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Israel travel ban ruins Palestinian wedding in Turkey

Palestinian couple Muaz Rukup and Hedil Naccar, medical officials who had worked during 'Great March of Return' are seen during their wedding ceremony in Gaza on 2 May 2018 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli travel ban has separated a Palestinian couple and ruined their plan to hold their wedding in Istanbul, Turkey, reports Anadolu Agency.

Palestinian journalist Mohammed Khairy was planning to celebrate his wedding with his fiancée, journalist Majdouline Hassouna, on Monday.

Hassouna, however, was prevented by Israeli authorities from leaving the occupied West Bank to Istanbul, where both journalists work for Turkey’s public broadcast TRT Arabi, for the wedding.

Khairy is from Baqa al-Gharbiya, an Arab-predominant city in Israel while his fiancée, Hassouna is from Beit Imrin village in West Bank’s Nablus province.

Israel controls all West Bank terminals and often bars Palestinians from traveling abroad.

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Palestinians are generally prohibited from traveling through Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport or sailing through Israeli ports.

“The Israeli occupation [intentionally] seeks to prevent our marriage,” Khairy told Anadolu Agency, without elaborating on the Israeli motive.

On Sunday, Israeli forces refused to allow Hassouna from crossing the Al-Karama terminal between the West Bank and Jordan.

She was held for six hours while Khairy arrived in Istanbul via Ben Gurion airport, as he holds an Israeli passport.

Khairy said he had planned a surprise celebration for his finance at the Istanbul airport.

“We were very happy during our marriage ceremony in Nablus, and we began to draw the first steps of our lives,” he said, describing the Israeli decision to deny his finance exit from the West Bank as “immoral” and “illegal”.

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Hassouna, for her part, criticized Israel for refusing to allow her to travel to Istanbul for her wedding.

“The occupation has wasted my joy,” she told Anadolu Agency.

“This is the ugly face of the occupation that seeks to restrict the freedom of opinion and movement and to harden the lives of [Palestinian] citizens,” she said.

The Palestinian journalist said she was informed of the travel ban after being held for six hours and was asked to meet an Israeli intelligence officer at a military camp near Nablus city.

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