Video: The Struggle for Palestine

Barnard College, Spring 2009

The Struggle for Palestine game was created to offer students an insight into the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the period of the British Mandate in Palestine, and especially in the 1930s. In the Spring 2009 pilot (shown here) students were able to enter the universe of life in Palestine before 1948, when so much of the conflict was determined, and to learn about the positions of the Arabs of Palestine and the Zionists at the time. The game was based around the work of the Palestine Royal Commission (also known as the Peel Commission) which arrived in Jerusalem in 1936 to try and determine the causes of conflict and make recommendations for the future. Most students in the game took on positions and personalities that clashed with their backgrounds, their world views and narratives of the conflict. Nevertheless, the students dove into their tasks because the game gave them the opportunity to by pass the traditional debating style and to focus intently on understanding the world that the Jews and Arabs inhabited at the time, to hear how the parties themselves interpreted the conflict, and to immerse themselves in the details of life on the ground. Click here for additional information about the "Difficult Dialogues" Initiative at Barnard.