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Last Updated: Friday June 25 2004 15:23 GMT

The barrier goes through my garden

Mike is a Palestinian boy who lives in Bethlehem. He had Israeli friends until Israel's barrier was built right through his garden.

Israelis say the barrier, a huge fence and wall, is to protect them from suicide bombers.

Palestinians are angry as they say it is dividing communities and stopping people moving about the area.

Have the Israeli Army ever come to your house?

They came into our house in the middle of the night, they put us all in one small room and they put cameras in it and we were scared. Everyone was scared, even the older people.

We were asleep and they knocked on the door very loudly and they made us get up and put us in a small room. I was very shocked.

How has the barrier changed your life?

When the wall was built we were deprived of everything, we can't go out with our friends, we were no longer able to see our friends in Israel.

The Israelis uprooted our trees. Every time one goes out of the house they tell you to go back inside.

The Israelis say the barrier is to protect them from suicide bombers.

I believe their main aim is to take more of our land. No suicide bomber is able to cross here without getting shot by the Israelis.

What do you think about suicide bombers?

I think it's wrong because there are sometimes Arabs amongst the victims. This means we become our own enemy.

And suicide bombers kill innocents. Sometimes there are Israelis who are on our side - they will no longer support us.

What's life like in Bethlehem?

It has become very crowded for the Palestinians in Bethlehem. Skirmishes break out due to lack of space.

Are you scared?

Not everyday. When I go to school, they don't do anything to me. But if I want to move about around here I do get scared.

Do you know any Israeli kids?

My best friend, Rafi - we used to play football everyday. We used to see each other everyday but the wall has prevented us from seeing each other.

What do you think will happen in the future?

There won't be any peace between us, everything will be destroyed. The Palestinians want peace but I believe the Israelis want to destroy us.

Do Palestinians want peace?

Not all of them. Suicide bombers want a war but others want peace.

Some Palestinian kids throw stones at the Israeli army - do you join in?

No, I think it's wrong. The consequences are too severe. One shot and you're dead. You've lost everything. What's a stone going to do?

Do you want peace?


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