- Title: WEST BANK: Palestinian man may be oldest living person in the world
- Date: 2nd March 2009
- Summary: BEIT LID, WEST BANK (RECENT) (REUTERS) MOHAMMED DUREIDI, 122-YEAR-OLD-MAN, HOLDING HIS IDENTIFICATION CARD IDENTIFICATION CARD VARIOUS OF DUREIDI PERFORMING ABLUTIONS BEFORE PRAYERS DUREIDI GETTING UP OFF GROUND (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOHAMMED DUREIDI, 122-YEAR-OLD PALESTINIAN MAN, SAYING: "No (Q: why?) I don't sell. Who sells his lands? Only the gays sell their country." DUREIDI SITTING VARIOUS OF DUREIDI'S FACE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOHAMMED DUREIDI, 122-YEAR-OLD PALESTINIAN MAN, SAYING "Turkey used to take taxes from us. That was the policy of Turkey or the Ottoman's rule." DUREIDI WALKING THROUGH VILLAGE VARIOUS OF WOMEN SITTING, DUREIDI WALKING PAST VARIOUS OF DUREIDI WALKING THROUGH THE VILLAGE, GOING TO THE MOSQUE TO PRAY DUREIDI STOPPING TO SIT DOWN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOHAMMED DUREIDI, 122-YEAR-OLD PALESTINIAN MAN, SAYING "Today is better, it more relaxing. (Q: how is it relaxing?) Everything is available, they don't work in harvesting. Before they used to plant, harvest and work in the land. Today is easier, you want me to work?" DUREIDI ENTERING MOSQUE VARIOUS OF DUREIDI PRAYING VARIOUS OF DUREIDI IN HIS OLIVE GROVE
- Embargoed: 17th March 2009 12:00
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAEQSDY876OQ8MIGYOC31194GRE
- Story Text: Mohammed Dureidi, whose identity card registers his year of birth as 1887, may be the oldest person in the world.
That makes Dureidi, who lives in the West Bank village of Beit Lid near Tulkarem, 122 years old.
As a Palestinian who has spent all of his life in the West Bank, he has lived through many eras in Palestinian history: from the Ottoman Empire's rule over the area, through two world wars, the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, the Oslo Peace accords, the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1965, and up to the present day.
Dureidi says he remembers life under Ottoman rule.
"Turkey used to take taxes from us. That was the policy of Turkey or the Ottoman's rule," he said.
Villagers in Beit Lid intend to put the elderly man forward for verification in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Currently, the world's oldest verified person is Gertrude Baines of the United States who was born on April 6, 1894 which makes her 114 years and 330 days old.
A supercentenarian is considered "verified" if their claim has been accepted by an international body that specifically engages in longevity research, such as the Gerontology Research Group of the Guinness Book of World Records.
The oldest verified person on record was Jeanne Calment from France who lived to be 122 years and 164 days old. She died on August 4, 1997.
Dureidi's identity card does not record the actual day or month of his birth, just the year, but his family say that since he turned a hundred, everyday has been a celebration.
Dureidi has a total of 124 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Only four of his twelve children are still living.
He says today's world is much easier than the one he grew up in.
"Today is better, it more relaxing," he said.
"Everything is available, they don't work in harvesting. Before they used to plant, harvest and work in the land. Today is easier," he said.
From his house in Beit Lid, he walks the same path five times a day -- 250 metres to the only mosque in the village where he faithfully attends prayer.
Dureidi married only once but his wife died 10 years ago at the age of
His youngest daughter is 58 and looks after him.
The former farmer and shepherd also produced olive oil until 1995 from trees he planted 100 years ago.
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