Samar Zaanin, 24

"[My brother in medical school] cannot visit us, and we cannot go visit him either. My father passed away, and he was unable to attend the funeral."

I am married to someone from the West Bank. We married one year ago, and we were for several months engaged before that. Our relationship has been ongoing since 2012, but I have not been able to see him for over a year, and I do not know when I will next see him in person. 

I am tired of thinking about this. When will I be able to live with him? With some luck, I might obtain a permit to visit the West Bank, but to live with him in the West Bank? That is almost impossible.  
And it is also impossible to change my place of residency from Gaza to the West Bank.

And what if I succeed? My brother Samir has been studying abroad for five years to become a doctor. I have not seen him since he left. He cannot visit us, and we cannot go visit him either. My father passed away, and he was unable to attend the funeral. This is the siege. It isolates us, and if someone cares about us, the siege forces them to stay away.

Nothing pushes me to confront these obstacles except for my love of my husband. I made the decision to marry him only after a relationship that lasted several years. It was a hard decision. Marrying him means living in the West Bank, if I get a permit, and then being unable to visit Gaza. That means giving up my family, my residency, and my personal history. I will have to start from scratch with a new job, new friends, a new city, and all of this still requires a permit.

Residents of Gaza are indiscriminately prohibited from traveling or moving to the West Bank.

Next week is my husband's birthday, I need to think hard about how and what to send him as a gift. I will succeed!

 

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