The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is among the most intricate and divisive issues on the global stage today, and teaching about it can be immensely difficult – but also immensely important. We’ve done our best to aggregate moderate and balanced resources with perspectives from both sides, but you know your classrooms best, so we encourage you to review the materials and decide what is suitable for your particular context. With that said, an important part of learning is confronting your preconceived notions and biases, and that can be uncomfortable, no matter how well a lesson is balanced. We hope that the resources we’ve curated here spark meaningful discussion, and help your students grow into more thoughtful and well-informed global citizens.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been marked by violence on both sides, so some of the materials below include depictions of violence that may upset your students. As always, exercise caution and seek parent approval where appropriate.

Background Information

Articles
Lesson Plans and Teaching Materials
YouTube Videos
Films, Documentaries, and Filmed Debates
  • PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization): Masters of Their Own Destiny, 6-part series following the development of an independent Palestinian governing body (free on Al Jazeera)
  • The Green Prince is a thriller-style documentary following the unlikely partnership between the son of a Hamas leader and a Mossad agent (for rent on Youtube)
  • Inside Hamas from Channel 4 is a documentary detailing the inner workings of Hamas, the group currently governing Gaza and defined by most of the Western world as a terrorist organization (free on Youtube)
  • The Time That Remains is an award-winning depiction of multiple generations of Palestinians living as a minority in Nazareth (for rent on Youtube)
  • Debate: Anti-Zionism is Anti-Semitism features four academics, politicians, and journalists on opposing sides (free on Youtube)
  • To Die in Jerusalem is a documentary following the story of an Israeli teenage girl killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber, her mother’s search for answers, and the family of the suicide bomber, who herself was a 17-year-old girl (free on Youtube)
  • 5 Broken Cameras documents a Palestinian farmers’ nonviolent resistance to Israeli settlement in his hometown (for rent on Youtube)
  • Promises is a powerful portrait of 7 Palestinian and Israeli children, and the ways in which they are similar and heart-breakingly different (for purchase on Amazon)
  • Lemon Tree, one of the classic modern films of the Arab-Israeli conflict, follows the true story of a Palestinian widow who forms a silent bond with the wife of an Israeli official who moves in next door and attempts to destroy her lemon grove (for rent on Amazon)
  • Encounter Point is the story of an unlikely group – an Israeli settler, a Palestinian ex-convict, a grieving Israeli mother, and a wounded Palestinian brother – who sacrifice everything to push for peace (for purchase on Amazon)
Books

Nonfiction (appropriate for teachers and advanced/mature high school student)

  • A History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Ian J. Bickerton and Carla L. Klausner is a textbook on the history of the conflict
  • When I was a Soldier by Valerie Zenatti is a memoir about the author’s experience in the Israeli Defense Forces
  • Palestine by Joe Sacco with an introduction by Edward Said is a landmark book on life as a Palestinian in Israeli’s occupied territories, in an approachable graphic novel format
  • The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, based on a bombshell article of the same name, is an overview of the effect of Israeli lobbying on American foreign policy, and extremely timely
  • Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor by Yossi Klein Halevi is a moving collection of essays by an American immigrant to Israel, explaining his decision and the conflict through Israeli eyes
  • Footnotes in Gaza by Joe Sacco is a graphic novel that distills the conflict to one day in a town at the bottom-most tip of the Gaza Strip, a refreshingly human and granular representation

Fiction

  • The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan follows the friendship that develops between a Palestinian, journeying to Israel to see the house from which he and his family fled, and the Israeli student currently living there
  • Code Name Butterfly by Ahlam Bsharat is an approachable novel about the dramas of a teen girl’s life – from sibling rivalries to crushes – who happens to live in Palestine
  • Salt Houses by Hala Alyan, an NPR book of the year, follows three generations of Palestinians uprooted by the Six Day War of 1967
  • The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God and Other Stories by Etgar Keret is a short story collection by an Israeli author, detailing, in stories that are touching as often as funny, daily life in modern Israel
  • The Blue Between Sky and Water by Susan Abulhawa follows three generations of a Palestinian family expelled from their hometown in a magical realism style
Podcasts
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