A key to understanding the troubles in the Middle East is understanding the people, especially the young people. In this Special Issue Online, we have presented the unrest in the Holy Land through the eyes of young people living there. We have also included a first-person account from a young student in Pennsylvania who spent a semester in Israel as the current uprising began in September 2000.
This report was developed to teach a complicated issue to your students as well as help them learn to safely use the Internet and computer resources in their class work. Below are specific suggestions for using this site in the classroom.
Geography and Politics
Can your students identify and locate the various countries in the Middle East? Use the maps in this report to show how geography has fueled the politics surrounding the current crisis.
Have students note the sizes of each country in the Middle East. The pose these questions for discussion.
- Which country is the largest?
- Which country is the smallest?
- Compare Israel's size and location to the U.S. Why would Israel feel more threatened by the countries on its borders than the U.S. by its neighbors?
Also have students look for Palestine in the most recent maps.
- Where was Palestine before World War II?
- Can you find Palestine on a map today?
- What happened to Palestine?
- What do the Palestinians want from Israel?
Get to know the people of the Middle East. Have students find the stories about young people in Israel. While reading the stories, students should compare their own lives to the lives of young people in Israel and the Arab terrorities. Have students write a three-paragraph story based on this outline:
- Paragraph I should answer the question: Do you identify with students from Israel?
- Paragraph II should describe how they are different from students in the Holy Land.
- Paragraph III should describe how they are the same.
Have students read choice paragraphs out loud to facilitate class discussion.
Teach negotiating techniques by having students take on the role of a U.S. diplomat sent to the Middle East to begin peace talks. Have them go through the following steps in a classroom discussion. Write the lists on the board, then make a third list of the problems standing in the way of even talking about peace. A fourth list should include suggestions for compromise between the two groups.
- In the first column, list what Israel wants.
- The second column, list what Palestinians want. For instance, Israel wants a cease fire and Palestinians want a state. Israel wants settlements in Palestinian areas and Palestinians want the Israelis out. Israel does not want to let Palestinian refugees to return to the territories because many of them are terrorists. Palestinians who have been exiled want to return to their homeland. Both Israel and the Palestinians want Jerusalem for its capital city.
- In the third column, list the things that are keeping the two sides from talking to each other. The main points here are that Israel does not want to negotiate with Palestinians until the violence has stopped. They want an immediate cease fire and a lasting period of peace before talks begin. Palestinians want the Israeli military out of their towns and villages. They want freedom to move around the country to work and shop.
- Now list suggestions students have for negotiating peace. Remind them that in a negotiation, each side has to give up something.