This lesson was written in 2004 to accompany the 2001 documentary Promises, which explores the Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the eyes and experiences of Israeli and Palestinian children living in the West Bank. While both the film and lesson were produced two decades ago, the questions and perspectives they pose are relevant today. The documentary is available on Vimeo. If a teacher does not have time to show the film, the lesson can be done without. Simply skip any questions that invite students to reflect on what they would have seen in the film.
By Bill Bigelow
My 11th grade students at Portland’s Franklin High School were captivated by the young people in Promises.
The film entered them into the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians with greater intimacy than other parts of my Israel-Palestine curriculum. I wanted to take advantage of how well students felt they knew Moishe, Faraj, Daniel & Yarko, Shlomo, Mahmoud, and Sanabel, the youngsters whose families they had spent time with while watching Promises.
The premise of this role play is that the youngsters in Promises have grown up. In small groups, students attempt to take on the personas of the Promises young people and to wrestle with some of the actual questions that confront anyone hoping to achieve a lasting peace in Palestine-Israel.
The lesson is available to download for free on the link below. It includes a teaching guide, “A Roadmap to Peace?” handout, and roles based on the young people in the film.