Links for Learning
Curriculum Connections for High School Teachers and Students
This months Links for Learners will support high
school curriculum in:
World history/Current eventsMiddle East
timelines and maps
Christian lifestylesforgiveness; brotherhood
Governmentthe role of international
Finding Links for Discussion Group Leaders and Participants
Look for connections for use in programs outside the classroom,
Parish sacramental preparation programs and
CCD classes; young adult discussion programs; seasonal discussion
groups; RCIA programs.
Parents will also find this material useful
in initiating discussion around the dinner table, in home
study, at family activities.
Understanding Basic Terms in This Months Article
Look for the key words and terms below as you read the article.
Definitions or explanations can be researched from the article
itself or from the resource materials cited throughout the
Links for Learners. You can also find a list of terms on the
glossary page of AmericanCatholicYouth.org.
The history of the Middle East spans thousands of years,
from biblical times to the present. Timelines can provide
a historical overview. As you review the timelines, look for
events that are significant to the current conflict between
Israel and Palestine.
- The UK's Guardian online news site outlines key
events in Middle East conflicts. The Guardian
also has a brief
history focusing on the Arab-Israeli situation.
- Thinkquest presents a thorough timeline
of history in the Middle East.
- The MidEast Web offers a detailed
timeline of the Middle East's Israel-Palestine conflict.
- United Nations Resolution
242 in 1967 has been a key discussion point in the ongoing
- The Guardian lists a thorough glossary
of terms for the Middle East.
A careful reading of the timelines will reveal that 13almost
allof the present Middle Eastern nations, including
Israel, are relatively new, having gained their independence
only in the years between 1922 and 1971. To gain familiarity
with these often-changing national boundaries, you may find
helpful several map sites:
From the Nations in Conflict
For a snapshot look at how the present leaders of Israel
and Palestine think, read Ariel Sharon's recent speech
to the Israeli people. Compare this to statements
made by Yassar Arafat and other Arab leaders at a March 2001
Terror is a constant in the Middle East. How, and why, do
the Israeli and Palestinian peoples live with daily conflict,
even the threat of death? To capture a feeling for their lives,
read and compare a resident's
account of daily life in Palestine with a visitor's
account of a recent trip to Israel. Do the accounts have
anything in common? What do the authors reveal about their
perceptions of the "other side"? Frustration, resentment,
anger, rageall fuel both military aggression and fanaticism.
Jewish and Palestinian people both want to have a homeland
where their right ot exist is acknowledged by their neighbors,
where they have freedom of religion and where they can raise
their families in peace. Terror from either side will destroy
those hopes and, in the long term, fail to bring peace to
either Jews or Palestinians.
In his World Day of Peace message for January 1, 2002, Pope
John Paul II pleaded for a negotiated solution to the festering
Arab-Israeli conflict: "The rights and demands of each
party can be taken into proper account and balanced in an
equitable way, if and when there is a will to let justice
and reconciliation prevail. Once more, I urge the beloved
peoples of the Holy Land to work for a new era of mutual respect
and contructive accord."
Radical Muslims view the United States as a "failed Christian
nation," pointing to American materialism and pornography,
for example. Should we not be challenged to reflect on our
own shortcomings? Can we find opportunities to be stronger
witnesses of faith and morality to others who do not share
To learn more about life in the Middle East, see Interlink
Books. Their Middle East Collection features novels written
by authors native to various countries in that region. For
an account of Jewish refugees searching for a homeland after
the Holocaust of World War II, see Leon Uris's novel Exodus.
From the International Community
Patriarch Michel Sabbah, the focus of this month's article,
sees his role as one who brings peace to the Middle East by
prayerfully telling the truth. He urges a return to the national
borders of 1967 and compliance with international law.
International law is considered by many to be the most effective
way to bring an equitable peace to the Middle East as well
as to other war-torn areas of our world. International justice
will replace the thirst for revenge. Pope John Paul II recently
called for a "...return to the negotiating table on an equal
footing, with due respect for international law." The Holy
Land, revered by all the descendents of Abraham (Christians,
Jews and Muslims alike), must be a symbol of peace, a sign
of interfaith respect and brotherhood, not a continuing source
of violence. The pope calls for Jerusalem to be "a City of
Peace for all peoples."
Numerous religious and nondenominational organizations exist
to promote justice and peace:
- The United Nations administers international
law and justice through several courts and tribunals,
gradually bringing about a more just international order.
The UN has played a major role in making world leaders accountable
for crimes of war and crimes against humanity.
- The United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on the Middle
East situation, the "Resolution
on the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis." In it the American
bishops call for an end to the cycle of violence, stating,
"The only acceptable option is an end to the violence, respect
for the basic human rights of all, and a return to the path
- The U. S.
Committee for Refugees offers insightful documentation
on repatriation for refugees and reconciliation as a solution
for hatred and war. Any peace, the group believes, that
is dependent on "artificial separation of antagonists" will
not result in reconciliation. The U. S. Catholic Bishops
echo this theme in their November 2000 statement "Returning
to the Path of Peace in the Middle East." "Muslims,
Jews and Christians, Palestinians and Israelis cannot separate
themselves into walled enclaves; they must find ways to
live together, as equals and in dignity." Nor can reconciliation
be imposed. Reconciliation is a process.
- Pax Christi International,
of which Patriarch Sabbah is president, works with the United
Nations and other world and national groups to bring about
peace in troubled areas around the globe.
- The Congregations of Holy Cross created the Holy
Cross International Justice Office to promote world
justice. Here you'll find the summary document "Twelve
Primary Themes from Catholic Social Teaching."
- Amnesty International
has issued a number of statements
on the Middle East situation. Out of concern for international
human rights and humanitarian law, they are calling for
amendments to the "Arab Convention for the Suppression of
Terrorism" issued by the League of the Arab States.
- The Centre for the
Study of Violence and Reconciliation, based in South
Africa, fosters a peaceful and fundamental transformation
in that part of the world.
- The Coalition for International
Justice has worked to bring to justice those responsible
for the recent genocide atrocities in Rwanda.
- The Fellowship of Reconciliation
and the International Fellowship
of Reconciliation both work for justice and peace.
Some of these groups welcome members and volunteer workers,
and several offer internships for individuals interested in
working for justice and peace.