Conducted in October every year, the olive harvest constitutes a critical source of livelihood for thousands of Palestinian families. With more than 12 million olive trees planted across nearly half of the occupied West Bank’s agricultural land, olive oil is not only central to Palestinian food security but is also a large part of their export economy. With the new olive harvest season Palestinians are facing more and more attacks by settlers, with added uncertainty due to the economic devastation caused by COVID-19.
For 19 years, Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) has been a leading organizer of Israeli volunteers to help Palestinian farmers in the West Bank, who face the threat of daily violence, harvest their olive trees. According to RHR, “This year we will be in the field, meeting farmers, helping them harvest olives, and fulfilling the commandment that: ‘You shall not destroy [a peoples’] trees by wielding an axe against them, for you may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down.'”
Every year dozens of Palestinian farmers are attacked and racist settlers destroy hundreds of their olive trees and other crops across the occupied West Bank, especially in the areas of Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Salfit. Thus far, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has documented at least 29 incidents linked to the 2020 olive harvest season, in particular in the northern West Bank. Of these incidents, 21 were perpetrated by settlers and three by Israeli armed forces.
The violations consist of physical assaults against Palestinians, Israeli volunteers and journalists, the theft of olives, the burning, cutting or uprooting of trees, as well as restricting the access of Palestinians to their fields.
The dates of the upcoming olive harvest and the locations will be announced closer to the start of the season in October. Daily departures will be at 06:30 from Gan Hapa’amon (Liberty Bell Park) in Jerusalem with a pick up at 08:00 from the Rosh HaAyin train station. Estimated daily return will be around 15:00.
For more details and registration: https://forms.gle/e1UFpWSrWn5a3VpYA