BBC: Star-crossed lovers quit West Bank
Posted by uscsjp on March 1, 2007
The couple married three years ago after meeting in Jerusalem
She is a 26-year-old Jewish Israeli. Her name is Jasmine Avissar. He is a 27-year-old Palestinian Muslim, Osama Zaatar. Jasmine and Osama’s is a love story, and it tells you so much about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
They met when they worked at the same place in Jerusalem, and three years ago they got married.
First they tried to live in Israel, but the Israeli authorities would not allow Osama to join his wife there.
Then they tried living in the occupied West Bank, but some Palestinians made life difficult for them.
Now they’ve given up and are moving to Europe…
“Even here in Osama’s homeland I am superior as an Israeli,” says Jasmine, as she looks out the window.
“It’s easier for me to move around. The soldiers let me through checkpoints. They don’t arrest me like they might arrest Osama.”
A final embrace at the Israeli checkpoint Osama is banned from crossing
Jasmine has given up on her own country.
“Jewish people were abused for thousands of years, but my nation has switched from being victims to being abusers.
“That’s hard for me to acknowledge. The Jewish people are occupiers now, and we are racist.”
The car arrives at a final checkpoint.
We stand next to it, and Osama tells me why he has also given up on his own people.
“There were threats. People said if I brought my wife here we’d be in danger. Even my friends said that. They say I am a traitor.”
“It makes me wonder whether I want to be a Palestinian any more. Some see me as some sort of Israeli envoy. It’s a shit feeling.”
They turn and walk the short distance to the checkpoint that leads out of the West Bank and into Israel.
They put down their bags, and hug one another. There’s a short kiss.
I ask Osama what he hopes for from his new life.
“I want to be able to walk in the street and not be stopped by the Israeli army or police. I want to feel safe. I have never felt that.”
Jasmine smiles. “I just want to be a normal couple, with normal problems about rent, and money. I don’t want to have these huge gigantic problems interfering in our marriage.”
Even now though they are not quite free.
Osama cannot go through the checkpoint with Jasmine. They don’t know when he will be able to join her in Europe.
They are still a couple caught in the middle of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. (link to full article)