Quora requested me to answer this question of Mark L. Levinson and 3 others. How has Palestinian traditional clothing changed over time? My answer is here below and I would be happy to have all views and comments, experts in the subject included.
I am no expert in anthropology neither in sociology but I shall endeavour to give what I learned from the multitude of friends I encountered whilst staying and working in the Gulf countries.
The Palestinians like all other peoples around the Mediterranean basin, dressed throughout their history in a wide range of cloths, fabrics and designs. These had variations according to the specifics of the region or town and were of course under the influence of every power that ruled them to date.
There were times of rebellion and times of conciliation and / or reconciliation. For instance, during the times of the presence of the Jewish tribes loitering around well before the advent of nation states, one could not tell a Palestinian from a Jew; they had the same accoutrement. And we are told that they do share the same DNA characteristics.
This went on for some centuries but after the people of the latter as mesmerized by the power and wealth left for Europe in pursuit of the retreating Romans, the fashion had reverted back to that of that of the pre-Roman times.
The following Byzantine period shone little bit in the same way but in a much sterner extravagance. This was soon to be followed by the successive Arab Kalifates with a total departure from the above through a more oriental vista onto the world.
More recently, it is the Ottomans that left an indelible mark on the men and women of the region with their floating robes, headdresses, shoes, etc.
The British didn’t have time to bear any pronounced mark but they did influence the rich and the wealthy in opening the routes of emigration to Europe and later on to America.
The Israelis today being themselves from as diverse an origin cannot imprint a definite style. Could this be at the root of the on-going conflict? Europe is not that far off and its eastern and central regions from which most of these originate from come second to their western counterparts in terms of numbers. Hence a more adversarial attitude that is not conducive to a more effective influence.
Asia with all its ICTs is just around the corner. Social media carry the load in the latest fashion in investment ideas swaps.
America is on the other hand on the other side of the world, but Hollywood isn’t, with all those brave action films heroes in fatigues, baseball caps and all, lambasting each other mercilessly with oversized machines. Closer to us still, there is this multitude per the above, that is housed, looked after relatively well in all GCC countries, but that is another story that could be told on a different occasion.
Jordan, a country that is almost land locked but for an narrow opening onto the Red Sea at Akaba, has a semi desert geography. Water in the Jordan Valley does provide some but because of this need of water, for populations of either side of the valley, frictions are exacerbated between the neighbouring countries.
Historically, Jordan as we know it today, is the other part of the original 2 states solution resulting from the partitioning under British Protectorate of historical Palestine. It was meant to gather all Arab and other populations of the region into one state under one central government. These populations sedentary or nomads, from Mediterranean shores or from the interior steppes and desert regions were gathered together into the present day Kingdom of Jordan.
The following article of the World Bank recently published, illustrate this happening quite impartially. It is reproduced here for purposes of clarity that could eventually lead towards mature understanding between the 2 states. A related document is also published separately as a PDF.
Over the last 6 years, Jordan has seen a decline of its agricultural sector productivity as a result of prolonged cycles of negative growth and a decrease of productivity per worker. Regional conflict has also curtailed Jordan’s export opportunities substantially.
The Cost of Irrigation Water in the Jordan Valley, a Water Partnership Program funded report, looks at innovative ways to better manage water in agriculture in one of the world’s most water-stressed countries. The study looks at ways to improve irrigation services delivered by the Jordan Valley Authority, and efficiency of water use across different cropping patterns.
It also reviews mechanisms to improve financial cost recovery, through reducing costs and increasing revenues, to manage farmers’ demand for water. Findings reveal that significant cost savings can be made through a larger focus on energy efficiency programs and better asset management.
Toward improving revenues in a resilient way, the report combines tariff scenario analyses with cropping patterns to show how both farmers and the environment could benefit from shifts in the types of crops produced in some areas.
Growing less water-intensive crops would improve farm resilience to water scarcity in the long-run while providing an opportunity for more sustainable service delivery through higher tariffs – which would affect farmers who grow vegetables much less than those who grow the other major crops (citrus and banana).
An analysis of the distributional impacts of irrigation tariffs demonstrate they are relatively modest, while the number of farmers in the Jordan Valley is small, and the number of poor farmers even smaller, making it relatively easy for the government to provide support or subsidies to poor farmers in the Valley if tariffs were to increase.