Palestinians have used the watermelon in various forms of expression, such as art, graffiti, poetry, and protests, to show their identity, culture, and aspirations for freedom and justice.
Israel-Hamas war: Israeli troops take over Gaza Parliament building
The origins of the watermelon as a symbol of Palestinian solidarity can be traced back to the aftermath of the Six-Day War in 1967, as reported by TIME. This conflict resulted in Israel’s control over Gaza and the West Bank. In response to this occupation, the Israeli government prohibited the display of the Palestinian flag in these territories.
In an ingenious act of defiance, Palestinians turned to the watermelon, which, when cut open, revealed the same colors as their flag – a silent yet powerful form of protest against the ban. This creative use of the watermelon allowed Palestinians to subtly express their national identity and resistance.
The prohibition on the Palestinian flag was eventually lifted in 1993 through the Oslo Accords, a set of agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). However, the watermelon had already established itself as a poignant symbol of Palestinian solidarity and resilience during this challenging period.
Symbolism of colors
The watermelon, when sliced open, reveals the same colors as the Palestinian flag: red, black, white, and green. Each color on the flag has its own significance: green represents the land and agriculture, black symbolizes the dark periods of the Palestinian history, white stands for peace, and red signifies the bloodshed in the struggle for freedom. The watermelon, with its natural embodiment of these colors, becomes a powerful symbol of Palestinian identity and resilience.
The employment of the watermelon emoji in social media conversations is an example of “algospeak,” a term TechCrunch defines as “coded euphemisms used online” to circumvent content filtering systems. This practice involves using seemingly innocuous symbols or language to convey messages that might otherwise be flagged or censored by automated moderation tools.