A number of passersby stopped outside Skafi Bakery in central Gaza City, where Mohsen Skafi, 19, was creating large, thin circular shapes by quickly tossing and flipping dough before baking them on a saj oven. "Saj" bread, cooked on a convex metal plate heated over a fire, is part of Palestinian heritage. This type of bread is also known as "markouk" or "shrak" in the Gaza Strip.Then we hear from the "expert:"
Skafi's customer Abu Ahmed Rashid told Al-Monitor, “The good thing about saj bread is that it is not made in the bakeries’ corridors and rooms in the back, as the other types of bread. Rather it is made in special areas at the entrance of a bakery or on the sidewalk. The baker’s skills of rapidly flipping the dough between his hands without ruining it encourages people to buy it.”
Rashid said that his family eats saj bread instead of regular bread with all of their meals as a way to celebrate their Palestinian heritage.
...Housewife Samah Amoudi was among the customers waiting to buy taboon bread from Qayed. She told Al-Monitor, “What makes me buy the bread is the unforgettable taste. This is why I buy it every day.”
She said, “Taboon bread is part of the few heritage items that we are still fighting to preserve in Gaza. It tells us that ancient life in Gaza used to be beautiful.”
Nasser al-Yafawi, an expert on Palestinian history and heritage, spoke to Al-Monitor on the re-emergence of taboon and saj bread in Palestine. He said, “The Palestinian bread was first made with the emergence of the Natufian civilization in Palestine, nearly 10,000 years ago, when people used to place black stones inside a fire pit called 'malleh.' Once the fire was extinguished, the milled wheat mixed with small pieces of vegetables such as tomatoes and celery was placed on the hot stones. A few moments later, it would turn into bread.”There is no evidence of celery being used as food before the 9th century BCE, some 7000 years after this "expert" claims that it was incorporated into ancient "Palestinian bread."
Tomatoes were not introduced to the Middle East until the 19th century!
And, of course, most Palestinian Arabs are not descended from Natufians or Canaanites or Jebusites or any of the other nations they claim. They are, after all, Arabs - from Arabia (and many from elsewhere.) Their eating this bread shows how they are trying to take over a culture, not how they celebrate their own.
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