Palestinian fruit and its symbolism

This article is also available in: Italiano

Let’s discover together the history and symbolism of Palestinian fruit, specifically: watermelon, orange, olive and aubergine

The watermelon

The watermelon is probably the fruit that represents Palestine most of all and this is mainly due to the colours: white, black, red and green, the same as the Palestinian flag. It is no coincidence that, starting from 1967, the year in which Israel placed all the Palestinian territories under its control, preventing the use of the national flag, the watermelon has become a symbol capable of stemming censorship, spreading in every field of Palestinian culture.

4 Palestinian fruits
Khaled Hourani’s watermelon

This phenomenon continues today more than ever also due to the censorship carried out by the Israeli government and the main social networks.

The orange

Unlike the watermelon, the orange is linked above all to the period before the birth of Israel and this is because oranges were for centuries one of the most appreciated and exported Palestinian goods; Jaffa oranges, in particular, are said to be the best in the world.

Palestinian fruit
Oranges in a painting by the great Palestinian painter Sliman Mansour

It was the great writer Ghassan Kanafani who made it a true symbol of Palestinian exile, who in 1962 published “The Land of Sad Oranges”, in which one of the protagonists brings with him some oranges convinced that exile, an expectation which however will completely disregarded.

The olive tree and the olives

Olives are one of the products that most characterizes Palestine since the origins of its history and this, combined with the great longevity and resilience of these plants, has made them one of the most faithful companions of all the Palestinian people. This can be seen: in art, in cuisine, in literature and even in clothing, so much so that olive leaves are present on most Palestinian kefiehs.

Palestinian fruit

Unfortunately, also by virtue of their deep connection with Palestinian culture and economy, Israeli settlers are increasingly deliberately destroying these magnificent plants in order to cause damage to both the heart and the wallet.


Compared to other fruits, the eggplant is certainly the one that is most closely linked to adaptability and cooking and this is due both to its great ability to grow almost anywhere and to the thousand ways in which it can be consumed, giving a taste of home even to a long exile.

Palestinian fruit
The legendary Battir eggplants

This element can be seen very well in a work by Edward Said, “After the Last Sky”, unpublished in Italy, where the taste of Battir aubergines is particularly celebrated, so good that they were declared a UNESCO heritage site together with the village itself.

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