Focus: European Convention on Human Rights
Article 2: Everyone has the right to life
While the conflict between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory has been ongoing for almost 50 years, the situation is not without hope.
Many Israelis, Palestinians and people from around the world are working to bring about understanding and peace. Children and adults want the same things as people everywhere.
Learning Intention: I am learning about the hopes of children in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
Success Criteria: I can describe similarities and differences in the lives and hopes of Palestinian and Israeli children.
Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak
Your class will be divided into 4 groups. Each group will be given a case study.
In your group, read, discuss and answer the questions for your case study. Select one wish, one difficulty/worry and one interesting fact from your case study. You are now the ‘experts’ on your case.
The class will be arranged into new groups, each group has at least one person who is an ‘expert’ on each of the case studies. Tell the rest of your new group about your case.
Your new group should now complete the Venn diagram to show similarities and differences between the Israeli and Palestinian children.
(Extracted from “Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak” by Deborah Ellis. Children from Israel and Palestine were asked what they would wish for if they had 3 wishes).
I am in year 4. My best subject is art. I love drawing, especially horses.
I was born in Ukraine, but I was adopted when I was two months old and brought to Israel. I don’t know anything about Ukraine, except that it gets very cold there.
I hear a lot about the war. I’m eight, which is not too young to know about war and bombs.
We have guards at our school to keep the Palestinians from blowing us up. One of the guards there was killed by a bomb. He wasn’t killed at our school, but somewhere else. I was very sad when I heard about it. I was afraid, too. Guards are supposed to protect us, but he couldn’t protect himself. If a bomb can kill a guard, it can also kill me or my family.
There is always a lot of talk about war. I have my own gas mask. All the kids at my school have one. This way, we can still breath if someone drops gas on us. There should be gas masks for horses too.
I don’t want to hurt anybody and I don’t want anybody to hurt me. I just want to ride horses. I don’t know if there are any Palestinian girls who love horses as much as I do. I don’t know any Palestinian girls.
I am a Palestinian Christian. Many Palestinian are Muslims and many of us are Christian. It doesn’t matter what religion we are. We are all Palestinians.
I live in Terra Sancta Boys Home in the Old City of Jerusalem. The home is run by monks, it’s for boys who don’t have parents or who have parents who can’t take care of them. I don’t have a mother but I have a father. He is in America and can’t take care of me or my brothers or sisters right now.
I don’t know very much about the war other than that it means the Palestinians have to live apart from each other. My family isn’t the only one that is split up. Families should be together or should at least be able to visit each other whenever they want to, but that’s not the way it is for most Palestinian families. We all seem to be separated from each other because we are not allowed to cross the roadblocks and can’t get through the checkpoints if we don’t have the right papers. Sometimes when I’m out walking or in church I see families all together and my inside aches.
I have never met any Jewish boys. When I see Jewish boys my age, they look at me and I look at them but we don’t say anything. I don’t know anything about them and they don’t know anything about me.
We hear a little bit about the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians but I don’t really know what’s going on, or why they are fighting. I wish the fighting would stop because I don’t like the idea of people hurting each other. Also, if the war ends maybe my family could live together again.
My favourite subject is English. I live with my mother, father and older brother in a flat on the top floor of a small block of flats. It’s a very nice area with lots of trees along the streets. I like living in Jerusalem. It’s the centre of everything in Israel. There’s a lot to do here like films, sport, lots of things. We live in the new part of the city.
I wish I didn’t have to join the army in a few years’ time, but I don’t have a choice, maybe by then I’ll feel differently, but I don’t think so.
Sometimes the army goes into Palestinian cities like Hebron or Bethlehem. They take Palestinians out of their homes, they bulldoze the homes so there is nothing left. They do that in case there is a bomb inside the house. The soldiers might have to be rough to get the Palestinians out of their house because they won’t want to leave. It’s their home and they want to stay there.
My mother doesn’t want me being rough and mean to people when I’m a soldier. She says she’s brought us up to be kind to people. She thinks going into the army will change the kind of person I am. I don’t see how that can happen. I am who I am. How can anything change that?
I have an older sister, Ori. She’s eighteen now and decided to do National Community Service instead of going into the army. She thinks the occupation is bad, and doesn’t want to be part of it. She says if she went into the army she’d have to kill people if she was ordered to and she doesn’t want to do that.
It’s easier for her to not go in the army because she’s a girl but I have heard a lot of people arguing with her about it. They think it’s everyone’s duty to defend Israel.
Sometimes I think it would be fun to be in the army. I look at all the soldiers in the streets and they can do so many things and work radios and they look strong and smart.
I try to imagine myself being one of them, doing things like searching Palestinian homes and driving a tank into their cities. Maybe by the time I have to join the army there will be peace and I won’t have to do those things.
All I know about this war is that it’s about this country, this land. The Palestinians want it, and we want it so we’re fighting over it. I don’t know how it will end or if it will ever will.
I met some Palestinians once in Abu Gosh a village near Jerusalem. There were pretty nice kids, no different from me. I don’t know any Palestinians now though. They can’t come here and it’s too dangerous for us to go there.
Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak Questions
a) Is Mona Israeli or Palestinian?
b) What happens to Mona during a curfew?
c) What does Mona want to do?
d) Why do the soldiers scare her?
e) What does she think of Israeli children?
f) How will she feel when peace comes?
a) Is Gill Israeli or Palestinian?
b) What happens to the guard at her school?
c) Why is there a guard at her school?
d) Why dose she feel scared?
e) What does she have a gas mask?
a) Is Michael Israeli or Palestinian?
b) Is he Muslim, Christian or Jewish?
c) Who does he live with?
d) Where is his father?
e) Why are Palestinian families separated?
a) Is Gul Israeli or Palestinian?
b) Why does he like living in Jerusalem?
c) Gul’s mother doesn’t want him to join the army. Why not?
d) What does his sister think of the occupation (of Palestinian land by Israel)?