Palestinians reject Israel’s attempts to steal their heritage with campaigns to encourage traditional clothing

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Palestinians wear traditional costumes during a protest against Miss Universe beauty pageant contestants where they wore Palestinian traditional dresses while staying in Israel, where the 2021 competition was held, in the West Bank city of Ramallah

Lana Hijazi, journalist, and founder of the Palestinian Costume Day initiative in Ramallah that this activity is to refuse Israel’s request from contestants in Miss Universe to wear Palestinian traditional clothes claiming that it is part of the Israeli traditions and heritage.

Hijazi added: “We stand here as a kind of cultural resistance that continues to fight Israel, which is trying to steal the Palestinian cultural heritage, Israel did not steal the dress, but rather it is trying to steal traditional Palestinian food also she said”.

In Gaza also Palestinians wear traditional dress creations during a protest pause in response to the Israel theft of Palestinian heritage and national dress.

Salwa Othman Palestinian woman who displays the traditional heritage embroidery said that Israel cannot steal Palestinian heritage now because it is registered with the World Heritage Organization

Palestinian women sew traditional heritage embroidery at a shop, in Gaza City on December 16, 2021. 

UNESCO has added a series of art to Intangible Cultural Heritage, including Palestinian embroidery.

This decision came after the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meetings which began on December 13 and end on December 18, 2021.

Only a few days before the Miss Universe beauty pageant announces its winner for the year, contestants came under fire for photos they posted on social media showing them wearing Palestinian traditional dresses while staying in Israel, where the 2021 competition is being held.

Accused of culturally appropriating Palestinian culture, several contestants posted photos of what they described as “visiting a Bedouin village” without referring to the Palestinian population of these villages.

At least representatives of the Philippines, Haiti, Mauritius, and Armenia have been amongst the visitors to the Rahat village with a large Palestinian population.

Online people attacked the contestants saying that they did not merely “appropriate the Palestinian culture” during a visit to promote the country that “has been practicing several forms of oppression against Palestinians,” but also “refrained from referring to the Palestinian identity of Rahat and its people.”

Last month, beauty queens from around the world announced boycotting the Miss Universe competition on the basis that it is being held in Israel, saying that their decision came “in support of the Palestinian struggle,”.

Palestinian girls wearing traditional dress creation during a protest pause in response to the Israel theft of Palestinian heritage and national dress, in Gaza City on December 16, 2021.

The Jewish Voice for Peace slammed candidates representing their countries in the 2021 Miss Universe pageant in Israel for “glamorizing” the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

The organization, which works for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law, decried the contestants for appropriating Palestinian culture after cooking Palestinian food in Palestinian traditional dresses.

“Miss Universe contestants are influencers glamorizing the ethnic cleansing and erasure of Palestinians and their culture on the global stage,” JVP said in a press statement.

Miss Philippines, Beatrice Luigi Gomez, posted on Instagram photos of herself and her competitors cooking Palestinian food in traditional Palestinian dresses, sparking an outcry on social media, with some social media users calling for a boycott of the event and accusing some contestants of promoting tourism in a colonial state and supporting the gross appropriation of Palestinian culture.

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