Farm Against Apartheid
With rapidly escalating levels of settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to participate in its 2008 Olive Harvest Campaign.
The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted and burned by the Israeli military and settlers, harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance. 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.
Palestinian communities are inviting internationals to support and show solidarity with this resistance by working in the olive groves with them. By doing so, activists can reduce the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers or army through non-violent intervention and documentation.
The Human Rights Group B’Tselem recently issued a report detailing the rise in settler violence, describing it as “reflect[ing] a sharp increase in reports of such violence, and represent[ing] a peak to an escalation that has been underway over the past few weeks“. Violence has been particularly concentrated around the Yitzhar and Bracha settlements in the Nablus region. This area will therefore be the focus point for this year’s olive harvest campaign.
The campaign will begin on the 15th October and run for approximately 6-8 weeks, depending on the size of the harvest.
The ISM will be holding 2 day training sessions every Wednesday and Thursday. Training is mandatory for all internationals wishing to participate in the campaign. Please contact [email protected] for further information.
In addition to the olive harvest, there will also be other opportunities to participate in grass-roots, non-violent resistance in Palestine.
For example, the ISM has been active with the village of Ni’lin, supporting its non-violent resistance to the construction of the Apartheid Wall that will annex much of its land. Demonstrations have been continuing for several months now and Israeli attempts to crush this popular resistance have proved murderous. Two boys, aged 10 and 17, were killed by the Israeli army while they were protesting construction of the Apartheid Wall.
With the recent Israeli orders to use live ammunition against demonstrations close to the apartheid wall, unless there are internationals or Israelis present, an international presence is vital to help protect the basic rights of Palestinians to non-violent protest.
There are also regular non-violent demonstrations, such as in Bil’in, al-Ma’sara and al-Khader.
Come! Bear witness to the suffering, courage and generosity of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.
Experiencing the situation for yourself is vital to adequately convey the reality of life in Palestine to your home communities and to re-frame the conflict in a way that will expose Israel’s apartheid policies; creeping ethnic cleansing in the West Bank as well as collective punishment and genocidal practices in Gaza.