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The Israel-Palestine Conflict

Searching for a Just Peace



The Israel-Palestine conflict is one of the most controversial issues in our contemporary world. This resource approaches the conflict through the vehicle of narrative constructed through the judicious use of facts and perspectives.

The unit materials include a broad spectrum of resources that will produce multiple narratives based on individual perspectives.

Included are a variety of lesson activities, resources, and student assignments. Teachers should feel free to pick and choose what will work for them and their students, and to adapt lessons based on the learning needs of students in their class.

The lessons include the following

Lesson 1: Bias, fact, perspective, narrative, and your truth

Lesson 2: Geography of Israel-Palestine 

Lesson 3: Understanding the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict 

Lesson 4: Searching for a just peace in the Middle East


This unit approaches the conflict through the vehicle of narrative constructed through the 
judicious use of facts and perspectives. The unit materials include a broad spectrum of resources 
that will produce multiple narratives based on individual perspecti

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

The unit helps students

  • recognize bias
  • distinguish fact from opinion
  • identify perspectives


The resource is is well organized and quite detailed in setting out the steps in each lesson plan. The activities engage students in their learning and avoids "teacher talk". Students develop skills essential to analyzing controversial issues.

The topic is current and critical and offers one of the few resources to explore Sustainable Development Goal # 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. 

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Teachers wishing to have students explore SDG 16 will find this useful in having students recognize the complexities that characterize many of those issues that challenge our efforts to promote peace and justice.

History/ Social Studies teachers may use the resource to help students explore those curriculum units that focus on the Middle East.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • 20th Century World History 12: Nationalist movements can unite people in common causes or lead to intense conflict between different groups
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Social Justice and Human Rights
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120: Geopolitics
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World History 3201: Regional Developments in Post-World War II Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global History: The Pursuit of Justice
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World History Since 1900: Global & Regional Interaction: (Open) Globalizing World Issues and Interactions since 1991
        • World History Since 1900: Global & Regional Interaction: (Open) The Cold War Years, 1945-1991
        • World History Since 1900: Global & Regional Interactions (Open) Historical Inquiry and Skill Development
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • History 20: Global Issues
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 20: World Issues -Human Rights
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • 20th Century World History 12: Nationalist movements can unite people in common causes or lead to intense conflict between different groups
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society

Themes Addressed

  • Governance (2)

    • International Relations
    • Non-Violent Conflict Resolution

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Among the key concepts used throughout the unit, two deal directly with the issue of bias and balance as the excerp below indicates.

Addressing controversial issues in the classroom

Students need to develop the skills and tools to help them make sense of a complex and confusing world. The lessons in this unit offer them opportunities to practise identifying issues, separating facts from opinions, recognizing manipulative arguments and assumptions,and understanding that the issue should be controversial, not the people tackling it.

Cautions and guidelines when working with bias, point of view, and critical thinking

All of us, even teachers, have biases. Identifying and working to mitigate biases is aided through the presentation of a variety of materials, points of view, and “what about” questions. The objective is to offer a learning resource that does not inherently prejudice the students’ thinking. We should encourage students to avoid simple answers to complex questions. We can do this by challenging “it was inevitable” thinking, translating statistics into people, distinguishing between reliable and questionable source material, and consciously creating a safe learning environment.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

The focus of the resource is to help students understand the various perspectives on the Palestine - Israel conflict and the teacher would have to broaden the scope of the unit by having students investigate the social, economic and environmental impact of this conflict. These impacts are real and this is why the United Nations has included among its Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 16; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good

The unit addresses a variety of issues that complicate our understanding of the crisis and the difficulty of resolving the conflict. This involves analysing opposing views, consideration of human rights, equity and justice, and perspectives in media reporting of the conflict.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The aim of the unit is to elevate student understanding of the Palestine - Israel conflict and the difficulties inherent in sorting out all the noise around the conflict. The result, hopefully, is that the exercise will inform student participation in the public forum in advocating for a particular policy or strategy.

The skills acquired in the exercise are generic and will have application in the student's approach to other controversial issues.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

The Palestine - Israel conflict raises many questions on the larger issues of equity, social justice, and human rights.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

The unit asks students to suspend judgement with respect to the diverse groups in a conflict until they have had an opportunity to hear and analyze the competing narratives in the conflict. A central part of that analysis is the use of a social justice lens in weighing those narratives.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Poor/Not considered

The Palestine - Israel conflict is an example of the interplay between the global and local. Teachers may explore this theme by having students consider how events in the Middle East have national and local reverberations.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The unit deals with the causes of the current conflict, outlines the chronology of the conflict and examines the search for a just peace that would mean a better future for all.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good

The first segment of the unit focuses on those generic skills that help students recognize bias, perspectives and competing narratives and develop critical thinking skills. The second segment examines the Israel-Palestine conflict in a manner that helps student apply those skills by identifying the competing perspectives and narratives represented by the Palestinians and Israelis. The final segment explores efforts to find a just peace in the Middle East and the difficulties inherent in arriving at such a peace. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

The lesson requires that students examine the conflict within the context of the historical record. They recognize the geographic forces at work, and  examine the underlying social justice and human rights issues at play. 

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

Students are asked to struggle with a number of questions that are fundamental to any effort to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict. What are the background and immediate causes of the conflict? What are the competing perspectives? What options are available to those seeking a solution?  

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


Differentiated Instruction Good

Activities include recognizing bias in language, using facts to create a narrative, distinguishing fact and opinion, map study, demographic analysis, analyzing historical timelines, and articulating and defending one's perspective.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

The issue addressed is one that is critical to any effort to bring peace to the Middle East. The lesson is an academic exercise in developing those skills and strategies that are essential for students to arrive at informed positions on this and other controversial issues.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Students work in pairs or groups in a number of the activities and share their findings with classmates.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Very Good

Each lessson concludes with an assessment strategy, some of which include an assessment scale or rubric.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

Activities that include students working in pairs or small groups and those where students report their findings or articulate their perspective allow students to learn from their classmates.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

The unit is designed to help students develop those generic skills necessary to analyze controversial issues and uses the Israel - Palestine conflict as a case study to illustrate and practice these skills.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

The lessons in the unit are in keeping with the pedagogy associated with guided learning.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.