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How to pick up a girl in occupied territory

These quips may not actually get you a Palestinian girl (or guy), but they shed light on how humor helps ease the hardship of daily Palestinian life.

By Staff writer / November 3, 2013

Palestinian women walk past as Israeli soldiers stand guard in the West Bank city of Hebron September 23.

Darren Whiteside/Reuters



“Let’s make more babies, Israel absolutely hates that.”

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Jerusalem bureau chief

Christa Case Bryant is The Christian Science Monitor's Jerusalem bureau chief, providing coverage on Israel and the Palestinian territories as well as regional issues.

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That may not be a popular pick-up line in most bars, but it’s worth a try in the West Bank.

A new wave of tongue-in-cheek #PalestinianPickUpLines are making the rounds on Twitter, as they do periodically, adding to compilations such as this one from 2012. The pick-up lines are definitely worth a laugh, but they also point to different ways that Israel’s control over their daily lives grates at Palestinians – and how humor helps them stay afloat.

Some of the lines refer to Palestinian loss of territory since 1948, when Israel declared independence according to the 1947 United Nations partition plan, and an estimated 700,000 or more Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes by Israeli troops amid fighting on both sides. “you're the prettiest thing iv[e] seen since 1948,” wrote @asharasif.

Others get to the heart of internal Palestinian divisions, such as the overriding one between the secular Fatah faction that dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and the Islamist Hamas movement that’s been in charge of Gaza since 2007. “Our love is like Romeo & Juliet; Fatah & Hamas,” wrote @YasirTineh, a driving force behind #PalestinianPickUpLines.

Whatever the frustrations of daily life caused by Israeli-Palestinian tensions as well as internal Palestinian issues, love may help ease the situation, as @drmbaraka suggested: “I never notice the Electricity cut offs when you’re around.” Gaza in particular has struggled to keep the lights on, which requires Hamas to cooperate with both the PA and, indirectly, Israel, which supplies much of the electricity.

More realistic, at least outside the Ramallah bubble, might be this dry one from @deannaothman “Hey girl. How's about [sic] my mom gives your mom a call to arrange an awkward meeting where you serve me shaay [tea]?” or @amg9170: “my mom saw you at a wedding, now my dad wants to talk to your dad.”

In some rural areas, still staunchly patriarchal, the dads really do have to agree before there will be any more weddings, so pick-up lines may only get you so far.


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