Traditional Palestinian Thobes

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Traditional Palestinian embroidered dresses











Palestine is famous for its traditionally hand stitched thobes (dresses) from across the region. Each city in Palestine has a traditional style and stitch that is uniquely woven into each dress. Below is a series of photos that depict each particular dress style, city to city, across Palestine.

Special thanks to the Palestinian American Cultural Center of Houston for their contribution to this piece.


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Ramallah –
A central city in Palestine, 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem.  Ramallah was known for its high-end lifestyle.  The dresses have distinguishable and finely executed patterns.  Throughout Palestine, Ramallah has been known for its white (un-dyed) roumi-linen embroidered Thob but black dresses were worn on special occasions and in winter.  Most of the embroidery was done with silk thread in mainly maroon tones using ancient Arab patterns.


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Nablus –
Main city in northern Palestine, and an important trade center.  The fabrics used were imported from Syria and they came in a variety of stripes and colors creating a significant diversity in the traditional look.  The embroidery is not extensive due to Nablus’ urban nature and its trade relations with other big cities in the Arab world.

Al Khalil

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Al Khalil
One of the oldest towns of southern Palestine that was built on the highest hills of the country.  Village costume fabrics were hand-woven linens, cottons, and silks that were cut in a similar manner to Ramallah dresses, often with long sleeves.  They were covered, however, with much larger areas of embroidery not only at the front of the dress but the sides and back were embroidered in vertical patterns.  The usual embroidery stitch was cross stitch with fishbone as the joining stitch.


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A southern coastal city that was an important Mediterranean port.  This linen dress is heavily embroidered with triangles, scissors, and combs on the chest as well as front and back panels.  The emphasis on triangular motifs, and the use of designs with amuletic significance found in Gaza are a very strong link between the styles and traditions of the southern fellahin (peasants) and the local nomadic Bedouin tribes.

Gaza Region “Irq El Loz” (Almond Branch)

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Gaza Region “Irq El Loz” (Almond Branch)
Multiple colors have been used for this cottony fabric, including: black, blue, pink and green.  This Thob is distinguished by its bright fresh colors and the variety of embroidery patterns used.  The sleeves have “Irq El Loz” embroidery in stem and stain stitch.  Al Majdal, a southern coastal city, was known as the largest weaving center in Southern Palestine.

Bir El Sabe

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Bir El Sabe
It is the southern desert district in Palestine and it is known for its distinct and particular design and pattern.  The dresses tell a dramatic story.  The dominant red or maroon color is for the Palestinian bride, and the blue is for the widow.  The head cover is decorated with silver and gold coins. It is designed to protect the face from the harsh desert sun and storms. It is also a symbol of modesty.


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Located South East of historical Palestine.  This beautiful dress has less embroidery than dresses from other regions of Palestine.  It has wide sleeve panels and is lightly stitched on the chest piece and side panels.


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A beautiful coastal city in northern Palestine, also known as the “Bride of Al Karmel”.  Originally embroidered costume was worn throughout both upper and lower Galilee.  Examples from the 19th century show stunning mixtures of technique.  The garments were often made of handwoven cotton with front sections decorated in a rich patchwork of silk or taffeta appliqué (a technique known as heremezy) and ikat-dyed silk weaves, and with back panels embroidered with silk thread in carpet-like designs of geometric motifs.


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Main port and coastal city, and also known as the “Bride of the Sea”.  The beautiful white represents the most typical Yafa dress.  The embroidery is concentrated on the chest piece, sides, and back.


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Located in central Palestine and a holy city for the three monotheistic religions.  Jerusalem never had its characteristic embroidery style because of its international status and foreign influence.  The primary fabrics were imported from Damascus and were made of silk.  The Jerusalem dress is very colorful and has been influenced by the surrounding regions that gave it a nice mixed style.

Palestinian Customs and Traditions

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Palestinian social customs and traditions date back to the 7th century. The Palestinian customs are rooted in the very soil of the land and are hence inseparable from the lives of the people belonging to Palestine. The customs of Palestine not only get reflected on the society of the land and the people but also in the famous works of art and literature of the country.

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Every year the Palestinian Cultural Center of Houston holds its annual Palestinian Festival in March. The festival is created for American Palestinians to remember their culture and heritage through shared experience and cultural revival.

The festival includes dozen of vendors selling authentic Palestinian attire, medallions, jewelry, food, art, books, crafts, and more. In addition to authentic dancing, traditional fashion shows, and cultural reenactments. We will even have a little bit of fun with the qoosa efharing (we’ll explain what that is later) and falafel eating competitions!

Stay tuned for a series of silly adventures during this years 6th annual Houston Palestinian festival!  But First! A bit of our national anthem to kick it off!


Date: March 16, 2016
Time: 7:00 pm  to  9:00 pm


On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old activist from Olympia, Washington, went to Gaza as a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement. Corrie tried to prevent the Israeli army from demolishing the home of a family she was staying with and was crushed to death by a bulldozer.

This program, sponsored by Palestine Online Store, will commemorate her life’s work with a screening of the short documentary film “Ambulance” and a reading of one of her last letters to her parents describing the situation in Gaza.

Location: Resistencia Bookstore, 4926 E. César Chávez, Unit C-1, Austin


– See more at:

A Tribute to Rachel Corrie

“I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what’s going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States—something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don’t know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me, “Ali”—or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me “Kaif Sharon?” “Kaif Bush?” and they laugh when I say “Bush Majnoon” “Sharon Majnoon” back in my limited Arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.)”

In a letter written to her family, dated Feb 7th, 2003


American peace activist killed 13 years ago today by ‪#‎Israeli‬ military while trying to bring to the world’s attention the injustice of the ‪#‎IsraeliOccupation‬ of ‪#‎Palestine‬.

Rest in happiness Rachel and know that your fight was not in vain, that our struggle continues; but with your lead, we follow. Your struggle was not forgotten. Palestine will be liberated.

BDS App; To Buy or Not to Buy

Introducing the new Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions App! Where you can get the latest in BDS news, find events near you, join our campaigns, and get the newest boycott additions straight to your smartphone or tablet!

The app also features a barcode scanner! Just scan any barcode, and find out instantly whether to boycott or buy! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and Twitter. Join our mailing list for newest in BDS news.

Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression;

Representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Help us succeed in our above 3 goals by using AND sharing this app to boycott, divest, and put sanctions on the State of Israel until they comply under international law.

See more at: BDS Movement

BDS, a means to freedom

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Thirty eight years into Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights, Israel continues to expand Jewish colonies. It has unilaterally annexed occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and is now de facto annexing large parts of the West Bank by means of the Wall. Israel is also preparing – in the shadow of its lanned redeployment from the Gaza Strip – to build and expand colonies in the West Bank.

Fifty seven years after the state of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners, a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless. Moreover, Israel’s entrenched system of racial discrimination against its own Arab-Palestinian citizens remains intact.

We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.

The campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is shaped by a rights-based approach and highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel. The BDS call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:

  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

This is done through boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

Boycotts target products and companies (Israeli and international) that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights, as well as Israeli sporting, cultural and academic institutions. Anyone can boycott Israeli goods, simply by making sure that they don’t buy produce made in Israel or by Israeli companies. Campaigners and groups call on consumers not to buy Israeli goods and on businesses not to buy or sell them.

Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations. As part of the boycott, academics, artists and consumers are campaigning against such collaboration and ‘rebranding’. A growing number of artists have refused to exhibit or play in Israel.

Divestment means targeting corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights and ensuring that the likes of university investment portfolios and pension funds are not used to finance such companies. These efforts raise awareness about the reality of Israel’s policies and encourage companies to use their economic influence to pressure Israel to end its systematic denial of Palestinian rights.

Sanctions are an essential part of demonstrating disapproval for a country’s actions. Israel’s membership of various diplomatic and economic forums provides both an unmerited veneer of respectability and material support for its crimes. By calling for sanctions against Israel, campaigners educate society about violations of international law and seek to end the complicity of other nations in these violations.

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Over 170 international organizations have endorsed the BDS Movement worldwide. Its time that we as American citizen do our part to boycott Israeli apartheid until Palestinians have equal rights! Read more at BDS Movement!

Also look at BDS’ FaceBook page for daily updates on the movements progression.


The boycott of Israeli products and companies supporting Israel is a peaceful means of putting international pressure on apartheid Israel and follows in the footsteps of the successful boycott against South African apartheid. Help end Palestinian suffering by boycotting Israel today!

The following two photos list all of the items currently under boycott. Read  a summary of how each company on the boycott list is supporting Israel here.

We must do our part in supporting equal rights for the Palestinians, through non-violent measures the BDS Movement has been proven successful in Apartheid South Africa, and can also be successful in Apartheid Palestine.


Journalism a Crime in Occupied Palestine

Journalism isn’t considered a crime by universal law. A journalist is a person who collects, writes, or distributes news or other current information as a resource to the general public. Journalism can be considered one of the most important jobs in the entire world. Without journalists, we would have no knowledge of current issues happening globally. In addition, without journalists we would never know when human rights violations would occur.

Journalists sometimes expose themselves to danger, particularly when reporting in areas of armed conflict or in states that do not respect the freedom of the press. Organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders publish reports on press freedom and advocate for journalistic freedom.

It should be emphasized that killing of journalists and media workers is a violation of international law.

However, in occupied Palestine journalism is a crime. Israel is notorious for hiding their war crimes, and assaulting journalists is a way to keep these war crimes hidden. Israel is considered the world’s 2nd deadliest place for journalists, behind Syria. In the 2014 siege of Gaza by Israel, the Committee to Protect Journalist put the number of Palestinian reporters and media workers killed during the Israeli assault on Gaza at least fifteen in less than  40 days. Since then the number of journalist being murdered and held in administrative detention without charges has risen dramatically.


Journalist Rami Rayan was killed on 30 July 2014 in Israeli shelling of a market in Gaza City’s Shujaiya district. Mohammed Asad / APA Images


Administrative detention is implemented solely on the basis of an administrative order, without either indictment or trial. Under certain circumstances, this type of detention may be lawful. However, due to the substantial injury to due process inherent in this measure, international law stipulates that it may be exercised only in very exceptional cases – and then only as a last possible resort, when there are no other means available to prevent the danger. Nevertheless, Israeli authorities routinely employ administrative detention. Over the years, thousands of Palestinians have been held in Israeli custody as administrative detainees for extended periods of time.

Israel’s use of administrative detention blatantly violates the restrictions of international law. Israel carries it out in a highly classified manner that denies detainees the possibility of mounting a proper defense. Moreover, the detention has no upper time limit. Over the years, Israel has placed thousands of Palestinians in administrative detention for prolonged periods of time, without trying them, without informing them of the charges against them, and without allowing them or their counsel to examine the evidence. In this way, the military judicial system ignores the right to freedom and due process, the right of defendants to state their case, and the presumption of innocence, all of which are protections clearly enshrined in both Israeli and international law.

Administrative detention holds no barriers, and Israel routinely uses this as a means to detain journalists in the occupied territories from exposing their war crimes. Mohammed al-Qeeq is a prime example. Al-Qeeq, a married father of two who works as a journalist in Ramallah has been held under a six-month Israeli administrative detention order without charge or trial along with 660 other administrative detainees currently being held by Israel. His crime, being a journalist.

“Mohammed al-Qeeq, like many before him, is being silenced by administrative detention measures in order to quell the Palestinian narrative,” Abbas Hamideh, director of the Global Campaign for Palestinian Political Prisoners, told MintPress News.

“Journalists have a powerful voice with the outside world via social media,” Hamideh said. “This, in particular, Israel tries to crush.” Mohammad al-Qeeq is a journalist arrested by Israel to shut the voice of truth

Israel’s unlawful practice of administrative detention allows the regime forces to detain Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Only in the rules of the Israeli occupation a person is imprisoned without any accusation or charges against them. The administrative detainees have no knowledge of the evidence allegedly against them and no way to try to refute it.

In response to his unlawful administrative detention by Israel, al-Qeeq has gone on a hunger strike, living only on water for the 87th day respectively. Al-Qeeq stands against occupation & inequality, as well as journalistic freedom.

According to Maan News  Agency, Amnesty International on Wednesday demanded Israeli authorities to transfer hunger-striker Muhammad al-Qiq to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

“The Israeli courts have failed, over many years, to provide effective legal recourse to the thousands of Palestinian administrative detainees held without charge or trial on the basis of secret “evidence” withheld from them and their lawyers, under orders that can be renewed indefinitely, Amnesty International said. Including journalists.

A video emerged a few days ago from Al-Qeeq as he lay dying in his hospital bed. Unwilling to give up, asking only to see his son one last time.

Political campaigns have risen across the world urging the United Nations and various human rights organizations to get Israel to comply with international law. However there have been no changes in the situation and Israel continues to defy international law. The death of Palestinian journalist Muhammad al-Qeeq is imminent after nearly 87 days of hunger strike. Since then, four more prisoners have joined in the hunger strike in hopes of achieving their freedom.

Campaigns and protests have risen across the globe in support of al-Qeeq.

Fayhaa Shalah, seen in the video below is the wife of Mohammad al-Qeeq who has been on a hunger strike since November 25 2015. She is calling on Journalists around the world and activists to act now to save her Husbands life.

“Muhammad is fighting for his freedom,” Shalash says in the brief English-language video, “He is on hunger strike because he wants to be free.”


Activists have been protesting vigorously over the last week using social media storms and hashtags #AlQeeqFree and #AlQeeqDying as an international outcry to protects the rights of journalists, and Palestinians in the occupied territories. As well as putting an end to administrative detention which defies international law.

Several tweet sheets have been created by underground human rights organizations to help in the social media storms, making it easier and more effective to spread the word on a mass scale. And social media storms have been going every day, around the clock for nearly a week.

Its time that we as international activists and journalists stand together for our rights to report and work as media professionals deemed under international law. We must put an end to Israeli war crimes, administrative detention, and slaying of domestic and foreign journalists simply doing their job.