{mosimage}In one of the alleys of the old city of Jerusalem, I saw several Palestinian children running and chasing each other, while one child carrying a plastic rifle, was following them, pretending to be an Israeli soldier in a game they were playing.

The children were playing the role of Palestinian youth throwing stones at the occupation army, and trying to save the ‘injured fellow’ who was shot injured and abducted by the soldiers.

They are children, not more than ten or eleven years old, their memories are filled with the images of martyrs, and injured residents, filled with soldiers shooting, killing and leveling the homes; they represent an important part of the continuous Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation.

If we try to compare the games Israeli children play with the games of the Palestinian children, we will discover a significant and clear difference.

Palestinian children play games of ‘liberation” “demonstrations” “protests”, you will find them searching for the “enemy” and trying to ‘destroy it”, yet Israeli kids, in fancy homes play the calm and entertaining computer games.

If you go to Jerusalem, which is under complete Israeli control and authority in its Arabic side in the east and the Israeli Jewish side in the west you will not fail no notice the difference.

 The Israeli government, and the Jerusalem municipality make sure that everything the residents of west Jerusalem need, is there; recreation facilities, clubs, public gardens, stores, malls, while if u head to the east u will see poverty, and kids who had to play in the streets because they have no other place to go to.

I asked one of the Palestinian children in east Jerusalem, ‘why are you playing in the street? and his fast reply was, “where do you want us to play, were shall we go? We don’t have playgrounds, we don’t have gardens or recreation facilities”, he added.

He is just a child, he wants to play and have fun, he is not even aware of the dangers of playing in the street, but this issue does not seem an important matter to the Jerusalem municipality which already provides Jewish kids with everything the need, even without asking for it.

 Millions are paid by the municipality to improve the public facilities west of Jerusalem, but when it comes to improving the east of the city, “the budget will not be enough”, the same municipality which is willing to pay millions in the west will not have enough budget to improve the east of the city.

Palestinian children, like all children in this world, are entitled to their rights to enjoy their childhood, to play and study, how can the new generation grow up on the principles of equality and coexistence when they see Jewish children, living in the other side of the same city, enjoying everything they need, enjoying their gardens, theaters and recreation facilities, while all what Palestinian children have is the street. When you plant discrimination you will definitely harvest hatred, yet the question which remains here is “what kind of democracy is this? What kind of equality exists?!

Maisa Abu Ghazala, PNN