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PA minister: Israel steals Palestinian heritage

Nov. 2, 2010 10:54 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 3, 2010 9:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian Authority Minister of Culture Siham Barghouthi said Tuesday that his ministry was investigating Israel's theft of Palestinian heritage.

Palestinian culture must be preserved by organizing exhibitions and festivals to show that heritage claimed by Israel is actually Palestinian, Bargouthi said in an interview with Ma'an Radio.

A blue version of the keffiyeh, a scarf and a Palestinian national symbol, could be found in markets with a Star of David used instead of the traditional pattern, the minister noted.

Maha Saqa, director of the Heritage Conservation Center in Bethlehem, told Ma'an Radio that a country is an accumulation of its culture, and the theft of heritage should be examined. Israel had stolen Palestine's national food, clothes and the keffiyeh, she said, adding that the modified keffiyeh, bearing the Star of David, was used in European football stadiums.

The Israeli version of the scarf is popular on the political right in that country, and a settler leader said Wednesday that the Jewish people "are the indigenous nation of the land of Israel."

"Throughout the history of our exile from our homeland foreigners who have come and settled in our land have adopted some of our customs," David Ha'ivri said. "Since the re-establishment of the Jewish state this process has become dynamic and will surely be of great interest to anthropologists in the future who will set out to learn which part of the population had more influence in shaping the culture of the other."

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