A massive keffiyeh, said to be the world’s largest, was unveiled this week at a ceremony at a soccer stadium in a southern West Bank town near Hebron.
A keffiyeh, a checkered scarf, is considered a national Palestinian symbol. Former Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat frequently donned the article of clothing on his head.
Palestinian students, officials and local leaders participated in the ceremony in Dura, a town south of Hebron, on Wednesday to unveil the keffiyeh, which the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa measured at 3,000 square meters.
The Wafa report said that the scarf was the largest in the world. It also said that students in Dura collected individual keffiyehs, which were sent to factories in Hebron to turn them into one large piece.
A similar initiative took place in November 2018, which resulted in the creation of a 1,400-square meter keffiyeh, Ramzi Qawasmi, an official in the PA Education Ministry, told Wafa.
A sign welcoming Palestinians to the ceremony in Dura said the large scarf unveiled on Wednesday was to “immortalize the memory of the bearer of the keffiyeh, the late Yasser Arafat.”
While large numbers of Palestinians view Arafat as the father of Palestinian nationalism who put the Palestinian cause on the world’s agenda, many Israelis consider him a terrorist with blood on his hands.
Arafat was a founder of Fatah, a group that launched many attacks against Israel and Israelis in the second half of the 20th century, but he later agreed to the Oslo Accords, agreements between Israel and the Palestinians signed in the 1990s.
Today, Fatah is a political party led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas who has frequently eschewed violence.
Qawasmi said the Palestinians hope to create a 5,000-square meter keffiyeh in 2020.
“Our message is the Palestinian keffiyeh is a symbol of power and pride and a symbol of prisoners and martyrs,” he told Wafa. “We must preserve it.”
A significant number of Palestinian prisoners as well as many of the Palestinians who the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership refers to as “martyrs” were involved in violent and lethal terrorist attacks against Israelis.