Naima Saadeh Abudayyeh
Naima Saadeh is determined to leave the small
town in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where
she has lived her whole life. Like many young
people, she wants to see more of the world.
Naima is a progressive young woman with ambitions
and El Jib is a provincial Muslim village.
"I believe in God," she says. "But
in my town, there are things we need more
than the new mosque. We already have two of
them. We need a recreational center for young
women and men. But with the state of mind
here, how could a young woman even leave the
house to use it? El Jib will always be my
village, but it is a very conservative place…
What I want in life, I don't see it here."
Naima is in her final semester at Al Quds
University in Jerusalem. Every day, she takes
three taxi-vans and must cross an Israeli
checkpoint to get to school. Even during this
period of relative calm in the West Bank in
1999, Naima’s Palestinian identity papers
limit her movement and bar her from entering
Jerusalem without Israeli permission.
When first-generation Palestinian American
Hatem Abudayyeh visits the village in which
his parents lived until 1967, he meets Naima
and falls in love. After a whirlwind courtship,
the couple starts planning their wedding in
Chicago, where Hatem lives with his parents.
"I’ve been wanting to go to America
since I was little to build up my future and
improve myself," Naima says. "I
think in America there are more opportunities
than here. I’m the kind of person who
likes change. I want to go out and see the
|Naima and her