June 23 - Celebrations erupt in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem as Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf wins the Arab Idol singing competition. Lindsey Parietti reports.
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Palestinian Mohammed Assaf falls to his knees, crowned Arab Idol.
His victory ignited jubilation in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem Saturday night.
The 22-year-old student from Khan Younis refugee camp shot to fame singing national songs.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AYMAN QAWASMI, RESIDENT OF HEBRON, SAYING:
"Today Mohammed Assaf after winning returned the joy to our lives," says this man. "He said to the whole world that we do not like blood, we love peace, we work for peace. He sang for peace, prisoners, martyrs."
His mom was in the audience in Beirut Saturday when he beat out an Egyptian and a Syrian singer for the title of the spin-off reality show.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOTHER OF ARAB IDOL WINNER INTISAR ABU SHAMMALEH SAYING:
''Most importantly I am feeling proud, proud of the Palestinian people who showed the world that they are alive...alive.''
Seen here during an earlier show, after the finale the UN named Assaf its first youth ambassador to Palestinian refugee camps.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ARAB IDOL CONTEST WINNER MOHAMED ASSAF SAYING:
''A revolution is not just the one carrying the rifle, it's the paintbrush of an artist, the scalpel of a surgeon, the axe of the farmer,...this is something I consider logical, everyone struggles for their cause in the way they see fit."
Though some Palestinians dismissed the show as a distraction from Israeli occupation, residents of Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem filled the streets with mass celebrations.
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