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May 14, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Core issues behind the escalating conflict in Israel-Palestine

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video above, click here.

Summary: John Yang discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with two experts on policy in the Middle East and the violence that has broken out in the past week, a level not seen since in several years.  

  • As in 2014, Gaza has been the focal point of the most intense violence, including bombings by Israel that have killed dozens of Palestinians and rockets launched from Gaza that have killed a smaller number of Israelis.
  • Experts Aaron David Miller and Shibley Telhami point out that one concerning feature of the past week’s escalation is the violence in the streets between Jewish and Arab civilians in cities throughout Israel.

Discussion: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is interviewed for this piece?
  • Why is this conflict in Israel different from past ones, according to these experts?
  • What are some of the political and other reasons violence has flared?
  • How do these experts think the conflict might end?
  • Where is some of the worst violence occurring?

Focus questions: Do you think the United States can or should have a role in helping end the current conflict? If so, what should that role be?

Media literacy: Who would you most want to hear from to better understand what are some of the “core issues” in Israel and Palestine right now?

Additional resources: It can be difficult to understand the current conflict in Israel and Palestine from just a single news story. You may want to use some past NewsHour broadcasts to provide more context (Note: Some of these broadcast pieces contain graphic or disturbing imagery and teachers may want to view ahead before showing students).

You may want to take a look at 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 EXTRA’s lesson on the core issues of the conflict 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.


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