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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 11:39 GMT
School Day 24: Jerusalem-Ramallah
Composite image of students in Jerusalem and Ramallah

The BBC's Outlook programme hosted a link-up between Palestinian and Israeli students.

Question from Boaz, Charles E Smith High School of the Arts, Jerusalem

I've never myself met a Palestinian kid and I'd like to know do you do the same things as we do? Do you go out on Friday nights? What is there to do in Palestine and Ramallah?

Semma, The Friends Boys School, Ramallah: We can go to cafes but the difference is that we're always worried that a tank will pop out or a bunch of soldiers will come and start shooting and we'll get injured. One of my fellow Palestinian classmates was supposed to join us today but couldn't as he was shot.

So you could say that we could go to restaurants, we could hang out, but we always have this big weight on our shoulders. We're never safe. We're children living in fear. We're children living in oppression. It's horrible but we have to try to make the best of it.

Question from presenter Fred Dove

Would it be better if you could meet each other?

Mohammed, The Friends Boys School, Ramallah: I don't think so. I've built an image of Israelis. Israeli kids are not terrorists but... they are our enemies right now.

Mazen, The Friends Boys School, Ramallah: I'm not really interested in meeting any Israelis right now because they are the people who are occupying our country. A lot of people who are Palestinian can't go to Jaffa, Haifa because they're living there. Also I think that all Israelis are the same. If you're 16 now then in two years time you'll be joining the army, stopping us at checkpoints, maybe shooting us, killing some Palestinians.

Question from presenter Fred Dove

Liron, Ziv and Boaz - do you consider yourself "enemies"?

Boaz, Charles E Smith High School of the Arts, Jerusalem: No. No. What I do feel is that yes there is anger on both sides and images. I don't consider them my enemies and I don't want to be considered an enemy but I can definitely see where they're coming from when they're making that statement.

Question from presenter Fred Dove

Can you imagine living in peace?

Map showing Ramallah and Jerusalem
Ziv, Charles E Smith High School of the Arts, Jerusalem: As it is now, peace seems very far away. As long as the two sides won't compromise, there's not going to be any peace. It's a terrible situation of escalation. One side blows up a bus. The other side blows up a house. And it's just a circle of death and there are many hopes of peace... everyone - no matter what side they take - wants peace. But if Palestine and Israel won't compromise... then the situation is actually going to remain the same.

Mazen, The Friends Boys School, Ramallah: We Palestinians agree to make peace with Israelis and in a way forget about a big part of their land... but a fair peace, an equal peace.

Question from presenter Fred Dove

When you lived abroad how did you view what was happening at home?

Liron, Charles E Smith High School of the Arts, Jerusalem: Of course I was tackled many times... especially in Qatar I had to defend my country a lot. It was extremely difficult. However in some cases people did try to understand my point of view. But pushing that aside I did have a wonderful experience there understanding their beliefs too. In some cases people didn't understand my views and didn't accept them but in some cases I had wonderful conversations about the conflict.

Point made by Semma, The Friends Boys School, Ramallah

I'd just like to say a few things before we continue. We have five million refugees outside Palestine who can't come back home. They just can't. I've always lived in Palestine. This is where I am proud to be raised. But I have been to the States and the discussions that Liron was talking about I had many of them but mine were more prejudiced because, because of the media I am viewed as a terrorist. And so she might have found some understanding from Qatar which is a Muslim country and thus viewing it in a similar way.

When I travel outside Palestine, I am viewed as a terrorist. I am stopped and searched. My brother is taken to a separate room. Most youths of our age must be taken to a separate room to be stripped to make sure they haven't got anything on them. I'm pretty sure that none of you have to go through that when you travel.

Question from presenter Fred Dove

What's the conflict about?

Semma, The Friends Boys School, Ramallah: From my perspective it is about land, because if you want to talk about religion as in Jews and Muslims, Islam says that we should respect our fellow people. That's what Islam states, so it's not a conflict of religion, it's a conflict of land.

Liron, Charles E Smith High School of the Arts, Jerusalem: I also feel it's a conflict of land, definitely of land. I'd like to say that Israel never belonged to anyone specifically, people occupied the area but there was no government. It was never properly considered somebody's land. I know that there were Arabs and Palestinians living here before but then again Jews have always thought that Israel was ours historically and religiously because we've been occupying this area for thousands of years.

Question from presenter Fred Dove

What are the solutions?

Mazen, The Friends Boys School, Ramallah: To us, to the Palestinians, we either live an equal life with equal peace and equal land. Also we're not willing to keep our Palestinian refugees living out of Palestine and we're not willing to give the Israelis all our Palestinian land. We want to live in peace but equal peace.

Boaz, Charles E Smith High School of the Arts, Jerusalem: After what the guys in Ramallah said I sort of feel that it is impossible for both people to live in a single state. So in order to have truly equal peace it's going to have to come in two countries, because the fact is Israel is a state meant for Jews... but I don't know how to cut Israel a little bit.


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