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Olive Harvest 2006

Your presence is needed for the Olive Harvest 2006 in Palestine!

Palestinian communities are calling for the presence of international activists to support them in the 2006 Olive Harvest. Throughout the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian land continues to be stolen for illegal Israeli colonies and the Apartheid Wall as well as settler roads, checkpoints, and closed military zones.

Since October 2000, hundreds of thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted, or burned by the Israeli military and Israeli settler colonists. The olive tree has been a native symbol for Palestinians for hundreds of years. As well as a source of livelihood and a symbol of the people’s bond to their land, the olive tree is also a powerful symbol of cooperation between peoples.

Cooperative actions between internationals and Palestinians have concentrated around the olive tree. Palestinian communities remain steadfast and are strengthened in refusing to give up their olive harvest. The solidarity offered by international activists enables many families to pick their olives and stay in their communities.

ISM will be providing training, media and legal support to international activists in response to the demand from local communities. Activists will use their creativity, determination and courage to support these communities at this important time of year. There is an especially big need for the campaign this year, as a big harvest is expected. Ground work has been done by ISM activists in the Nablus region on making contacts with at least 18 villages in the region who would like to have international accompaniment because of dangers they will face from Israeli colonists, and obstruction and harassment from the Israeli army. Many of these villages have worked with internationals before.

An international presence makes it less likely that Palestinian farmers and landowners will be met with brutal and sometimes lethal violence as they care for their land and harvest their olives.

The Olive Harvest Campaign, part of the people’s non-violent resistance to the occupation, will begin 15th October and last until the middle of December. Some villages have expressed a desire for internationals from mid-October although most villages we have contacted will start picking after the three day religious holiday of Eid il Fitr, which is expected to be from October 25-27. The majority of villages will be picking during November. The first Olive Harvest orientation and training will be held on October 15th and 16th and will continue every Sunday and Monday until the end of the Olive Harvest. During Eid il Fitr there will be no olive picking. Olive harvesting is expected to be finished by the middle of December. Please contact Hisham at hishamjamjoum@yahoo.com for questions about training.

Please register to join us at: palsolidarity.org
For more information, please contact info@palsolidarity.org
or see: palsolidarity.org

Important Notes

  • It is recommended that you stay for at least two weeks, though if this is not possible, your presence anytime throughout the duration of the campaign is appreciated.
  • As a guide, it will cost you approximately $100 per week for food, accommodation and travel in Palestine.
  • The two-day training and orientation is mandatory for activists participating in the non-violent resistance including the Olive Harvest.

Updated 14th September: the paragraph in this call about dates has been updated and clarified.

Ongoing Campaigns

In the meantime, we also invite internationals to join our on-going efforts to support Palestinian non-violent resistance all over the West Bank. In recent months Israeli aggression has increased in the West Bank whilst more international attention has been focused on Israeli atrocities in Lebanon and Gaza.

Palestinians in the Tel Rumeida district of Hebron suffer some of the worst settler violence in the West Bank. There has been an international presence in Tel Rumeida for 1 1/2 years. Activists who have attended ISM training have a permanent presence in the international apartment in Tel Rumeida. The work there involves accompanying Palestinian schoolchildren to school and protecting them from and documenting attacks by settlers. Internationals also maintain a presence on the streets in the settlement to document and intervene in the regular settler attacks on local Palestinian residents.

Israeli settler colonists in other areas in the Hebron region also frequently attack and intimidate Palestinian farmers. This involves physical assaults or the destruction of farmland. As with the Olive Harvest the presence of internationals enables farmers to work their land. This summer, internationals supported farmers in this way around Beit Omar village. Although the Wall has been largely built in the northern West Bank and around Jerusalem, land is currently being destroyed for the route of the Wall in the south of the West Bank, in the Bethlehem and Hebron regions. Internationals have supported weekly demonstrations against the Wall this summer in Al Khadr village west of Bethlehem as well as participating in actions around Karme Zur settlement between Halhoul and Beit Omar. There will be continuous non-violent resistance to land theft and the destruction of olive trees, vines and other agricultural land in the Hebron region.

In Bil’in village west of Ramallah, the illegal Apartheid Wall has stolen over half of the village’s agricultural land. Internationals have supported their 1 1/2 year struggle against the Wall which has focused around weekly Friday demonstrations. Internationals aim to maintain a permanent presence in the village which has been targeted by Israeli forces for its non-violent resistance.

Training Dates

We hold trainings every Sunday and Monday if there are at least 5 people. Please contact Hisham at hishamjamjoum@yahoo.com for questions about training.

Update, 7th October

See this post on our site for a more detailed plan for the Olive Harvest 2006.

Update, 16th October

Read about the recent ruling in the Israeli Sureme Court that orders the Israeli military and police to protect Palestinian farmers from settlers. See coverage of the ruling in the Israeli media: in Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post. See also this investigative article in Ha’aretz which brings up evidence that suggests the Israeli army will not live up to their promises. Compare also with reports from the early Olive Harvest (i.e. before Eid, which is likely to be either the 22nd or 23rd of October).