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Palestine Speaks: Narratives of Life Under Occupation Curriculum

In Palestine Speaks, people from the West Bank and Gaza describe how their lives have been shaped by the longstanding conflict between  Israel and Palestine. This accompanying  curriculum creates a flexible unit of study that allows students and teachers an opportunity to critically and creatively explore the day-to-day realities of Palestinians living under occupation, including the oft-ignored violations of human rights that occur daily. Students will  use the skills of oral history, including empathy and inquiry, to explore the following questions:

  • How does my identity impact how I experience the world, and how do I safely engage with personal bias and multiple perspectives?
  • How does the media support or perpetuate a ‘single story’ about people, events, and conflicts, and what factors determine what stories get told and which do not?

Grades: Flexible and adaptable for middle school and high school.

Time Needed: Entire curriculum covers approximately 2 weeks of class time. However, each lesson can be taught separately. 


  • Students will  explore their social and cultural identities– how they impact their own experiences and the experiences of others.
  • Students will critically examine how  power structures create and reinforce dominant narratives through media, culture, religion, politics, and their own lives and communities.
  • Students will explore and analyze recent U.S. civil rights abuses, and think critically about how power and inequality in the United States relate to power and inequality in Palestine.
Palestine Speaks lesson plans

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Palestine Speaks demonstrates that nothing is more eloquent than the voices of those who endure and try valiantly to survive. Nothing is more important for us than to listen to them carefully, to grasp their suffering, to learn from their testimonies about them and about ourselves, and to use this understanding to bring their tragedy to an end.

Noam Chomsky
author and professor at MIT

About the Oral Histories

Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has been one of the world’s most widely reported yet least understood human rights crises for over four decades. In this oral history collection, men and women from Palestine—including a fisherman, a settlement administrator, and a marathon runner—describe in their own words how their lives have been shaped by the historic crisis. These stories illuminate the oft-ignored violations of human rights that occur daily in occupied Palestine.

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