9th September 2016 | International Solidarity Movement | Ramallah, occupied Palestine
Call to action: Olive Harvest 2016
At a time of increasing settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to participate in the 2016 olive-harvest on the invitation of Palestinian communities.
The olive tree, a national symbol for Palestinians, is an affirmation of Palestinians historical connection to their lands. Israeli Forces and settlers have tried in numerous occasions to disrupt this special relationsship between the Palestinians and this thousand-year old crop. Thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted and burned by Israeli settlers and the military, but Palestinians farmers refuse to be intimidated – under the Israeli occupation harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance.
Despite efforts by Israeli settlers and soldiers to prevent them from accessing their land, Palestinian communities have remained steadfast in refusing to give up their olive harvest.
In solidarity with Palestinians farmers, ISM volunteers help with the olive harvest each year. If you join ISM over the olive harvest you will work with other ISM’ers in Palestinian olive groves especially exposed to violence and harassment from Israeli settlers and military. Our presence can make a big difference. It has been proven in the past to deter the number and severity of attacks as well as harassment, hence supporting the Palestinians universal right to be and work on their lands. International solidarity activists engage in non-violent intervention and documentation and this practical support enables many families to pick their olives. In addition, The olive harvest also provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time with Palestinian families in their olive groves and homes, there is nothing like sipping tea under a olive tree after a long days work.
The harvest will begin in start-October and run until mid-November. We request a minimum 2 week commitment from volunteers but stress that long-termers are needed as well. We kindly ask that volunteers start arriving in the first week of October, so we are prepared when the harvest begins.
The ISM will be holding mandatory two day training sessions which will run weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Please contact [email protected] for further information.
In addition to the olive harvest, there will be opportunities to participate in grass-roots, non-violent resistance in Palestine.
ISM maintains a constant presence in Hebron, where settler harassment and violence is a regular occurrence. Lately, Israeli army violence has escalated for Palestinians living in proximity to the illegal inner-city settlement. Israeli forces have used the Palestinian neighborhoods for military training. Harassment, humiliations and violence is an almost daily occurrence. A valuable part of the ISM’s work in Hebron is to monitor checkpoints near Palestinian schools. In the morning and afternoon schoolchildren have to pass through the checkpoints, which often lead to violent situations. From time to time young Palestinian boys throw stones on the occupying forces, which leads to collective punishment by the Israeli Forces as they lob dozens of teargas canisters and stun grenades, onto the schoolchildren. ISM is present at these checkpoints to document these extremely violent responses to boys throwing pepples, and to serve as an protective presence.
ISM also has an apartment in Nablus from where we work on a number of projects including resisting demolitions in various villages, and supporting Palestinians resisting settler theft of their lands. In addition to these activities, we participate in the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum, where protesters face excessive force by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).
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 debate in a way that will expose Israel’s apartheid policies; creeping ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem as well as collective punishment and genocidal practices in Gaza.