“We have on this land that which makes this life worth living”. Mahmoud Darwish, Palestinian National Poet.
Poetry is popular in all Arab societies. Palestinian families sometimes compete in reciting classical poems, for example, by concluding a verse with a letter from which it is difficult for the next person to continue. Mahmoud Darwish’s poem “On this land those who deserve to live” is well known to Palestinians.
The Neolithic wall of Jericho dates from approximately 8000 BCE. If interpreted as an "urban fortification", it is the oldest city wall discovered by archaeologists anywhere in the world.
Kathleen Kenyon was a leading British archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent. She is best known for her excavations of Jericho between 1952 and 1958, and has been called one of the most influential archaeologists of the 20th century
The temple mural (1892 BCE) at Beni Hasan, Middle Egypt, depicts Asiatic herdsmen with three children coming to trade with a local Egyptian ruler. They are recognisable by their dress, pulled back hair, and short pointed beards.
The temple mural (1892 BCE) at Beni Hasan, Middle Egypt, depicts Asiatic herdsmen coming to trade with a local Egyptian ruler. They are recognisable by their dress, pulled back hair, and short pointed beards. In addition to the humans, the mural portrays gazelles, weapons, goods, and tools.
Philistines appear in Assyrian sources in the 9th century BCE. Palestine was mentioned in early Greek sources as a place - ‘Palaestina’ - and as a people, ‘Palaistinoi’. Palestine as a geographic name appears in the 5th century BCE histories of Herodotus. Third century BCE Hellenistic sources referred to ‘Palaistin’ to describe the entire area between Phoenicia and Egypt. This panel is based on a sketch drawn by Laila Tibi [Taybeh].
Decorated Philistine pottery is known for some of the most beautiful motifs on early Iron Age decorated pottery. Stylistic representations of birds in the Mycenaean style were considered to be sacred. They are also featured on the Philistine ships in the reliefs in Ramesses III (20th Dynasty) mortuary temple at Medinet Habu, Thebes (modern Luxor), Egypt. They depict his battle with the Sea Peoples around 1175 BCE.
A set of Assyrian palace reliefs narrate the Assyrian victory over the kingdom of Judah. Lachish was an important city in Judah, second only to Jerusalem. In 701 BCE, the Assyrian army attacked the city from the south because of the steepness of the northern side, where the Jewish defenders situated themselves on the walls.
The first Jewish temple (Beit HaMikdash), was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem in 587 BCE. The embroidery is based on an image by an unnamed illustrator of Petrus Comestor's 'Bible Historiale', France, 1372.
Alexander III of Macedon (356-323 BCE), commonly known as Alexander the Great, created one of the largest empires in the ancient world. He conquered the Persians, who had earlier subjugated Palestine, but his conquest of Palestine was not violent. The land simply came into his hands with the rest of the Persian Empire.
The aqueduct at Caesarea is on the coastal plain south of Haifa. The town and aqueduct were built by Herod the Great around 25–13 BCE, as the port city Caesarea Marittima. It served as an administrative centre for the province of Judea in the Roman Empire
The Haram Ash Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque - the third holiest site in Islam – and the Dome of the Rock. The latter was initially completed in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad CaliphAbd al-Malik. It was built on the site of the Roman temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, which had in turn been built on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Khirbet El-Mafjar is an Umayyad hunting lodge 3 km north of Jericho, built in 734 CE. It is known as Hisham's Palace because it was thought to have been built by the Umayyad Caliph Hisham bin Abdul Malek (724-743 CE).
The mosaics at Khirbet El-Mafjar, built in 734 CE by the Umayyad Caliph Hisham bin Abdul Malek (724-743 CE), are fine examples of Umayyad period art. All of the mosaics are of very high quality. The most famous depicts the "tree of life", in the diwan of the bath complex.
The First Crusade began in 1099 when Pope Urban II called for a military expedition to help the Byzantines take control of the Holy Land. This inaugurated a period of two centuries in which Christians and Muslims often fought one another.
Salah ad Din Yusuf (Saladin) was a Kurd and the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria. His forces defeated the Crusaders in 1187 CE at the Battle of Hittin, and went on to re-capture Jerusalem, which had been seized by the Crusaders from the Egyptians 88 years earlier.
Jaffa oranges were cultivated by Palestinian farmers from the mid-19th century, and take their name from the port city of Jaffa. Mention of Jaffa oranges being exported to Europe first appears in British consular reports in the 1850s.
In 1917, the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, stated in a letter to Lord Rothschild, a British Jew, that the British government viewed with favour the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people in Palestine”,
In 1922, the newly-formed League of Nations decided the fate of the former Ottoman Empire. It ratified British control of Palestine in the form of a ‘mandate’. This document required Britain to lead Palestine towards independence, and create a ”national home” for Jews, and incorporated the wording of the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
Palestinian wedding ceremonies start the night before the wedding day, when women from the bride’s family and her friends gather to sing, dance, and apply temporary tattoos with henna, a plant dye. Older women decorate the skin of the bride and her guests with designs that often take hours to complete.
This panel displays a typical Palestinian country wedding with its rituals, dabkeh folk dance, the bride on a horse, and traditional music. The dabkeh dance is characteristic of the whole of the Levant, with the music and the dance steps differing slightly from place to place.
The Arab Revolt in Palestine between 1936 and 1939 was a nationalist uprising against the British administration. It demanded Arab independence and an end of the policy of open-ended Jewish immigration and land purchase. A general strike lasted from April to October 1936 and initiated a violent, peasant-led resistance movement in 1937.
This panel shows the growth in the population of Palestine between 1918 and 1947, and the gradually increasing proportion of Jewish immigrants who were referred to as 'Jewish Palestinians' during the British Mandate.
Olives and olive oil symbolize Palestinian land, identity and culture. The olive tree is seen by many Palestinians as a symbol of nationality and connection to the land, particularly due to the slow growth and longevity of the tree.
Safad is one of the oldest cities in historic Palestine, and has been home to adherents of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Archaeological excavations of the Crusader castle there uncovered remains of an Iron Age settlement. This panel was commissioned by the Sabbagh family. The words on the panel are from the poem "The Plea" by Sue Sabbagh.
Palestinians refer to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine as the Nakba (Catastrophe), illustrated by these maps. One shows the hundreds of Palestinian villages before 1948, the other map shows refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza in which expelled Palestinians were forced to live.
In the hope of returning to their homes, Palestinian refugees retain the keys to the houses from which they were forcefully displaced during the Nakba in 1948. The key symbolizes the inheritance of successive Palestinian generations of the right of return to their homes and their rejection of the policy of resettlement.
تاسيس الوكالة الدولية لإغاثة و تشغيل اللاجئين الفلسطينين، ١٩٤٩
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) was established in 1949. The following year, it began providing nutritional, health, and educational services to about 750,000 Palestine refugees displaced as a result of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Today, UNRWA provides services to 5 million Palestinian refugees.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was established in 1964 and has been the embodiment of the Palestinian national movement. It is an umbrella organization comprised of numerous organizations of the resistance movement, political parties, popular organizations, and independent personalities and figures from all sectors of Palestinian life.
During the 1967 war, Israel occupied what remained of Palestine. Hundreds of military checkpoints were established in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and in Gaza. These are used to entrench Israel’s occupation of all of historic Palestine. Movement of Palestinians is restricted within the occupied Palestinian territory, with dire consequences for access to education, health care, and the economy.
In his 2011 book Popular Resistance in Palestine, Mazin Qumsiyeh documents the many ways in which the indigenous people of Palestine have resisted oppression - from the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, and the Zionist colonial project.
Non-violent resistance has been far more common and enduring than violent resistance. It has involved petitions, strikes, demonstrations, civil disobedience, non-cooperation, boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Many Palestinian towns and villages have organised resistance initiatives, but the media have ignored most of these. This panel includes the names of some that have been reported.
Land Day, March 30, is an annual day of commemoration. In 1976, in response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for state purposes, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns, from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others arrested.
This was the first time since 1948 that Palestinian Arabs in Israel had organized a response to Israeli policies as a Palestinian national collective. Land Day is marked not only by Palestinian citizens of Israel, but also by Palestinians all over the world.
On 16 September 1982, right-wing Lebanese militiamen allied to Israel perpetrated the massacre of an estimated 2,000 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in South Beirut.
Those murdered were mostly women, children and elderly, and many of the victims’ bodies were found mutilated and raped. Soon after the killing began, Israeli forces surrounded Sabra and Shatila and provided bulldozers that were used to dispose of the bodies of the victims’ .
This panel shows school children being taught at home in Gaza after the Israeli occupation forces had cut electricity supplies and closed schools in response to the first Palestinian Intifada [uprising].
The Intifada, which began in 1987, was a protest against Israeli "beatings, shootings, killings, house demolitions, uprooting of trees, deportations, extended imprisonments, and detentions without trial".
حركة مقاطعة إسرائيل وسحب الاستثمارات منها وفرض العقوبات عليها، ٢٠٠٥-الان
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Campaign is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.
Israel is occupying and colonising Palestinian land, discriminating against Palestinian citizens of Israel, and denying Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call for restrictive measures against Israel urges compliance with international law.
BDS is now a vibrant global movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches and grassroots movements across the world. BDS challenges international inaction on behalf of Palestinian rights and against Israel's occupation.
This panel features products of Gaza – oranges, dates, fish and earthenware pots – and the 12th century Sayed al-Hashim Mosque (Masjid as-Sayed Hashim). It is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Gaza, located in the ad-Darraj Quarter of the Old City, off al-Wehda Street.
Israel has imposed movement restrictions on the Gaza Stripsince the early 1990’s. Restrictions intensified in June 2007, following the election of Hamas in 206. Israel then imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza, citing security concerns.
On 27 December 2008, Israel launched a 22-day military assault on Gaza, killing more than 1400 Palestinians and rendering homeless thousands who had left their homes before these were destroyed.
This new pattern of Palestinian suffering continues decades after the trauma of the Nakba in 1948.
The embroidery is based on a drawing by Peter Rhoades, an Oxford-based artist, and illustrates a family looking for their belongings in the rubble of Shejayiya, a neighbourhood of Gaza city at the eastern border of Gaza with Israel.
During the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza, four boys - Ahed Atef Bakr, Zakaria Ahed Bakr, Mohamed Ramez Bakr, and Ismael Mohamed Bakr - playing on the Gaza beach were killed by fire from an Israeli gunboat.
Israeli artist Amir Schiby created an image of the boys to honour their tragically short lives. It depicts a lone soccer ball in the surf, with the shadows of children playing nearby. He wrote on Facebook that the image was created "as a tribute to all children living in war zones."
This embroidered infographic displays data on all 6691 Palestinian and 228 Israeli deaths from Gaza-related hostilities between October 2000 and August 2016. The first column (black) displays deaths of Israeli military personnel and definite and possible Palestinian combatants. The other columns display deaths of civilians, from left to right adult men (deep gray), youths aged 10-17 (mid-gray), women (pale gray), and children under the age of 10 (white).
The Palestinian History Tapestry Project is indebted to B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) for providing these data.
The Great March of Return, a series of protests at points near the fence between Gaza and Israel, began on 30 March 2018. The protests were initiated by Palestinian activists independently from Palestinian political factions.