The UAE is a diverse hub of over 200 nationalities all living together in the safety and privilege that life in the Emirates affords us. But today, we honour the Arabic diaspora of Palestinians, whose country has not enjoyed the same peace and quality of life. The purpose of this article is not to discuss the ‘what’s’ and never-ending ‘why’s’ of the Palestinian struggle, but to shine a light on the rich and beautiful heritage of a land that birthed kings, raised civilisations and gives the world some of the best olive oil we’ve ever tasted!
Home Club ME is proud to present Palestinian owned businesses and initiatives based in the UAE who share their magic with us all, through goods that carry the traditions and stories as old as time itself, some of whom are giving back to that narrative by donating proceeds to the preservation of the people of Palestine.
So, whilst iconic buildings may not light up for Palestine and there is no ‘mark yourself safe’ button on FB for the people of Gaza, remember that you can always protest with your purchasing power – #savepalestine.
JENIN.AE – OLIVE OIL
Some of the oldest olive trees in Palestine have been nourishing the region and those who walked it, like Jesus (excuse the shameless namedrop), for over 3000 years. They’re extremely significant to the history and future of Palestine – featuring in the patterns of their textiles, used as a prophetic medicine and extremely delicious when pressed into oil and soaked up with bread!
Jenin is just one of the UAE’s suppliers of olive oil who imports and sells this elixir of life straight from the Khatib family’s groves in Palestine, reviving & preserving age-old traditions for each harvest.
Our olive trees are family heirlooms inherited from one generation of the Khatib family to the next… At present, four generations of the Khatib family plant, tend to and harvest the olive trees together in a communal effort. Every single olive is hand-picked and cold-pressed locally in Jenin within hours of harvest, giving our olive oil its organic and fresh taste.
Jenin has recently launched an extended range of food products including Sumac, Zaatar blends and other staples that are all sustainably sourced from their groves and surrounding fields.
IG: @jenin.ae (orders can be placed by IG messaging or by calling / Whatsapping at +971-50-188-3444.)
CONCEPTS BY MASAHA – ART PRINTS
Many words come to mind when you hear the mention of ‘Palestine’; occupation, struggle and oppression are sadly some of them. But Palestine in general, and Palestinians in particular, are so much more than that; they are creators, innovators, visionaries and artists. And tragically, they are largely unknown.
Concepts by Masaha acts as a platform for Palestinian artists and brands to promote, showcase, and sell art prints and products (such as tote bags, cushion covers, etc) that its founder, Miral Tamimi, feels aptly represents the Palestine she knows and longs after. Every brand and item showcased by Masaha has a story and the people behind them are the embodiment of the Palestinian spirit, whilst their creations are the canvas on which they express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
IG: @conceptsbymasaha – (orders can be placed by IG messaging and are available to be shipped) worldwide)
HOMEGROWN PALESTINE – SOCIAL ENTERPRISE REVIVING PALESTINE
Homegrown Palestine came to fruition (pun intended) during one of the most exciting times of the year in Palestine – harvest season. Working with small-scale farmers in the outskirts of Ramallah, the Founder started her brand by importing and selling olive oil right here in the UAE. However, the driving force behind Homegrown Palestine has since been propelled into action.
Fuelled from her yearning to share Palestine with the world and what its people have to offer in their talent and craftsmanship, the Founder uses Homegrown Palestine to support other Palestinian owned businesses and reinvest into her homeland. A great example of which can be found in the yoga mat and bag straps made from the traditional Kouffeyeh and embroidered fabrics sourced directly from Ramallah. These are produced by women at the Amari Refugee Camp through an initiative started by Sarab, a Palestinian American who moved to Ramallah with her family. You will also find works by the talented Palestinian artist, Shireen Salman, based out of Jerusalem who gets her inspiration from the old city, its stories, history and heritage.
BLOOZTII – APPAREL
A brand new concept by the proud Palestinian sisters of Art by Ahlat, Noha and Wafa started their second business to commemorate the twenty-two cities of Palestine so that they may never be forgotten. Blooztii, the Palestinian Arabic word meaning ‘my T-shirt’, sells graphic printed Tees with the Arabic calligraphic Kufi script of the names Palestinian cities.
You can help resist the oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people by purchasing and wearing your Blooztii T-shirt today. Order by messaging via their Instagram account and give their other account ‘Art by Ahlat’ a look in too! Consider one of their stunning fluid art paintings for your next home warming gift, joining the likes of well known local influencer, Khaled Al Ameri, who already beat you to it by acquiring one himself.
DE L’ARTA – SUSTAINABLE SKINCARE
De L’Arta, the brainchild of UAE scientist duo Saeed & Lina, promotes Kind to the Earth – Good for the People, Science in everything they do. Working as a professor at the Khalifa University, Dr Lina F. Yousef is an American Palestinian who co-founded De L’Arta with her sister Sara Yousef and student, Saeed Al Khouri, through a shared belief in kind to the Earth – good for the people science. Together they work to unearth the power of the UAE’s natural resources through sustainable solutions.
Their first skincare collection is named after a plant native to the UAE with an extraordinary ability to survive the harshest of environments – the desert. The [Tq] collection uses the plant’s antioxidant-rich, drought resistant and salt tolerant properties to hydrate, nourish & protect your skin from premature ageing caused by environmental pollutants.
As a big fan of the brand and regular user of the [Tq] range, I can attest to the efficiency and quality of their products. Shop online via their website or from a Faces Beauty store near you and follow their Instagram account for exclusive promotions and the latest news.
QEDREH W MANSAF – PALESTINIAN CATERING
Qedreh w Mansaf is a Dubai based catering kitchen established in 2014 by two food passionate friends who wanted to cater to those, who like them, missed a taste of home. Specialized in Palestinian & Jordanian delicacies, they serve both individual meals as well as large sharing platters of Mansaf, Qedreh, Mosakhan, Maqlobeh, stuffed vine leaves, Ozi, Freekeh and many more.
For those who wish for the flavours of Palestine and the region, you can order from one of the twelve daily options through well-known delivery platforms such as Talabat, Zomato, Deliveroo & Careem! Alternatively, you can order by phone or via their website. Individual meal prices range between AED 42-56.
ART CENTRAL – ART & FRAMING STORE
Art Central is an independent and locally-owned art and framing store in Abu Dhabi and was founded by Talal Al Mukhalalati, a Palestinian artist, whose own journey with art started when he was just 15 years old creating art on the roof of his home in Gaza. He eventually moved to Abu Dhabi in 1981 where he continued to paint, expressing his solidarity with Palestine through artworks that reflected the daily conflicts he witnessed growing up. With this life-long passion for art and painting, Talal wanted to create an art space that provided high-quality affordable artworks for the community.
Their first branch opened in 2016 in Reem Island’s centre, Boutik Mall, and he has since opened his second branch in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub of Saadiyat Island, Manarat Al Saadiyat. Art Central displays and sells a lot of Palestinian-inspired artworks, including Talal’s own pieces.
A firm favourote with UAE residents, Mama’esh serves authentic Palestinian food and offers a homely vibe to diners. Team Home Club ME have yet to visit, but have heard so much about this restaurant, it is on our list to visit very soon and should be on yours too. Check out the branches here.
We’d also like to highlight some of the businesses owned by Palestinian UAE Residents as well as those businesses who are actively supporting Palestine to promote a healthy and more ethical economy all round.
Way with Words Translation Services – Owned by Rima Youssef
Website: www.waywithwords.ae .
HAK Technology Hub – An IT Consultancy and Software Services Company recently launched by Hanaa Abou-Khreibeh
Yanzo – The on-demand Dubai based virtual personal assistant powered by Whatsapp, co-founded by Tarek Osman.
Freelance Graphic Designer – Mohammad Al-Masri, currently working remotely from the Gaza strip.
Exhale – Fashion with a conscious, and a statement! They donate proceeds of sales to a registered charity. Checkout their Keffiyehs and urban streetwear featuring the Palestinian map.
Reel Palestine – Reel Palestine is an annual film festival in the UAE bringing Palestinian stories in the artistic form of independent and alternative cinema. First held in 2015, Reel Palestine is ever growing as a result of the labor of love driven by the community for sharing stories and heritage primarily through film. Volunteer driven, the organization has held 7 festivals to date, screening over 130 films across the UAE and with two international events today, reaching an audience of 17,500 people.
Let us raise the voices of the muted and support the BDS movement by creating our own stream of ethical economy. Feel free to drop any more suggestions of Palestinian owned businesses, allies, or initiatives in our comments section.