"I've heard of family squabbles, but this is ridiculous."
"I don't understand. Is it hate or habit?"
"Why can't they just get along?"
Lesson Plan for Middle East
Critical Thinking Skills, Region
7th-grade World Geography/World Cultures
Discuss this conflict with your students via a brief lecture about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and handout of newspaper articles about the conflict via an online search by the teacher prior to class, or by the class if online access is available.
Here's some help:
Origins of Israel and the Birth of the Arab Israeli Conflict
Awesome Library: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Now that students have some understanding, let's see if students can determine how and why an individual living in Palestine today might feel about the current situation, based on a variety of different viewpoints. (Classroom Simulation)
Directions: Using the information provided in the Simulation Handout, students will imagine themselves to be one of the characters listed. In character, and working in groups, students will simulate a conversation that would be held around the table, in each family setting. Depending upon the size of your class, either arrange multiple table arrangements, to allow the kids to talk in groups, at one time; or if time and space allow, present each group, in turn, in front of the class.
Orally presented problem: Based on an individual's life experience, and what each believe to be true, their behavior, and their response to a particular problem could be very different.
From their point of view, they would be behaving in a sensible, necessary, good or proper manner.
From your point of view, they might be behaving in a way that makes no sense to you.
Even if people behave in the same way, are they behaving that way for the same reason? If you don't understand another person's point of view, do you think you might misunderstand them? Could that lead to problems that might be completely unnecessary? Of course!
It's important to try and understand other peoples points of view, and important for them to try and understand yours.
Simulation for the Classroom
Using the information provided below, simulate a conversation that could be held around the table after dinner, in each family setting.
Family One: A Palestinian home
Ahmed: A young Palestinian boy about 12 or 13. Deeply religious, he believes that if he is martyred, he will go directly to heaven. Since he was a baby, he has been told that the Israelis are evil. He has seen the rioting and would like to join in.
Miriam: The older sister of Ahmed. She was to be married, but her fiancee was killed in a riot by Israeli soldiers. She considers herself to be a widow. She is very angry and bitter towards the Israelis.
Abdullah: The oldest son of Muhammed. He is a member of the Al Fatah. He is deeply religious, and has committed terrorist acts towards Israelis. He is wanted by the Israeli police.
Muhammed: The father of Abdullah, Miriam, Mustafa and Ahmed. He was born and grew up in the refugee camp. His father was killed in the 1949 war with Israel and his family home burnt down. He does not want his children involved with the demonstrations. He too is very religious.
Serapin: Mother of Ahmed. She is troubled by the violence and does not want any of her children hurt. She wants to move to America where her brother lives and is prospering.
Family Two: An Israeli home
David Rothberg: An 18 year old Israeli citizen. Currently serving in the Israeli army, he believes all Arabs want to destroy Israel. He is not very religious, but he is very proud to be an Israeli soldier. He has never been in any of the rioting. He has just been assigned to riot duty in the Gaza strip.
Ben Rothberg: David's father. Born in Israel, his parents were both survivors of the Holocaust. He is a true believer in the country of Israel as a Jewish state. Deeply religious, he has been trained as a Rabbi. He runs a small grocery store and his employees are all Arabs. He always complains about how lazy they are, yet he pays only the minimum allowed by law.
Sarah: Mother of David. Immigrated from the United States. She hates the violence. She is afraid for her son and wishes he had a safe job. Not very religious, she mostly goes along with whatever Ben says. Her American upbringing and ideas conflict with those of Ben and her neighbors.
Judith: Younger sister of David. She worships him but doesn't want him to know. She is planning on following him into the army when she is old enough. She is extremely bright and could go to the University if she wants to.
Mariam: David's girlfriend. She was raised on a kibbutz and her parents were killed in a terrorist attack. She professes to hate all Arabs. She says she is glad David has a chance to kill Arabs. She wants all Arabs out and only Jews living in Israel.
"He called us to worship God alone... he commanded us to speak the truth, to honor our promises, to be kind to our relations, to be helpful to our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed, to avoid obscenities and false witness... " ( From speech of Jafar to the King of Abyssinia about Muhammad )