A 22 year old Palestinian communications student has won the popular TV singing contest “Arab Idol.”
Mohammed Assaf, who grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza, spent weeks competing on the show in Beirut where he charmed Arab audiences.
It was a personal victory for Assaf but also a source of great national pride for Palestinians.
Assaf’s progress on the TV show has been followed closely back home. When he won, tens of thousands of Palestinians came out onto the streets to dance and set off fireworks in celebration.
For many it was a welcome relief from the grinding conflict with Israel. It was also a chance to show the world there was more to Palestinians than fighting and struggle.
“Arab Idol” is watched by millions across the Arab world.
After the victory, the UN named Assaf as its first youth ambassador for Palestinian refugee camps.