Thursday, June 13, 2002 Tamuz 3, 5762 Israel Time:  08:49 (GMT+3)
People and Politics
Out of the mouths of babes and cosmetics tycoons
By Akiva Eldar
Sharon: Nose to Mars
 
Arafat: Nose to Russia
 

On Tuesday morning, while Israeli tanks returned to roam the streets outside their school, the 10th graders at the Terra Sancta high school in Bethlehem crowded into their computer room. At the same time, a few dozen kilometers south, and half a day before the next routine terror attack, the 10th graders at the Kiryat Gat Shalon school gathered around their computers.

Until the intifada broke out these teens, like others at 40 schools on both sides of the Green line, used to meet face to face in a dialogue program run by IPCRI, the Israel-Palestinian Center for Research and Information. While their parents and brothers talk to each other with guns, these 16-year-olds have to make do with virtual communication, through a special web site that IPCRI made especially for them. Dr. Gershon Baskin, who runs the center in partnership with Dr. Zakariya al-Qaq, says that despite current events, there are requests from more schools to join the project.

Here's some of the feelings, hope and wisdom of some young Palestinians from Bethlehem and some young Israelis from Kiryat Gat, taken straight down from their chat site at (www.ipcri.org) with only minor corrections for spelling and grammar, and some cuts for space.

Pal: So sad ... summer is coming without anywhere to go or to have fun, the siege is very hard

Isr: We sorry about your life in the siege but we must do that to prevent terrorists from doing terror acts

Pal: We're always afraid to be in streets because it might be an invasion anytime without any caution

Isr: If you stop the terrorists there will be no "invasions"

Pal: I think u don't know the meaning of the siege?

Isr: I sorry that your life like this but we are afraid too to go out

Pal: It's a very hard life, because with the siege we have exams

Pal: If you haven't occupied us we will not do anything

Isr: So if you protest against the terrorists together with us we will stop them

Isr: We tried to give you control... and you sent more terrorist

Pal: OK I understand. But all your problems you made it by yourself

Pal: If there is no occupation there won't be any fighting between us

Pal: Listen.... u r the problem and the solution

Isr: The best way is to give the Palestinians a country that is under UN control but you must stop the terrorists and start talking to us

Isr: I don't agree, we tried that, there was no occupation but there still were fighting

Pal: Achieve our freedom to achieve your safety

Isr: But you are part in all of this

Isr: We are not the problem. You can't/don't want to stop the terrorists so we must take business in our own hands

Pal: You are talking about terrorist ask your self who started it. Your leader Sharon enter to the Aqsa mosque in the begining

Pal: Everybody suffers from terror

Isr: You started it by blowing buses and shops

Isr: Yeah. Let us return back to our selves before getting into politics

Isr: With all the war, the money doesn't go the places needed. Did you know that Israel has 250,000 unemployed?

Pal: But all of us are unemployed

Pal: It s too bad, we are always frightened from the siege

Isr: So you get some shooting. If you stay in your homes nobody will get hurt. But us... we not safe in our own house

Isr: Don't you think you have some responsibility for the siege?

Pal: So what do your brother and sister do in the IDF have they participated in the last invasions

Isr: When there will be no terror there will not be any siege

Pal: I said that we both are suffering and we should know that violence bring violence too

Pal: For me now about 2 years we don't go swimming because of the situation we are facing now so because my father didn't work for 5 months

Pal: How many Israeli people died in the Intifada till now, and how many Palestinian innocent people died

Isr: Well I say about 10 innocent people

Pal: We can say that the two sides are responsible for the situation we are facing

Pal: And we are not interested in differences we are interested in exchanging points of view on how to achieve peace

Isr: My brother and my sister defend us from terrorists only, and in their own ways

Pal: Why don't we live in peace?

Pal: Do we the Palestinians siege your country

Isr: We want to live in peace but you don't allow us to do it...

Isr: Because in order to change the situation your side must stop the terror

Pal: The occupation came first not the resistance

Pal: What we do is terror?

Isr: Our side??? our side??? Your side is the place that terrorists coming from

Pal: Hi don't forget that when someone annoy the bear the bear will crash him and so Sharon did and we'll continue our resistance if you continue killing us lead do you understand this speech

Isr: Are you calling Sharon a bear?? He more like a whale

Isr: That depends in the point of views

Pal: Peace is necessary for both peoples to achieve peace

Isr: But Arafat is a liar!! He doesn't do anything to stop terror. What about the minister Zeevi murderers? They just got away

Pal: But our side want to live in peace with your side

Isr: We need peace but I don't think that with Arafat we can do it because he is a liar

Isr: Look I agree that Sharon and Arafat are not the best... I mean they both like to see victory in all cost. But forget the leaders... not the leaders do peace. The people do peace

Pal: I think that Sharon is the biggest liar ever, remember Oslo!!!!

Isr: If Arafat was Pinocchio his nose would reach to Russia

Pal: If Sharon was Pinocchio his nose would reach Mars

Pal: Arafat and Sharon are not the problem the problem is your occupation

Isr: OK but still, when we go easy on you, it blows in our face

Isr: What to you think is the solution?

Pal: To have 2 states with 2 people living together in peace

Pal: WITHOUT ENDING OF THE SITUATION, WITHOUT PEACE, THERE WILL BE NO SECURITY

Isr: We must overcome the controversies, despite the pain...

Pal: WE ALL WANT PEACE

Isr: It doesn't seems from all your protests

Pal: As I have seen your argue you don't surrender but you continue convincing the other side of your point of view

Isr: SO TO REACH IT YOU MUST STOP THE TERROR

Pal: You ARE TALKING ABOUT TERROR AND I AM TALKING ABOUT SITUATION WHICH COMES FIRST

Pal: WHY DO YOU ALWAYS ASK ME ABOUT OUR TERROR

Isr: I don't agree. You must stop terror first. It's the only obstacles from achieving peace

Pal: Really I want to tell you that I dream to live in peace and to have an Israeli girl friend and live beside the sea because I like swimming.

Isr: Our sea is dirty

Pal: We don't have any relation with them and we want peace and to have business with you so to live in prosperity

Pal: Understand, many Palestinians have relation with Jews, A.'s father have many Jews customers, he is a mechanist and he is one of the Force-17

Isr: Well I hope so too. We don't want to be like Kosovo. The last thing that I want is to see NATO F-15 in the sky

Pal: Well I live in Bethlehem, I suggest to visit my web site I saw yours and it is really nice for the situation I think that we are blocked we are in the middle of a closed circle of starting and ending terror however I believe that my people have the right of living in a free country without occupation what do you think?

Isr: I think you have every right to claim freedom and I do understand you but I am not in your place, and for once I wish to be in order to really understand what you r going through

Isr: Hope=peace=future=us

Pal: well I am really glad that we had this opportunity to work out together WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN PEACE

Yesterday morning, IDF soldiers broke into the Ramallah house where Nidal Jiossy, the Palestinian director of the IPCRI education project lives, evicting all the residents. Only after Baskin intervened with the senior officer on the ground, was Jiossy allowed back into his house. He found a mess. He said there were also signs someone used the shower.