The Independent / June 22, 2021
‘All we ask for is a residency status. We want nothing more. This is the most basic human right,’ says woman separated from family for 11 years.
“I wish I could hug you, my love,” says Rana al-Salayme in footage taken by Middle East Eye on Wednesday. “My love, I cannot believe I am looking at you.”
After 11 years of separation, talking across the flowing river is the closest her family can get to one another.
Speaking to gathered media through tears, Ms Salayme says: “This is the first time I’ve seen them in 11 years. I can’t describe to you how I feel. I can’t even speak.
“All we ask for is a residency status. We want nothing more. This is the most basic human right.”
Sana Qassem, another Jordanian living in the West Bank who came to the Jordan river to see her family, says she does not recognize them after 24 years.
“That’s my family right there. Do you see my sister there in the black scarf? I did not even recognize her,” she says.
“My feelings? I cannot describe my feelings to you. It is hard.”
Thousands of people who have moved to occupied territories to live with their Palestinian spouses are not allowed to move freely due to an Israeli ban on ‘family unification’ visas.
Once their initial entry visas expire they are left without Palestinian IDs, meaning if they leave they will not be allowed back in.
Samuel Osborne is a reporter covering national, international and breaking news based in London