UN Pays For Palestinian Wedding and Honeymoon in Gaza Hotel

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UN Pays For Palestinian Wedding and Honeymoon in Gaza Hotel
Fri 15-08-2014

The UN decided to give a young Palestinian couple a break from the bloodshed and chipped in to pay for their wedding at a UN school just hours before Israel and Hamas agreed to extend a temporary ceasefire for five days.

Although war destroyed their homes and her big white dress, Omar Abu Namar, 30, and his bride Heba Fayad, 23, tied the knot at Al-Shatea refugee camp in the west of Gaza City where they are staying alongside 4,000 refugees.

The UN school was decked out with a cloud of multi-coloured balloons and dancers as celebrations went late into the night before the ceasefire extension was announced, allowing the sides to continue to negotiate a substantive deal to end the war in Gaza.

"If somebody told me that I would be getting married in these conditions, I would not have believed them for a second!" said Heba, as she sat in salon in Gaza City.

"I had planned everything: the music, the guest list, my dress and my bouquet. And here I am today, I'm getting married in a school with thousands of refugees."

The couple were due to wed next month in her family home in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, but then the war came, laying waste to their plans.

Heba's family home was destroyed along with the items they bought for married life: dresses, accessories, flowers, everything went up in smoke when Israeli warplanes rained destruction on the tiny enclave, which is home to nearly 1.8 million Palestinians.

With reconstruction set to take years - Israel has blockaded Gaza since 2006 and restricts the entry of construction materials -  Heba decided to speed things up rather than wait for her home to be rebuilt.

"If I don't get married today, and in these conditions, then I won't be able to get married for at least three years," she said.

"My house was destroyed, I lost everything."

But UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and other aid agencies, was keen to give the couple some help and contributed to the wedding and two nights in a hotel for the newlyweds.

For Heba, the stay in the hotel is a godsend, the opportunity to get out of the UN school.

"Over there, I will take a shower every hour, it will be a change from all these days without seeing a drop of water to wash in," she laughed.

Source: Daily Mail