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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December, 2003, 00:48 GMT
Letters home: Palestinian nurse
BBC World Service's World Today programme is looking at the end of year letters of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary events in 2003.

2003 saw the continued building by Israel of the controversial barrier in the West Bank. This is the letter from Linda Jaraiseh, a Palestinian nurse working in Bait Sahour, near Bethlehem.

Like many others, this year I found that the wall being built by the Israeli Government is going to change my life forever - and not in a good way.

The wall. It's only a word when you say it, but it's a disaster when you think about it - because it means making a big prison to contain us as Palestinians living on the land.

We as a Palestinian family dreamed about having our own house and we got it - but unfortunately they wanted to steal it by putting it inside that prison.

That affects all of us, children, adults and old people. It will stop childhood, make the adults depressed, as well as making life hopeless in the old people's opinion.

My children have been through hard times since they lost their father in a tragic accident, and just as they were trying to come to terms with the events and live in peace, a nightmare appeared in our life which they can't deal with. They can't move freely, they need permission.

Basil is my youngest son. He's nine-years-old in age but about 50 in mind. He realises what big troubles he will face if the wall becomes a reality.

He has lots of friends and relatives who live far away. So, if there is a wall, he is not going to visit them and live his childhood in peace like them.

The most important point is the school. This is the only right still given to our children, because Israel has taken the other choices away which children in the rest of the world have a right to.

The wall is also affecting me as an adult because I'm not going to live as I used to live.

Going to work, visiting my family and also feeling free to move inside my town has become difficult since I now have to get a permission to do that.

My work is only five minutes away from my house. I'm depressed because there will be many questions my children will ask me, and I'm not going to be able to answer them because I myself have no answers.

They will need my support to deal with the new situation - but I'm afraid I won't be able to give it because I need that support from others myself.

How do we celebrate without being with the people we love?
Linda Jaraiseh
My parents are old and they can't go outside the home which means that I have to visit them. But when the wall is completed and becomes a reality, I'll stop visiting them, and they won't be able to come to see me.

This affects me and them and makes life hopeless in their opinion because it means we live in the same city but can't be together.

We thought that peace had finally arrived and we were going to live in peace since Palestine is the land of peace, the land of Jesus, who taught us how to love and forgive.

But how can we forgive them when they forbid us to celebrate Christmas - although we deserve to do so since we are the owners of this land.

How do we celebrate without being with the people we love - especially family, relatives and even friends.

We have no peace, no safety - only occupation to live with. How can we live like this?

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Linda Jaraiseh
"My youngest son is nine years old in age but about 50 in mind"


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