meaningful way. If time allows, find time to cover some or all of the discussion questions as a class. There is an optional history exercise at the end that provides historical context for the conflict.

Note to Educators

This lesson is intended for students in grades 9-12. Please review this video before showing it to your class.

  • Ensure a Safe Space: Remind students to respect differing opinions and to approach the discussion with an open mind and empathy.
  • Facilitate Respectfully: Be mindful to navigate the discussion in a way that honors all perspectives and avoids perpetuating stereotypes or biases.
  • Support and Resources: Be prepared to provide additional resources or support for students who may find the discussion emotionally challenging.
  • Reflect: Allow time at the end of the discussion for students to share their reflections and learnings from the conversation.
Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  1. Personal Narratives and Empathy: How do personal stories impact our understanding and empathy toward a conflict compared to statistical or factual information?
  2. Role of Media and Information: How do different media sources and social platforms influence our perception of the Israel-Palestine conflict? Can you identify biases in the information from the video?
  3. Complexity of Identity: How does living in a conflict zone impact one’s identity and sense of belonging?
  4. Cycles of Violence: How does the cycle of violence, as discussed by the individuals, perpetuate the conflict, and what might be steps toward breaking this cycle?
  5. Concepts of Homeland: How do the differing perspectives on “homeland” contribute to the ongoing conflict, and how might these perspectives be reconciled?
  6. Peace and Compromise: What does “peace” mean from different perspectives in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and how can compromise be achieved without sacrificing core values?
  7. The Impact of Political Leadership: How do the political leaders and governments on each side contribute to or hinder the resolution of the conflict, according to the perspectives shared in the conversation?
  8. Future Generations and Hope: Considering the hopes and fears expressed by the individuals in the video, what might be the role of future generations in navigating and potentially resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Optional: Historical Background of the Conflict

The video from Vox outlines the historical context and key events that have shaped the Israel-Palestine conflict, from the evolution of national identities in the early 20th century to the present-day struggles and political climate. It provides a detailed account of the various phases of the conflict, highlighting the pivotal moments that have defined the relations between Israelis and Palestinians. By engaging with discussion questions following the video, students can further develop their critical-thinking skills, gain a deeper understanding of the complexities involved in the conflict, and explore the various perspectives and factors that have contributed to its persistence over the years.

Remote video URL

Discussion Questions

  1. How did the national identities of Palestinians and Jews evolve in the early 20th century according to the video?
  2. What were some of the key events that led to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1947?
  3. In what ways did the geographic and political landscape of the Israel-Palestine region change following World War I and World War II?
  4. What role did international actors, such as the United Nations and European powers, play in the development of the conflict?
  5. How has the Israel-Palestine conflict shifted from a broader Arab-Israeli conflict to a more localized Israeli-Palestinian struggle according to the video?

Building Historical Context: Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Use this list of free educational resources to explore comprehensive ideas and strategies for teaching about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Andy Kratochvil

Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for the Share My Lesson community.He studied political science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University

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