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Daily News Lessons (show all)

Israeli and Palestinian forces agree to cease-fire

May 21, 2021


Israel and Palestinian forces in Gaza agreed to a cease-fire after 11 days of conflict. Pressure to end the conflict intensified this week from the U.S., Egypt and Europe, though Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that bombings of Gaza would continue until Israel met its military objectives. Eleven days of bombing and rockets from Gaza left 227 Palestinians and 12 Israelis killed.

  • In a statement, Netanyahu’s office said the Security Cabinet unanimously approved the proposal after recommendations from the military chief of staff and other top defense officials.
  • Taher Nounou, a Hamas official, confirmed the deal. “The Palestinian resistance will commit itself to this deal as long as the occupation is committed,” he said.
  • The agreement would close the heaviest round of fighting between the bitter enemies since a 50-day war in 2014.

Writing opportunity:  If you are a middle/high school student and would like to share your thoughts (600-800 words) for PBS NewsHour Classroom’s Student Voice blog on the situation between Israel and Palestine over the last 11 days or the history between the two groups, write to

Note: Prior knowledge of the subject is expected on the part of the teacher. If you’re not sure, you may want to start with this A Guide to the Current Crisis in Israel/Palestine by Jewish Currents and Al Jazeera’s More than a century on: The Balfour Declaration explained. You may also want to read BBC’s explainer, but keep in mind that the treatment of the 1917 Balfour Declaration (without naming it) disregards Britain’s own colonial rule over the mandate of Palestine.

You can view NewsHour Classroom’s lesson on the core issues or this lesson using media literacy from earlier in the week. This broadcast segment was recorded prior to Israeli and Palestinian forces officially agreeing to a cease-fire. For more on those statements, read the summary below.

Five Facts

  • Who has agreed to a cease-fire, and who helped negotiate the cease-fire?
  • Why did Israeli officials initially say they were not ready for a cease-fire?
  • What are the goals of those involved in fighting?
  • How does this conflict change conditions for Israelis and Palestinians?
  • Where did the most intense violence take place in this conflict?

Focus Questions

What are some ways you think a more lasting peace between Israel and Gaza could be established?

Media literacy: In this piece, the journalists interview Palestinian and Israeli civilians but no officials. Why do you think the producers made that choice?

For More

Additional resources: It can be difficult to understand the current conflict in Israel and Palestine from just a single news story.