Palestinian couple gets West Bank wedding (AP) Associated Press) DEIR ISTIYA, West Bank 04/14/12 12:55 pm ET)
AP} ASSOCIATED PRESS
AP} ASSOCIATED PRESS Articles-Index-Top
DEIR ISTIYA, West Bank – Maha Surougi and Thaer Qasem have lived
their entire lives in Syria´s largest Palestinian refugee camp on the
outskirts of Damascus.
Their first trip to the Palestinian West Bank is the one they will
never forget — they went to get married.
Israel maintains a military occupation of the West Bank and strictly
controls travel to Palestinian areas of that territory. It also
generally bars entry to visitors from Syria and other Middle Eastern
countries officially at war with Israel, just as those countries
forbid their own residents from visiting Israel.
Exceptions to those travel restrictions are rare. The Palestinian
Authority has been able to arrange Israeli entry visas for
Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon to visit the West Bank for
cultural and sport activities — but only a few dozen visas are
granted a year.
In this case, Palestinian authorities helped the young couple get
visas so they could transit through Israel, according to the
Palestinian commission for education, culture and science.
At the wedding Thursday in the West Bank village of Deir Istiya,
female guests were greeted with coffee before a lively procession of
women to the wedding venue — a house on loan for the day from a local
family. The bride was dressed in traditional Palestinian clothes and
a headdress embellished with gold coins.
Observant Muslim Palestinian weddings are segregated by gender. Men
gathered in one group with the groom, and women gathered in another
section, singing songs in which they mainly praised the bride for
wanting to take care of her new husband and her future family.
They ululated, making a sharp loud but pleasant sound, then heaped
praise and best wishes on the bride and her family, and the groom and
Surougi´s husband-to-be also was surrounded by friends and family as
he prepared for the wedding.
Tradition was strictly followed. After being escorted to the house of
a local elder, Thaer received praise for himself and his bride from
the men of the village, who chanted.
"I have chosen this place because it´s my homeland, it´s my country.
My blood and my soul are here," Surougi said.
Both 23, the couple met at the Yarmouk refugee camp, which was
established in 1957 and houses more than 100,000 Palestinian refugees.
Surougi said she never thought her dream of getting married in the
place her ancestors had to leave would come true.
"It was even an impossible dream for me to be here, imagine to have
my wedding here," she said. "I thank God and all those who helped and
stood next to me by bringing me here." (© 2012 The Associated Press
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY