NewsHour Extra Feature Stories
NewsHour Extra features stories can help students identify and interpret
key issues in current events. This activity anticipates one class period,
but the follow-up essay might be assigned as homework, or in another period.
Warm Up: Use initiating
questions to introduce the topic and find out how much your students know.
Main Activity: Have
students read NewsHour Extra's feature story and answer the questions
on the reading comprehension handout.
Discussion: Use discussion
questions to encourage students to think about how the issues outlined
in the story affect their lives and express and debate different opinions.
can write an 500-word editorial on the topic expressing their views and
send it to NewsHour Extra [email@example.com]
for possible publication.
are graded on their answers to reading comprehension questions and/or
Story: U.S. Endorses New
Tactic in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: 4/05/04
1. What do you know about the
2. Who are the Palestinians? Who are the Israelis? Why are the two groups
3. What role has the U.S. played in past peace negotiations?
Reading Comprehension Questions:
(click here for printout)
1. What controversial announcement
did Ariel Sharon make prior to his visit to Washington? Why is this significant?
Prior to his trip Sharon
announced that between four to six main West Bank settlements -- home
to about 92,500 Israelis -- will stay under Israeli control. The small
towns, built on land Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day
War, are considered illegal under international law.
2. What has Israel said it
wants from the United States?
Israel wants explicit
approval from the United States that it will not be forced to withdraw
its borders to those that existed prior to the Arab-Israeli war in 1967.
For many years the United States has tried to negotiate peace with a
Palestinian state in pre-war borders.
Another sensitive topic
is the resettlement of some Palestinians who say their families were
forced from their homes during Israel's founding in 1947-48. Sharon
wants Mr. Bush to agree that these Palestinian refugees will not have
the so-called "right of return" and will instead settle in
the new Palestinian state.
3. What is the Palestinian
reaction to Sharon's plan?
Palestinians argue that
Sharon's plan to "disengage" from them contradicts the terms
of the U.S.-backed "road map" for peace, which says that the
borders of a future Palestinian state must be negotiated.
The "road map"
was launched in April 2003, but has made little progress. The plan seeks
to end the violent conflict in the region and establish a Palestinian
state by 2005. It is the fourth attempt by the United States in 25 years
to broker a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians.
of six settlement blocks in the West Bank is a recipe for closing all
the doors in the peace process and its destruction," said Palestinian
negotiations minister Saeb Erekat.
4. What did President Bush
have to say about Sharon's plan?
At a joint press conference
Wednesday President Bush endorsed Sharon's plan calling the proposed
pullout "historic and courageous actions."
"In light of new
realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population
centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status
negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines
of 1949," Mr. Bush said.
When asked directly about
the right of Israel to maintain some settlements Mr. Bush said that
final decisions must wait for "final status" negotiations
between the Palestinians and Israelis on the creation of a Palestinian
"It is now up to
responsible Palestinians, caring Europeans, the United Nations, to step
in and create such a state," Mr. Bush said.
The president also seemed
to back Israel's demand that Palestinians not be guaranteed a right
of return to land that is now Israel.
5. How do Israeli's feel about
While polls show that
a majority of Israelis support Sharon's plan, many leading Likud Party
members oppose any withdrawal by Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Discussion Questions (more
research might be needed):
1. United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan has called the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict one of the most critical issues in the world today. Why would
he say that and do you agree?
2. How does U.S. support for
Israel affect its relationship with other countries-- especially Arab
nations-- in the region?
3. Prime Minister Sharon has
said his country must do what ever it needs to protect its citizens from
the Palestinian suicide bombers who have killed hundreds of Israelis over
the past three years. Terrorist organizations have said one of the reasons
they are targeting the United States is because of its support for Israel
and the oppression of the Palestinian people. If you were president of
the U.S., how would you respond to these statements?
Send your answers, in essay
form, to firstname.lastname@example.org for