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Geography Education
Geography Education
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography students and teachers. http://geographyeducation.org
Curated by Seth Dixon
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The Conflict Zone

The Conflict Zone | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In a new series of four eight-minute videos, 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."

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Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, Middle East.

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To Achieve Mideast Peace, Suspend Disbelief

To Achieve Mideast Peace, Suspend Disbelief | Geography Education | Scoop.it
In the search for Middle East peace, the most fundamental problem is the problem of disbelief.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Wouldn't you like to read the bullet points that accompany this graphic?  This article written by a peace negotiator is a good "bi-partisan" approach to understanding what would be needed to actually achieve peace in the Middle East.  The first step, is for both sides to believe that it can actually be achieved.  Filling in a blank diagram such as this would be a great way to get students seeing the same dispute from multiple perspectives.   


Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political

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Jessica Martel's curator insight, April 4, 2013 3:05 PM

This article explains the conflicts that are such a problem within the country of Israel, the conflict of religion and space. The Palestinians believe that they belong in the area, where the land was given to the Jewish people. These people are at war each day because they are fighting to hold on to a certain piece of land to claim for their own religion, yet they still incorrectly get blended together as one large group of people who are all the same due to the area they live.

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U.N. approves Palestinian 'observer state' bid

U.N. approves Palestinian 'observer state' bid | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The United Nations General Assembly approved an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.


While this may be primarily symbolic, it is still a highly significant move on the part of the United Nations.  65 years ago, the United Nations called for a two-state system.  This map of the vote that I found on Facebook (can't find another source as of yet) is quite intriguing. 

 

Questions to Ponder: Why might a country choose to abstain?  Can you think of a specific reason why a particular country abstained?  With this new geopolitical fact, how will Israel and Palestine move forward?   

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Seth Dixon's comment, November 30, 2012 4:32 AM
I found this comment from Shaul Cohen, a Jewish Geography Professor who lived in Israel and served in the IDF: "Sixty-five years ago today the United Nations voted in favor of an independent Israel, a vote that was opposed by Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. That opposition was a mistake, and they also were voting against the creation of a Palestinian state. Today the United Nations moved one step closer to the establishment of that Palestinian state, a move that was opposed by Israel and the United States. That opposition was a mistake.
In the intervening decades many lives have been lost, many families have been shattered, and the course of two nations has been warped by violence and hostility. Unfortunately, there are still too many people on each side that refuse to recognize the basic rights and fundamental humanity of the other community, and see the situation as a zero-sum contest. Indeed, there are those that celebrate when the other loses even more so than working toward realizing their own goals. This is a tragedy, and the guilt lies with the leadership on both sides, but also with those who justify their actions on fear and hatred… something that is too easily mobilized and manipulated by those opposed to compromise.
It’s way past time for Israelis to recognize that when Palestinians lose, they themselves lose, and for Palestinians to recognize that when Israelis lose, they too lose. The communities are too bound up with one another to suffer in isolation. In the long run Israel will not have what it wants before there is a Palestinian state, and Palestinians will not have their state so long as they contemplate war against Israel. The way forward, despite it all, remains two states for two nations, a configuration that has broad endorsement and a simple logic. ANYONE WHO ADVOCATES ON BEHALF OF PALESTINIANS MUST ALSO BE A SUPPORTER OF A SECURE ISRAEL; AND ANYONE WHO ADVOCATES ON BEHALF OF ISRAEL HAS TO SUPPORT AN INDEPENDENT AND VIABLE PALESTINIAN STATE. Anything else is a recipe for continued failure and bloodshed, and there’s been far too much of that already. Today is less a day for celebration than a day for reflection, and even more for dedication to a just and lasting peace. All the rest is just vanity…."
Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 31, 2013 7:25 AM

One year ago, the U.N. status regarding Palestine was upgraded from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state".  While Palestinians believe that this is a major push for peace and for Palestinian independence, other countries believe that the change will not do anything for Palestine.

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Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

With a simple class hashtag (e.g.-#geog400ric) you can create a backchannel for student to collaborate outside the classroom walls. 

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Gaza-Israel crisis 2012: every verified incident mapped

Gaza-Israel crisis 2012: every verified incident mapped | Geography Education | Scoop.it

This map shows each verified incident of violence in Gaza and Israel since last week's assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed al-Jabari.  Geospatial technologies combined with social media are changing how we learn about (and wage) wars. 

 

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The Archipelago of Eastern Palestine

The Archipelago of Eastern Palestine | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The shape of a state can greatly impact the political cohesion of a country as well as it's economic viability.  While this is obviously a fictitious map, it draws our attention to the logistic difficulties that confront Palestine with the Israelis controlling crucial transportation access points and corridors.   


Questions to Ponder:  How is this a 'persuasive map?' What are some of the geographic impacts of this fragmentation on Palestine? For Israel?

 

Tags: cartography, MiddleEast, political, states, territoriality, unit 4 political.

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Melissa Burr's comment, October 10, 2012 7:13 AM
This map is persuasive because it does not show the usual Palestine. This map is fragmented and the geographic impacts it shows are the routes taken in at leisure for maritime activity and also shows the urban and popluated areas in the past and how how the sraelites impact those areas.
Matthew Jones's comment, October 10, 2012 7:16 AM
The reason this is a persuasive map in my opinion is that this map does a very good job of allowing the reader to understand the focus in which it intends to present. information key which it offers is crucial to the map b/ it help the reader better understand and analyze this map in its entirety. as far As the second question unfortunately I am not very knowledgeable as far as the impact his map as on palestiine or isreal.
Jesse Gauthier's comment, October 10, 2012 8:24 AM
This map is unique and not typical. The way that Palestine's land is severed and each transportation access point is clearly shown and highlighted, makes this map's data very persuasive and impactful. This map examines the Israelis' control of the land.
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Infographic: Palestinian homes demolished

Infographic: Palestinian homes demolished | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Report by an Israeli non-governmental organisation says 2011 was a record year for Palestinian displacement.

 

This infographic comes from the group Visualizing Palestine. This corresponds with the UN's recent statement that Gaza 'will not be liveable by 2020' given Israeli policies.

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Nic Hardisty's comment, September 4, 2012 9:16 AM
What a powerful infographic. To think that the international community (in large part) has idly watched 160,000 Palestinians become homeless, with little more than a few harsh words, is staggering. While these displacement policies are not exclusive to Israel, Israel does stand as the most public modern example of this. This problem transcends race, ethnicity, culture, or religion- it is simply one group dominating and subjugating another, and these actions should be recognized and condemned by global community.
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Interactive map of Palestine villages destroyed in Nakba

Interactive map of Palestine villages destroyed in Nakba | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Electronic Intifada has produced this interactive map that allows you to see information about any of the more than 400 Palestinian cities, towns and villages depopulated and destroyed during the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by...

 

Admittedly, this is a source of information has a strong political agenda and the wording of the title might make some bristle.  This is a good way to show how geospatial information can be used by non-state agents to pursuade viewers to their ideological position.  Nabka (the day of catastrophe) is generally commemorated on May 15th, to remember the Palestinian villages that were depopulated or destroyed in 1948 after the creation of the state of Israel.   

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NYTimes Video: Linking Gaza to the Outside World

NYTimes Video: Linking Gaza to the Outside World | Geography Education | Scoop.it
A look inside the controversial underground tunnels that link Egypt and the Gaza Strip, where smugglers funnel fuel, food, and potentially weapons into the isolated territory.

 

This video is a look inside the some of the hundreds of tunnels that are used to smuggle goods into Gaza that have become more intensely used since the blockade on goods that went into effect in 2007 when Hamas came to power.  Also, members of the Israeli military demonstrate the evidence they have that these tunnels are being used to bring weapons. 

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Palestine is but one of many aspiring to the United Nations

Palestine is but one of many aspiring to the United Nations | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Admission to the General Assembly of the UN is not open to all. The Palestinian Territories are just one of several regions without a seat at the world's top table.

 

Palestine's bid for statehood and international recognition is making the political geography definition for state all the more relevant?  What is a state and what is not?  What function does UN membership play in the process of statehood and sovereignty?

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European women marry, give hope to Samaritans

European women marry, give hope to Samaritans | Geography Education | Scoop.it
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Some folk cultures, such as the Samaritans, have historically intermarried and have been plagued by genetic diseases.  Recently, they have turned to global solutions to their local demographic woes.  "Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community."  


Tagsfolk culture, gender, population, Russia, religion, culture,
Middle East


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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 3:21 PM

I know a man who is Indian, and his grandparents came from India.  He tells me that their people do not formally or very much at all approve of interbreeding between their people and other cultures.  He says Indians stick with Indians, and that's how it's supposed to be.  I think in the future that the genetic diseases will be abolished by selective characteristic modification through reproductive alteration using technology- I think DNA modification will become a popular trick in both reproduction and everyday life that will allow for the end of illness.  This would allow people to marry into other cultures without fear of genetic complications, but they would still have that cultural barrier my Indian acquaintence referred to.  That same dude has some funny insight about Italians and other cultures, and noted that Italian-Americans are not really Italian at all.  We had a couple of interesting discussions regarding different cultures, and he told me that he is 100% Indian.  I don't mean to seem degrading AT ALL but the first thing that popped into my head was how people breed dogs to be purebreds, which are coveted and expensive, as well as pure.  I'm a blend of many different nationalities, and I'm proud of it... The universe is a blend of many nationalities, and I ever-ponder my connection with the Universe, and it's nice to know that I have a commonality with the Universe!

Cam E's curator insight, February 18, 9:00 AM

It's a very interesting and sad phenomenon when groups that thrived in the past begin to dwindle to a point where the acts of individuals can decide the entire future of the demographic. It brings in questions of tradition and if those people have a duty to propagate their genes to keep their group alive. I can only imagine how tense the environment could be when single accidents or deaths could mean the end of your people.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 9:14 AM

This article describes a how the small religious group, the Samaritans, have seen their numbers shrink to unsustainable levels and have been forced to turn outside to find wives. These men are importing brides from places like Ukraine because of a significant gender imbalance and heightened risk of birth defects due to genetic homogenization over the centuries. These circumstances present an fairly unique case of migration, one which should it become a standard practice, could have an effect on the culture of the Samaritan communities.

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Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border

Crowdsourcing an Israeli-Palestinian Border | Geography Education | Scoop.it

A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.


This article from the Atlantic is a great introduction to a mapping tool that puts the user at the virtual negotiation table.  Peace talk proposals often center around the amount of land that Palestinians want and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Israelis want as a part of the state of Israel.  This interactive, titled Is Peace Possible?, allows the user to propose potential land swaps, see the demographic breakdown of West Bank settlements and videos to introduce users to on 4 major issues: borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem. 


Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, mapping

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Israel and Palestine

Watch this Jewish Voice for Peace 6 minute mini-primer about why Israelis and Palestinians are fighting..

Seth Dixon's insight:

This video from the Jewish Voice for Peace has a more politically motivated angle than most of the resources that I post on this site, but I feel that they do justice to both sides as well as the truth.  In a simple way it lays out the roots of many of the problems in the region with historic and geographic perspectives.   

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, borders.

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Seth Dixon's comment, November 29, 2012 6:51 PM
I must admit, I did struggle on whether to post it or not. In the video the use of term 'indigenous people' to refer to the Palestinians bothered me as did a few other references, but I did feel it tried to be accurate even if their political perspective was obvious.
I would most certainly be open to posting something more pro-Israeli since I'm not trying to advocate a particular point or push a perspective, but I did think it was a good, is somewhat flawed resource. It's near impossible to find anything without bias so I decided that sharing some flawed sources is better than not sharing any on a pretty weighty topic.
Dawn Haas Tache's curator insight, January 8, 2013 10:16 AM

This video from the Jewish Voice for Peace has a more politically motivated angle than most of the resources that I post on this site, but I feel that they do justice to both sides as well as the truth.  In a simple way it lays out the roots of many of the problems in the region with historic and geographic perspectives.   

 

Tags: Israel, Palestine, conflict, political, borders.

Maegan Connor's curator insight, December 17, 2013 4:34 PM

This video is a really helpful, simplified explanation of the fighting in Israel that is fiercely complicated and has gone on for decades now with one repressed group repressing another. If I ever need to explain the struggle to students, this video would be an excellent introduction.

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Israel - Gaza conflict

Israel - Gaza conflict | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Israeli airstrikes began November 14, following months of Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.


"Monday, the top leader of Hamas dared Israel to launch a ground invasion of Gaza and dismissed diplomatic efforts to broker a cease-fire in the six-day-old conflict, as the Israeli military conducted a new wave of deadly airstrikes which included a second hit on a 15-story building that houses media outlets."  This photo essay shows 34 powerful images that are emerging from this deadly conflict.  If students need some background to understand who are the major players in this conflict, this glossary should be helpful

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What is in a Name?

What is in a Name? | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Tags: Middle East, political, states, perspective, unit 4 political.

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On Israel's system of segregated roads in the occupied Palestinian territories

On Israel's system of segregated roads in the occupied Palestinian territories | Geography Education | Scoop.it

Tags: MiddleEast, territoriality, transportation, borders, conflict, governance, political, unit 4 political

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Cam E's curator insight, March 4, 8:32 AM

A relatively grim reminder that even things as clear-cut as road systems can be inherently political. This system forces segregation by the law of which roads can be driven on, but it's a good jumping point to remember that even the placement of roads can exclude or include communities. I'm reminded of the proposed idea for a NAFTA superhighway running through Mexico, Canada, and the US. One of the criticisms was that the highway would not provide exits for anywhere but major economics centers, effectively cutting off small towns from the rest of the area.

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Palestinian Village Tries to Protect Landmark

Palestinian Village Tries to Protect Landmark | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Conservation experts say ancient terraces and a Roman-era irrigation system in Battir, the West Bank, are threatened by Israel’s plans to build a section of its security barrier.

 

A site that many consider a cultural landscape worth international efforts to preserve it, are might be threatened by proposals to expand Israel's Barrier Wall.  Culture, politics, landscapes, borders...this topic is full of geographic themes worth having students investigate.  

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We Just Want To Live Here

We Just Want To Live Here | Geography Education | Scoop.it

This book is a compilation of letters exchanged between two 18-year-old girls who live in Jerusalem: one Israeli and the other Palestinian. Having met through a student exchange program, they openly discuss their frustrations with the political situation of 2002, and over time come to appreciate the others cultural and political viewpoints. This is a great cross-cultural interaction as the girls show their misconceptions of the other group, but through open dialogue come to an appreciation for other perspectives. This would be a good project to have student read the book and synthesize the cultural and political elements within them to reinforce the class content with a real-world example.

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Despite Restrictions, Gaza Finds A Way To Build

The Palestinian territory is in the midst of a construction boom, more than three years after a major Israeli assault that left much of the territory in ruins.

 

There has been a formal ban on building materials entering Gaza since 2007 (when Hamas took over the territory) since the Israeli government fears they could be weaponized or aid the military efforts.  Still, if the demand is high enough, some of the supply will still enter as we goods entering Gaza through smuggling tunnels from the Egyptian city of Rafah. 

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Matt Mallinson's comment, October 22, 2012 9:22 AM
I understand the Israeli government fears Gaza could be weaponized or aid military efforts, but these people need to rebuild after the major assault that left it in ruins. If there's been a ban for 5 years though, I doubt much will change.
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Countries that will support Palestine's UN bid for statehood

Countries that will support Palestine's UN bid for statehood | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Imgur is used to share photos with social networks and online communities, and has the funniest pictures from all over the Internet.

 

This map is incredible...it highlights the importance of not just how many supporters you have, but WHICH supporters are in your corner. 

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Kmcordeiro670's comment, February 2, 2012 2:24 PM
This map highlights the complexity of geopolitics in our modern times even further when set along side the current Syrian situation. The Palestinian conflict seems to be more social and political, the Syrian conflict has a much broader scope in terms of resources at risk. Thus if this was asking supporters of the Syrian resistance the giant mass of Russia must be dropped as a supporter, the same of Saudi Arabia. They have a much large stack in Syria remaining tyrannical for economic and regional issues then if Palestine was De-colonized.
Derek Ethier's comment, October 25, 2012 7:46 PM
This fact that this map displays how "Western" nations (NATO, U.N., Australia, etc.) are the only nations to deny the Palestinian bid for statehood shows how divided our world is today. Western nations dominate the world's landscape, though China has gained a great amount of power over the past decade or so. In reality, Palestine probably does deserve statehood. National boundaries should be drawn around ethnic lines. It some cases this is impossible, as in this case. The support Western Europe pledges to Israel on this issue is obvious and this is but another reason why tensions increase between the Middle East and the Western world.
Al Picozzi's curator insight, October 21, 2013 7:57 PM

The map is amazing and so are some of the comments that go along with it.  The countires in grey though I think have been mislabelled.  The US would want a Palesinian state as long as it is not under the control of a terrorist group and one that will acknowledge the the State of Israel has the right to exist.  It is amazing to see that they want the right of statehood but they are unwilling to grant that right to the people of Israel.  Its also amazing to note that many of the countries in green do recognize Israel and its right to exist.  This land has been under the control of many different people over the centuries and borders have been drawn and redrawn over and over.  It is time to sit down, talk like human beings and come to a solution.  Is it going to happen???  Probably not in my lifetime or my kids...history is just repeating itself again!