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National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah is a cultural educator working to build relationships between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem and throughout Israel. In this series of four eight-minute videos, Abu Sarah meets with people from both sides of the conflict in order to better understand and communicate how this international dispute impacts their everyday lives.

Use these videos to give students a broader understanding of both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the concept of conflict resolution.

Please watch these videos in order. Each presents a different perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "In the conflict zone," Abu Sarah says, "everything depends on which side you are on."

Video 1: Uneasy Coexistence
For Israelis and Palestinians trying to lead an ordinary life, the complications of living in a conflict zone can be extraordinary. Aziz Abu Sarah meets with people from both sides to understand how this conflict impacts their daily lives.

Video 2: Israel Defense Forces
For most Israelis, military service is mandatory. Aziz Abu Sarah meets with some of the young people who form the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces, and rides along as they encounter protesters from the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh.

Video 3: Palestinian Protesters
Throughout the West Bank, Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages co-exist in close proximity. Conflict over resources ensue, and can turn deadly. Aziz Abu Sarah takes a look at one such conflict, between the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh and Israeli settlement of Halamish. In this report, he embeds with Palestinian protesters as they clash with Israeli soldiers.

Video 4: A Space to Talk
A soccer game may not necessarily lead to peace in the Middle East, but you have to start somewhere, so why not with soccer? Aziz Abu Sarah's goal is to create opportunities for dialogue among people that are on opposing sides of a conflict. The hope is that if each side sees the other as human beings, they are less likely to support one another’s destruction. Could a soccer game among mixed teams of Israeli and Palestinian boys help?

For more information and discussion questions on Aziz Abu Sarah and these videos, please read this March 2013 blog post.

  1. Aziz Abu Sarah interacts with people on both sides of the “conflict zone.” What methods does Abu Sarah use that allow him to talk to people on both sides of the issue?

    • Answer

      Abu Sarah uses non-judgmental language, doesn’t yell or scold, allows people to speak for themselves, doesn’t interrupt, and he doesn’t get angry.

  2. In the second video, as Abu Sarah talks with members of the IDF and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank, they both identify a resource—not a religion or ideology—as the source of conflict. What is this resource?

    • Answer

      A natural spring that lies between the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh and the Israeli settlement of Halamish.

  3. Talking to Israelis, what Abu Sarah calls the “day-to-day impact” of the conflict is a sense of insecurity and fear. For Palestinians, it’s a sense of oppression and injustice. Abu Sarah listens to the personal experiences of Israelis and Palestinians. His work puts a focus on these personal stories, not opinions or beliefs. Is there a local conflict that students think would benefit from both sides listening to personal stories from the other side? How could these stories be expressed?

    • Answer

      Answers may vary. Personal stories may be expressed by conversation, artwork, radio programs, social media exchanges, film or video, letters, short stories, etc.

air strike
Noun

bombing of a site by aircraft.

conflict
Noun

a disagreement or fight, usually over ideas or procedures.

displace
Verb

to remove or force to evacuate.

Gaza Strip
Noun

self-governing Palestinian territory in Israel located on Israel's southwestern coast and bordering Egypt.

intifada
Noun

revolt by Palestinians against Israeli rule.

Palestine
Noun

region in the Middle East now occupied by Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

protest
noun, verb

demonstration against a policy or action.

Noun

person who flees their home, usually due to natural disaster or political upheaval.

refugee camp
Noun

temporary shelters built for immigrants who have fled their homes due to environmental or social conflict.

settlement
Noun

community or village.

tear gas
Noun

aerosol gas that causes extreme irritation of the eyes, leading to tears and sometimes vomiting. Also called CS gas.

West Bank
Noun

self-governing Palestinian territory in Israel, located in a large area of central Israel, including the west bank of the Jordan River.