Page 1
Israel and Palestine: The Fight for Peace:
Teacher’s Guide
Grade Level: 9-12
Curriculum Focus: World History
Lesson Duration: Two class periods
Program Description
Can there be peace in the Middle East? The Oslo Peace Accords in 1993 brought a glimmer of hope
to ending a decades-old dispute. Learn the obstacles that have prevented Israel and Palestine from
compromise, including border disputes, refugees, settlers, terrorism, and years of distrust and
Onscreen Questions
Part I—Before watching the video
• What does the expression “land for peace” mean in Israel?
• As you watch the program, pay attention to the specific land involved in negotiating peace for
Israelis and Palestinians. Think about the land’s geographic and religious importance.
• What other factors are obstacles to the peace process?
Part I—After watching the video
• One of the major obstacles to a lasting peace accord in the Middle East is settling who will
control the city of Jerusalem. What are the key reasons for this dispute?
• Discuss whether the conflict between Jews and Muslims over this issue is so great that it cannot
be resolved.
Part II—Before watching the video
• Palestinians and Israelis are the primary groups that are struggling for peace, but some
extremist groups oppose the peace process.
• As you watch the program, take note of the tactics of these adversarial groups. What are the
effects of their actions? Which actions derail the peace process?
Part II—After watching the video
• Why do you think the United States has been closely involved in helping Israelis and
Palestinians negotiate peace?
• How do other countries in the Middle East perceive U.S. involvement? What are the risks to
continued U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process?

Page 2
Israel and Palestine: The Fight for Peace: Teacher’s Guide
Lesson Plan
Student Objectives
• Research the history of the peace process in the Middle East.
• Write a paper outlining ways to promote negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel and Palestine: The Fight for Peace video and VCR
• Paper and pencils
• Computer with Internet access
1. Set the stage for the lesson by showing students the first two minutes of the video Israel and
Palestine: The Fight for Peace. Tell students to take particular note of the brief overview of the
Oslo peace process, the events leading up to the signing of the Oslo peace agreement, the
assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and the visit to the Temple Mount and the escalation of
2. After watching these segments, go over the events leading up to the current violence in the
Middle East. Make sure students understand the following key points:
• By 1987, there was mounting frustration and anger among the Palestinians, who had
been living in the West Bank and Gaza under Israeli occupation for 20 years. The
Palestinians have a strong desire for their own state, independent from Israeli control.
• As violence continued over the next couple of years, newly elected Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin decided that it was time to enter into peace negotiations with the
Palestinian Liberation Organization, known as the PLO, under the leadership of Yasser
• Rabin authorized secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians that took place
in Oslo, Norway. The Israelis and the Palestinians negotiated an agreement, which was
signed in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 1993. The agreement called for a
withdrawal of Israel from the occupied land and a mutual cease-fire over a period of
five years.
• The peace process began to fail when Rabin was assassinated in 1995. His successor,
Benjamin Netanyahu, slowed the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, further fueling
anger and mistrust between the two sides.
• In 1999 Netanyahu was defeated in his bid for reelection by Ehud Barak. President Bill
Clinton brought Barak and Arafat to Washington in 2000 to try to renew the
negotiations, but the attempt failed.
Published by Discovery Education. © 2005. All rights reserved.

Page 3
Israel and Palestine: The Fight for Peace: Teacher’s Guide
• Violence has escalated in the region over the past few years. Ariel Sharon, the current
prime minister, has pursued an aggressive policy, in part because Palestinians have
deployed suicide bombers. At this point, the two sides are at a stalemate.
3. Discuss the complexity of the situation with students. Point out that the most skilled negotiators
have been unable to reach a solution that has led to lasting peace. Then tell students that they
will try to develop a strategy that might work.
4. Divide students into pairs. Present each pair with the following statement and questions:
• In 1993 it looked as though Israel and the Palestinians were on the brink of peace, but
now the situation has greatly deteriorated.
• If you were in charge of the negotiating team, how would you initiate a new round of
• What would you do to correct the mistakes made in the 1990s?
5. Tell students to write a two-page paper describing how they would bring the opposing sides
back to the negotiating table, the compromises they would expect from each side, and strategies
to prevent making the previous mistakes.
6. Allow students time in class to work on their papers. Encourage them to conduct additional
research. The following Web sites offer helpful information on the history of the peace process
in the Middle East.
7. Have each pair present its paper to the class. Then hold a class discussion about the findings
and ideas. Ask students their thoughts about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. What
compromises do they think each side should make? What do they think other countries should
do to help resolve this situation?
Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students’ work during this lesson.
3 points: Students researched the topic carefully and thoroughly; considered the questions
carefully and wrote a thoughtful, factually accurate paper; participated actively in class
2 points: Students researched the topic; gave the questions some thought and wrote a
competent and mostly factually accurate paper; participated somewhat in class discussions.
Published by Discovery Education. © 2005. All rights reserved.

Page 4
Israel and Palestine: The Fight for Peace: Teacher’s Guide
1 point: Students did not complete their research; wrote a paper characterized by gaps,
misunderstandings, and many inaccuracies; did not participate in class discussions.
Yasser Arafat
Definition: Co-founder and former chairman (1969-2004) of the Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO), the political organization that represents the Arab people in Palestine
Context: Some say that as long as Yasser Arafat is the head of the PLO, it will be extremely
difficult for the Palestinians to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel.
Ehud Barak
Definition: The 10th prime minister of Israel (1999-2001), he defeated Benjamin Netanyahu in
Context: Ehud Barak tried to revive the peace process, but his distrust of Arafat was so strong
that he was unable to make much progress.
Definition: The term describes a Palestinian uprising in protest against continued Israeli
occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank
Context: An intifada that erupted in 2000 has escalated ever since.
Oslo peace agreement
Definition: A historic peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians reached in Oslo,
Norway, on September 13, 1993. It outlined a process whereby the Israelis agreed to withdraw
from the West Bank in exchange for an end to violence, and the Palestinians were promised
their own state.
Context: The Oslo peace agreement was the closest Israel and the Palestinians have ever come to
negotiating a long-term plan for peaceful coexistence in the Middle East.
Yitzhak Rabin
Definition: The prime minister of Israel from 1992 until his assassination in 1995
Context: Yitzhak Rabin made a serious effort at negotiating for peace in the Middle East, but his
assassination cut the process short.
Ariel Sharon
Definition: The current prime minister of Israel
Context: Some people believe that Ariel Sharon set off the current round of violence when he
visited the Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews and the Muslims.
Published by Discovery Education. © 2005. All rights reserved.

Page 5
Israel and Palestine: The Fight for Peace: Teacher’s Guide
Published by Discovery Education. © 2005. All rights reserved.
Academic Standards
Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education
addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visit link:
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
• History—World History: Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an
interdependent world
• Language Arts—Viewing: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret
visual media; Writing: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process, Gathers
and uses information for research purposes
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
NCSS has developed national guidelines for teaching social studies. To become a member of NCSS,
or to view the standards online, go to
This lesson plan addresses the following thematic standards:
• Time, Continuity, and Change
• Power, Authority, and Governance
• Civic Ideals and Practices
Support Materials
Develop custom worksheets, educational puzzles, online quizzes, and more with the free teaching tools
offered on the Web site. Create and print support materials, or save them to a
Custom Classroom account for future use. To learn more, visit