Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Charles Kinney, Jr.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is a long battle between two people who are related. In this lesson, you will learn about the history of war that seems to have no end.

A Long History

Flag of Palestine
Palestine flag
Flag of Israel
Flag of Israel

Israel is a mostly Jewish country in the Middle East, while Palestine is a mostly Muslim territory controlled by Israel. At one time in history, these two people were related. Even today, Hebrew, the language of Israel, and Arabic, the language of Palestine, have many similarities. You can count in Hebrew, and Arabic people will likely understand you.

So what happened to create this long-standing divide among Israelis and Palestinians? Well, thousands of years ago, the Jews lived as slaves, and when they were finally set free, they settled in what today is Israel. Islam (the name of the Muslim religion) was born around 622 C.E., and the Muslims controlled the land known as Palestine. Since then, many nations have fought over and controlled this land.

Around 1920, the British took over the land. During World War II, the German Nazi soldiers, who hated Jewish people, killed approximately six millions Jews during what is known as the Holocaust. The world realized the Jews needed a new home. Great Britain was very weak after World War II and decided to split the country, which was known as Palestine, between the Jews and the Muslims.

Israel with the Gaza Strip to the left and the West Bank to the right
Israel and Palestine

This split made no one happy. In 1948-1949, after the British left, the Israelis (Jewish) and the Palestinians (Muslim), with support from other Arabs, fought a war. The Israelis won, but there was no peace. In 1967, Israel and the Arabs fought ANOTHER war, and Israel found itself now in control of the Gaza Strip (a very small piece of land near Egypt) and the West Bank of the Jordan River, the main pieces of land of the Palestinians. In 1973, everyone fought yet ANOTHER war, and while Israel nearly lost, they fought back and not only won the war but took more land from the Arabs. Today, the Israelis control nearly all of the much larger section of the land.

Friends and Enemies

Many other countries have gotten involved in the modern-day conflict. The United States has usually gone to the side of the Israelis. At first, the Russians were on the side of the Israelis but have usually gone to the side of the Palestinians. Arabs have said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is their biggest problem with the the United States. Europeans are in the middle. Nearly everyone is tired and wants the conflict to end.

As you can see, it is a big mess!

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