Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Webquest

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Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Webquest

History, and different perceptions of history, (is) perhaps the most important factor in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Accounts of history, interpreting history in different ways, are used to justify claims and to negate claims, to vilify the enemy and to glorify "our own" side.  Dozens of accounts have been written. Most of the accounts on the Web are intended to convince rather than to inform.

"History is a myth agreed upon." Napoleon Bonaparte



Different Viewpoints - Israeli and Palestinian Claims to Land

Directions: The searing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has made almost impossible any statement about which both groups can agree. Read the following descriptions about the claim each has to the land Israelis call Israel and Palestinians Palestine. Then, based on what you have read, answer questions 1-4 below.

A. The history of the Jewish people and of its roots in the land of Israel spans some 35 centuries. In this land, its cultural, national, and religious identity was formed; here, its physical presence has been maintained unbroken throughout the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost 2000 years earlier, was renewed. --American Jewish Committee

B. The Palestinians' claim is predicated on the right of ownership evidenced by uninterrupted possession and occupation since the dawn of recorded history. They lived in the country when the Hebrews (of whom the Jews claim descent) came and lived there for a comparatively short period. They continued to live there during the Hebrew (and Jewish) occupation. They remained there after the last Hebrew or Jew left the country nearly two thousand years ago....The people today called Palestinians...are largely the descendants of the Canaanites, the Edomites, and the Philistines who lived in Palestine when it was invaded by the Hebrews in ancient times. But the Hebrews finally left or were driven out two thousand years ago. --Frank S. Sakran, Palestine Still a Dilemma

C. There was no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state?... It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist. --Golda Meir, Israeli Prime Minister, New York Times

D. According to Genesis, this was the land that God gave to Abraham and his seed....Those Jews who rely on the biblical deed to the land take their history from the ancient period of 4,000 years or so ago, skipping easily over the centuries of Muslim rule that followed; those Arabs who regard history as their ally tend to begin with the Muslim conquests in the seventh century A.D., blithely ignoring the Jewish kingdoms that existed here 2,000 years before Muhammad made his appearance. --David K. Shipler, Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land

Please respond to the questions below by marking either a J (Jews), P (Palestinians) or I (Impossible to determine).
1. Which people have lived in the land longer?
2. Which people have ruled over the land longer?
3. Whose historical claim to the land is stronger?
4. Which people have been present in the land as far back as records go?

Directions: Go to the K Drive on the school’s computer. Select High SchoolBellaMiddle East Webquest. Right click “One Land, Two Peoples” Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. It may help to enlarge this page. Press Control and +. This enlarges the page. Begin reading.

  1. What U.S. state is about the same size as Israel?

  2. Go to next page – Ancient Times – Read both. When did the Jews set up their kingdom? When did the Palestinians start living in this area? Who was there longer?

  3. Go to next page – 1897-1945 – Who are the Zionists and what do they want to do? After WWI, who did the Zionists press for a homeland? What was the Balfour Declaration and what did it promise? Who were there more of in this region – Jews or Palestinians?

After the First World War, the British Mandate for Palestine, also known as the Palestine Mandate and The British Mandate of Palestine, was confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922. This mandate gave Great Britain the authority to rule this area for a limited time. Later, with the League of Nations' consent, the Britain divided the Mandate territory into two administrative areas, Palestine, under direct British rule, and autonomous Trans-Jordan. The formal objective of the League of Nations Mandate system was to administer parts of the defunct Ottoman Empire, which had been in control of the Middle East since the 16th century, "until such time as they are able to stand alone.”

  1. What was the Arab reaction to the increase in Jewish immigration from Europe?

  2. Were the Arabs happy with the proposed partition plans?

This map shows how the United Nations proposed that the land be divided between the Jews and Palestinians.

  1. What do you notice about the Palestinian areas?

  2. Go to next page, 1946-1963, Post-WWII to Israeli Statehood. What was the 1947 United Nations plan and who was to get what out of it? Are the Arabs happy with this new plan?

  3. On what date does Israel claim statehood? Almost immediately, Arab nations – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt – attack newly formed Israel and fighting continues for 15 months. Who wins the war?

9. Right click "Middle East Information and Research Project". Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. “Palestinian Arab Refugees.” About how many Palestinian refugees left during the fighting between 1947-1949?

Why did they leave their homes?
10. Right click "United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees." Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. Look at the map, Where We Work, and click on it to see how many live in each area.

  1. Gaza __________________

  2. Syria __________________

  3. Jordan _________________

  4. Lebanon _______________

  5. West Bank ______________

  1. What is the purpose of these refugee camps?

Read about any two areas. List three things you learned about each of them.

g. Choice One - ___________________________
h. Choice Two - ___________________________

11. Right click Two Peoples, Divided. Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. Click on the “Show Legend” button in the top right corner. Question: What do the areas marked in BLUE represent and what problems might their locations cause given the hostility between the Palestinians and the Israelis? (Remember: The West Bank is supposedly Palestinian controlled.)

12. Right click One Land, Two Peoples, 1964-2001- War, Peace Efforts. Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. What is the Palestine Liberation Organization and what is their purpose?
13. What is the Six Day War and what was the result?
14. What does the United Nations demand that Israel do?
15. Right click Yom Kippur War. Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. Scroll through the pages to 1973. What happened during the war and what was the result?
16. Scroll through the pages to 1993. Describe the Oslo Accords and its goals and results.
17. Right click One Land, Two Peoples, Israel Today. Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. How many Jews live in Israel? How many Arabs?


  1. Right click – The Friends of Israel Portal Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. (Watch the Flash video and answer the questions below).

    1. How is Israel’s government different than the surrounding Arab and Iranian governments?

    2. For every Israeli, there are how many Arabs and Iranians?

    3. For every dollar Israel spends on its military, the Arab/Iranian countries spend how much?

    4. Does Israel have crude oil reserves (This means oil to make gasoline, etc.)?

  1. Right click Jewish Virtual Library: Index of Myths: Refugees: “One million Palestinians were expelled by Israel from 1947-49.” Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website.
    Question: Why did Palestinian refugees flee according to this source?

  2. Right click the Jewish Virtual Library: Index of Myths: Settlements “Israeli settlements are illegal.” Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website.
    Question: Why are Israeli settlements legal according to this source?


  1. Right click Are Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories a violation of international law? Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website.
    What does this source have to say about the Israeli settlements in the West Bank or Palestinian territory?

  2. Right click Life in the Palestinian Territories Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website and scroll below the biggest picture and click on Life in the Palestinian Territories to look at the photographs.
    Question: What does life seem to be like for Palestinians and what complaints might they have against Israel?

  1. Right click If Americans Knew: Home Demolitions. Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. Take a minute (:53) to watch the video.
    Question: Why does the Israeli government demolish some Palestinian homes?


  1. Right click Palestinians, Palestinians, and Israelis. Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. Look through these photographs.

  1. Describe daily living from the viewpoint of an Israeli.

  2. Describe daily living from the viewpoint of a Palestinian.

The international community, especially the United States, has pressed to establish a state for Palestine. President Obama recently stated that the borders of Israel should be turned back to those in 1967. This would mean a loss of territory for Israel.
25. Read the New York Times article, Right click President Obama's Speech. Select Open Hyperlink. This opens the website. What is President Obama trying to do with this speech?  What are his goals?
Directions: Your response must be 3 to 4 sentences each and include specific information from the webquest as support.
26. What documents or images are most interesting to you?  Why?
27. What did you learn about Israel's history that you might not have known before?
28. Based on what you've read and seen, what makes this conflict unique--politically, culturally, and geographically?
29. Based on what you already know or have learned here about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, what changes or developments do you think might unfold over the next decade as Israel moves toward it seventh decade of statehood?
30. What responsibility, if any, should the international community have in supporting the peace process in Israel?
31. Is it possible to support peace in the region without seeming biased toward one side of the conflict?  Why or why not?
32. What role should the US play, if any, in influencing the peace process in Israel?  What position has the US government taken toward Israel in the past?  Has its position changed and if so, how and why? Do some research on the Internet to gain a better understanding of the U.S.’s position with Israel.

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