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Olive Harvest: Take your place in Solidarity with the Palestinians

Olive Harvest 2007: You Are Needed More Than Ever!

Photo by Asa Winstanley
Join Us in Palestine for the 2007 Olive Harvest Campaign! Palestinian farmers and agricultural organizations, in coordination with the International Solidarity Movement, the International Women’s Peace Service, and the Christian Peacemaker Team announce the 2007 Olive Harvest Campaign. The campaign will begin on October 16th, after the end of Ramadan, and will continue for six to eight weeks, depending on the size of the harvest.
Photo by Asa Winstanley
The Israeli government continues to seize Palestinian land throughout the West Bank to expand settlements and build its illegal annexation barrier. As this goes on, Palestinian communities continue to resist Israel’s attempts to cement its control of the West Bank and imprison Palestinians behind walls and fences.

The Olive Harvest is an annual affirmation of Palestinians’ historical, spiritual and economic connection to their land, and a
rejection of Israeli efforts to seize it. Palestinians are the indigenous people of this land who have farmed olives here for
thousands of years. The annual harvest is a symbol of life for Palestinian communities.

Agricultural productivity over the last seven years has decreased dramatically because of closures and sieges, which prohibit access to farms and markets. Israel’s barrier and increased settler attacks on farmers and their families in the fields have further diminished Palestinians’ ability to earn a living. Over half a million olive and fruit trees have been destroyed since September 2000. Palestinian agriculture is being destroyed by the policies of the Israeli government and the rights of Palestinians to their land and to a livelihood are being denied.

International and Israeli volunteers join Palestinians each year to harvest olives, in spite of efforts by Israeli settlers, soldiers and bulldozers to destroy this vital piece of Palestinian life.

How It Works

The Olive Harvest Campaign provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time with Palestinian families in their olive groves and homes. The presence of internationals during harvest time has proven in the past to help limit and decrease the severity of attacks. Last year (2006) was the first year since the beginning of the intifada that a farmer was not murdered while trying to harvest his olives. One farmer was severely beaten, and in that instance, no internationals or Israelis were present. Your presence makes all the difference in reducing the levels of violence Palestinians experience while standing up for their

After a two-day training session, volunteers for the Olive Harvest Campaign will stay in Palestinian homes or international apartments in West Bank communities and accompany Palestinian families to their olive groves to serve as witnesses to document and expose attacks by settlers — supported by the Israeli Army — on farmers and their families.

In addition to olive harvest, volunteers will have the opportunity to join Palestinians in nonviolent protests throughout the West Bank against the construction of the annexation barrier, settlements and settlement roads.

This 2007 Olive Harvest Campaign is part of the ongoing work of the International Solidarity Movement, a Palestinian-led movement comprising of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists working to raise awareness about the struggle for Palestinian freedom and an end to the occupation. ISM uses nonviolent, direct-action methods of resistance to confront and challenge the Israeli persecution of Palestinians. With your help and participation, we will expose the injustice of the Israeli occupation and send a message to the world that the occupation must end and the wall must fall!

For more information on preparation, travel and arrival in Palestine, please see the ISM Palestine website, www.palsolidarity.org/main/join/. ISM support groups located around the world can help answer your questions about the movement and Olive Harvest Campaign. Many will provide training sessions. For information on how to contact local ISM
support groups worldwide, please also see the ISM website.