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Israeli-Palestinian Peace Summit
Lesson Snapshot

Learning objectives
Students will develop persuasive arguments for a given position or point of view regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Students will also build negotiation and conflict management skills.

Grade level



NCSS standards

Time estimate
Up to five class periods, including homework

  • Part 1: Researching world leaders, with homework
  • Part 2: Faction groups discuss the peace process
  • Part 3: Issues committees negotiate a compromise
  • Part 4: Final packaging committee meets
  • Part 5: Student reactions and debriefing

What you'll need (see Resources for links)

Lesson Plan

Part 1

  • The class will hold a mock summit of world leaders in an attempt to negotiate a settlement on several primary issues relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a class, discuss the issues that will be covered in the summit:

    • Borders and settlements

    • Security

    • Refugees

    • Jerusalem

  • Each student or group of students should choose a world leader to research from the list provided. The list is divided into six groups, each with four leaders. Each group is organized by its location and/or political tendencies. Either make sure that all the leaders are covered or that there is at least some representation from each group or "faction."

  • Moderate Palestinians

    • Yasser Arafat, leader of Palestinian Authority

    • Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian leader, former minister of education

    • Sari Nusseibeh, Palestinian intellectual

    • Maha Abu-Dayyeh Shamas, director of the Jerusalem Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling

    Extremist Palestinians

    • Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, leader of Hamas

    • Ramadan Shallah, leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad

    • Marwan Barghouti, lieutenant of Yasser Arafat

    • Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, spiritual leader of Hamas

    Moderate Israelis

    • Shimon Peres, current foreign minister of Israel

    • Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel

    • Tzali Reshef, leader of Peace Now

    • Terry Greenblatt, director of Bat Shalom

    Extremist Israelis

    • Ariel Sharon, current prime minister of Israel

    • Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel

    • Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a leader of Gush Emunim

    • Eli Yishai, leader of Shas party

    U.S. Leaders

    • George W. Bush, current president of the United States

    • Colin Powell, current U.S. secretary of state

    • Bill Clinton, former president of the United States

    • Edward Said, Palestinian-American intellectual

    Arab Leaders

    • King Abdullah of Jordan

    • Bashar al-Asad, president of Syria

    • Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt

    • Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

  • Distribute copies of the summary of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as background. Additional sources to use for research are provided in the Resources section. If Lesson 2: A Meeting of World Leaders has already been done in class, this can serve as a review.

  • Using their research on their assigned character, students will write a policy paper of three to four pages. Each paper should include the following:

    • The character's background and position(s) of leadership

    • His or her approach to an Israeli-Palestinian peace process

    • A delineation of the character's values and interests/goals, including answers to the following questions:

      • What are the character's most dearly held conditions for peace?

      • Where would the leader be willing to compromise or trade off on issues?

      (Note: Certain characters would not, in all likelihood, even attend a summit meeting. Students should note this in their research, but participate in the summit nevertheless.)

Part 2

  • Students will break into factions (e.g., moderate Palestinians, extremist Israelis, etc.) to discuss for approximately 20 minutes their approach as a delegation to the peace process.

  • Members of each faction should also decide which members will be on which issue committee (i.e., borders and settlements, security, refugees, and Jerusalem).

Part 3

  • Students will then split into issue committees. Members of each committee will try to come to an agreement on their issue. They should keep in mind the character they play and the position of their factional delegation as they negotiate. If one member of a committee refuses to accept an agreement accepted by all other members, the committee may move forward, but members should recognize the possible consequences.

  • Each issues committee should also appoint one member to serve on a final status/packaging committee.

Part 4

  • After all the issue committees have met, the packaging/final status committee will try to resolve any outstanding issues. Members of their committees and delegations will sit behind the packaging committee and may, if asked, confer on ideas and opinions as the committee attempts to come to a final resolution.

Part 5

  • Each student will write a short reaction piece detailing his or her reaction to the peace summit and what they think will happen as a result. If any members of an issue committee refused to accept an agreement, students should note possible consequences.

  • A final debriefing discussion in class will allow students to present their proposed solution, if one was achieved. If they had problems reaching a consensus or were unable to do so, they should indicate this and explain why.


  • Was the student able to extrapolate information from a variety of sources to craft a logically argued position paper from their character's point of view?

  • To what extent did the student actively participate in the summit, staying in role, presenting effective arguments, and respecting others' positions and creative thinking?


Core Resources:

Global Connections Essays:

Internet Resources:

Related Video:

Print Resources:

  • AbuKhalil, As'ad. Historical Dictionary of Lebanon, Asian/Oceanic Historical Dictionaries #30.
    Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

  • Goldschmidt, Arthur, Jr. Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt.
    Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 200.

Related Activities:

Extension activity

Workable Peace offers a secondary-school curriculum that expands the activities presented in this lesson.

NCSS standards

Time, continuity, and change

  • Systematically employ processes of critical historical inquiry to reconstruct and reinterpret the past such as using a variety of sources and checking their credibility, validating and weighing evidence for claims, and searching for causality.

  • Investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgment.

  • Apply ideas, theories, and modes of historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments and to inform and evaluate actions concerning public policy issues.

Civic ideals and practices

  • Locate, access, analyze, organize, synthesize, evaluate, and apply information about selected public issues -- identifying, describing, and evaluating multiple points of view.

Power, authority, and governance

  • Explain and apply ideas, theories, and modes of inquiry drawn from political science to the examination of persistent issues and social problems.

For more information, see the National Standards for Social Studies Teachers, Volume I.

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