Palestinian Keffiyeh becomes global symbol to support Gazans


Protestors wearing Palestinian Keffiyeh - file

Nov 13, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


As the world witnesses increase in the global demonstrations taking to the streets to support Palestinians against the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip, the Palestinian keffiyeh is rising to become a global symbol prevailing the scene. 

Since the beginning of recent Israel’s war on Gaza and the outbreak of demonstrations globally in support of civilians in the Gaza Strip, protestors show solidarity with the victims of Israel's massacres by wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh; a chequered black and white scarf that is usually worn around the neck or head. 


The New York Times reported that a diverse group of those who recently participated in a march for Gaza in Manhattan in downtown New York City wore the Palestinian keffiyeh and raised the Palestinian flag.


Photos of demonstrators in different countries around the world wearing the famous scarf were shared on social media. 

   As many were encouraged to wear the scarf, there were videos shared on instagram platform, taken in Irvine in California, where a customer harassed and verbally attacked an employee at Apple Store, because she was wearing the scarf. 


The keffiyeh first gained popularity among activists supporting the Palestinians in the conflict with Israel, and is considered an icon of Palestinian solidarity.


Today, the keffiyeh has become an unspoken expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people, with keffiyehs worn by human rights activists, politicians, sports stars and even celebrities.



History of the Palestinian Keffiyeh


The keffiyeh first gained popularity during the Arab Revolt against British colonial rule in 1936.

 In the 1960s, with the rise of the Palestinian resistance movement, former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat reinforced this meaning behind the keffiyeh, and it became Arafat's personal trademark as he would drape it over his right shoulder to resemble a map of pre-1948 Palestine.


Arafat, who was rarely seen without his keffiyeh, popularized it internationally, especially after the Israeli authorities banned the flying of the Palestinian flag for nearly three decades (1967-1993), the keffiyeh took its place as a global expression of the Palestinian identity.



What is the scarf made of?


The keffiyeh is usually made of cotton or linen and is decorated in many colors, the most famous of which are red, white, black and white, and is square in shape.


The scarf has three different patterns, which are:


The Fishing net pattern: This pattern represents the history of Palestinian sailors and the Mediterranean Sea.

 The Olive leaf engraving: This pattern refers to olive trees, which Palestine is famous for, as it represents the second source of exports (seed + oil), and the tree is also considered evidence of steadfastness, strength and courage.


The Bold line: Represents trade routes with merchants in countries neighboring Palestine.

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