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Interview: Israeli Sara Dansker and Palestinian Dina Huzary Give Their Views on the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Cities

Morning Edition: April 24, 2002

The Voice of Youth, Part Two



BOB EDWARDS, host:

Two perspectives on the Middle East from Youth Radio. First, 15-year-old Sara Dansker from Efrat, which is about a half-hour from Jerusalem.

SARA DANSKER: About half a year ago, my dad was shot coming home from the airport. He was, I guess you would call it, lightly wounded and he's fine now. And about a month ago, my friend's mother was murdered. It was on her 16th birthday. So many people have been killed, so many people I know. So many people were wounded and no one was doing anything. And you know, I can't understand why the world can't see it as the way it is because you can see that it isn't our fault. It's not natural what we're going through.

And even going to school, which is a 10-minute drive away from my home, we have to go in a bulletproof bus. It makes you feel secure that it's bulletproof, but when you think of it, why do I have to go in a bulletproof bus? You know, that means I can get shot on the way to school.

In the last few weeks, people have stopped their studies to go into the army and help the soldiers in the cities, even when they don't have to. For a long time, people, you know, didn't really want to go into the army and now it's everyone. They really, really want to be part of the army and I think, you know, it doesn't matter to people that they're putting their lives on hold because they want to be part of this so much, you know. They want to feel that they're finally doing something that's protecting themselves. You know, first of all you think, `Am I going to make it to the future?' And I also wonder how is the future going to look at this rate? And are we going into a full war and is everything going to change after this, because, you know, wars always change everything. Or, you know, are we going to make peace soon and then everything will go back to normal and I--you know, things are going crazy because nothing is the way it used to be. And you know, it does make you think, `What am I going to grow up into?'

EDWARDS: Next is 21-year-old Dina Huzary, a recent college graduate who lives only a few miles from Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah. She's a Palestinian Christian.

Ms. DINA HUZARY: The Israeli soldiers came and took our buildings and stayed there as a military base and forced our neighbors to come down and live in our house for three days. It was horrible. They have the guns all the time and it's not even guns, it's machine guns, big guns and they have them pointed into your face so we can't move. Even when we are in one room, we can't talk 'cause they don't understand Arabic mostly, so they don't want us talking. And you never know what's going to happen. It's very hard, especially when one of them--like a soldier my age would go up to my dad or to my uncle and scream at him and force him to do things and he's just so young--he's the one in power. So we were very scared 'cause they're taking men from the age of 14 till 50. Like we're three girls and one brother and my brother is the youngest. He's 15, so whenever they come into our house, we tried to act calmly and let them do whatever they want. They can check the house. They can look and find whatever they want. They could take everything, but you have to act patiently so they won't hurt you.

I haven't seen my friends now since February 26th. They live in Jerusalem and they can't come to see me in Ramallah. Even our president can't leave, so we're all like in a big prison. I didn't plan my future this way. I planned to get out of college, work for a couple of years and then go out maybe to Europe or to the United States to have a master's degree and then work there and then come back to my country and help the people here and like work for a better Palestine. But now the way I see it, it's really hard to plan what you're going to do tomorrow.

EDWARDS: Dina Huzary in Ramallah and Sara Dansker in Efrat. They're part of the series Youth Voices from the Middle East produced by Youth Radio.

It's 11 minutes before the hour.

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