Old cars
Old carsFlash90

A Gazan firm has found a way to add style to weddings in the Hamas-controlled enclave despite being unable to import a limousine: make one with parts from five cars.

Wedding planner Salama al-Odi sought to import a limousine as part of the various offerings to young Gazans by the firm he heads, Farha, but said he was unable to.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade for 10 years, with the
entry and exit of goods and people tightly controlled by Israel and Egypt to prevent the smuggling of weaponry.

Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians since it took over control. Israel has fought three wars since 2008 against Arab terrorist organizations in Gaza to stop the attacks on Israeli civilians.

Israel and a number of human rights organizations have decried Hamas diversion of humanitarian aid to its military wing in order to prepare to carry out further terrorist attacks rather than using the aid to improve the lives of the residents of Gaza.

Last month, Hamas closed the Erez crossing in response to the assassination of senior Hamas terrorist Mazen Faqha, although Israel's Defense Ministry said he was killed by a rival terrorist group. The closing prevented Gazans from being able to leave Gaza and enter Israel.

The advertising of wedding planners attests to a well-to-do segment of the population thatcan purchase such luxuries, as do the luxury hotels and markets photographed by visitors. With poverty widespread and unemployment at nearly 45 percent under Hamas rule, there seems to be a gap in social awareness on the part of wealthy Gaza residents so that poorer Gazans have had to show creativity -- and Odi has responded to the challenge.

In his small mechanic shop, a group of men were busy taking parts from five different cars and adding them to a white Mercedes.

Some 30 people weighed in on the design and drew up plans for the improvised limousine.

"It took us three months and $21,000 (19,500 euros)" to build the vehicle, whose interior with curtains was "completely conceived in Gaza," Odi said.

The result looks something like a cross between a car and a spaceship, with a rounded roof extending upward from what would have been the original top.

Hand-painted designs adorn the sides of the vehicle.

Final touches are being put on the "limo" and the first bride and groom should be able to climb aboard as soon as Thursday.

Odi says he will offer it at an affordable rate for young people in Gaza, so that not only the upper class will turn to his new business..