Israeli ban separates Palestinian couple for three years

Dalia is confined to her hometown of Khan Yunis in Gaza where Palestinians are barred from travelling to the West Bank

Published: Updated:

Three years after signing their marriage contract in the Gaza Strip, Rashid Faddah and Dalia Shurrab are yet to enter holy matrimony as the couple continue to live in two different cities separated by Israeli travel restrictions.

Shurrab is confined to her hometown of Khan Yunis in Gaza, Britain’s the Independent reported, where Palestinians are barred from travelling to the West Bank. Israeli officials say the travel ban is a reactionary policy to Hamas’s control of Gaza.

The couple got to know each other after Dalia was not able to attend an exchange program in her then future husband’s hometown as her requests for a visa were turned down by both Israel and Jordan. So they started talking on the internet.

“We started talking in a group and then privately and discovered we have a lot in common,” she told the Independent.

With time, they decided to meet in Jordan, a convenient common ground as two of their aunts lived there and chaperoned their rendezvous.

“Friends tell me ‘couldn’t you find someone to marry who is not from Gaza?’” Rashid said.

“I tell them that Dalia is the person I chose.”

“She is intelligent, funny, lovely, educated and has ambitions. And she is kind,”

“He respected my mind, hobbies and dreams. He didn’t make me feel fat or ugly like society likes to label overweight people.

He saw me as a beautiful and special person,” Dalia said.

“What made me love him is that he treated me differently than any other man.”

Rashid and his father travelled to Gaza in 2012, through Egypt and Jordan to travel restrictions, to sign the marriage contract. Three years and 20 travel applications later, the couple are yet to start their married life.

However, Nablus’s mayor Ghassan Shaka, which the Independent described as “well-connected,” had contacted Rashid’s family, the groom said, adding that the politician said Dalia would be in Nablus in a matter of months.