The War on Panties Continues

We’ve already written about the women of Palestine’s proclivity for provocative panties. While that post did raise the ire of some, I enjoyed writing it because it provided insight into some of the more relatively banal realities of Palestinian culture. It was humanizing to know that despite all the hullabaloo, people still share the same concerns across cultural barriers: as Tom Robbins put it, “Who knows how to make love stay?”

Robbins’ solution included the following exhortation: “Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.” Nice. But in Palestine, and particularly in Gaza, the solution to this conundrum has traditionally been fancy, almost outrageous panties as a fundamental part of every Palestinian bride’s boudoir.

This traditional aspect of Palestinian culture is now under attack by the sticky wickets over at Hamas. The ruling strongmen of Gaza, as part of a new modesty drive, have decided to target women’s underwear and have ordered lingerie shops to display more modesty:

A week after banning women from smoking water pipes in public places, the Hamas-run police force has told stores selling women’s underwear to remove scantily-clad mannequins and any posters of racy undergarments… “These measures have stemmed from complaints and pressure by ordinary people. They have to do with upholding our traditions,” police spokesman Ayman Al-Batniji said Wednesday.

Apparently, these efforts, as well as the recent banning of public female nargillah smoking, shutting down by police of a hip hop concert and attempts to get female lawyers and students to wear traditional Muslim clothing are part of an attempt to mollify conservative Islamic factions that have accused Hamas of failing to sufficiently uphold Islamic Sharia law.

But no one thinks about the detrimental effect this will have on the birthrate and domestic Palestinian cohesion. Why doesn’t anyone think about the children? Oh the humanity. In any case, most Palestinians voted for Hamas for political rather than religious reasons and this drive, like the others mentioned, will in all likelihood fail due to lack of popular support.


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Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.