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HomeGeopolitical CompassThe LevantHow a Palestinian shoemaker started the West Bank’s only mask factory overnight

How a Palestinian shoemaker started the West Bank’s only mask factory overnight

Author: Suha Arraf

Affiliation: +972 Magazine 

Organization/Publisher: +972 Magazine

Date/Place: March 23, 2020/The Palestinian Occupied Territories

Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 876


Keywords: Palestine, Coronavirus, Masks.


This article is about the story of Amjad Zaghir, a shoe-factory owner in Hebron, who has become the only mask manufacturer in Palestine after the outbreak of the COVID-19. When Zaghir heard about the outbreak reaching Bethlehem, he started to look for ways to make face masks himself. He started by purchasing a mask and scrutinizing its design. He consulted pharmacists and sewing workshops on how to recreate the product. His attempts to use his own shoemaking sewing technique, using the dry-cleaners iron, and then ironing the mask material by himself all failed. The material could not withstand the heat. After numerous trials and errors, he innovated a way to create the perfect mask. Due to the high demand, Zaghir’s masks sold out rapidly and he had to hire more people to help him. By doing so, Zaghir professes, he has not only created a steady business for himself but also ensured a source of employment for the local community. He supplies the masks to government departments, pharmacies, hospitals and vendors. He aims to increase production quality from 5000 to 100,000 masks per day as his business attracts customers from the Gulf countries, Canada and even Israel. However, due to a deficit in labor and the material being sourced from Turkey, another coronavirus-hit country, production hasn’t been optimal. Still, Zaghir perseveres and is confident that his distinct masks will keep being produced and the governmental authorities will give clearance to the import of the mask fabric from Turkey. Zaghir prides himself on creating such distinct masks that people will recognize as having been produced in Hebron.

By: Sahar Sadiq, CIGA Research Intern



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