Introduction and Overview
Students are introduced to the main debate that they will investigate:
Interpretation 1: Israel was acting defensively. This was a pre-emptive strike against Arab armies who were about to invade her. Throughout the conflict Israel acted with admirable restraint.
Interpretation 2: Israel was acting aggressively. She deliberately misread the situation to justify launching a war of conquest and conducted her campaign mercilessly.
Interpretation 3: The war was the result of misunderstandings on both sides. The Arabs made aggressive statements against Israel, but this was just because it was expected, not because there was any real plan to attack Israel. However, Israel failed to realise this so both sides ended up in a war they did not want.
Students use their completed timelines to get into role as different characters from different countries and reach an independent judgement about which of the three key interpretations listed at the outset is the most convincing. They are then given guidance on how to construct a written essay answering the central question. There are sample questions and answers provided for teacher reference.