Olive harvest program 24th October 2020 - 1st November 2020
The olive harvest time in Palestine is a wonderful time for a visit. The trees are full of ripe olives and in solidarity with the Palestinian land owners we will be part of this traditional experience. You can either climb a tree or work down on the ground. We collect the olives on the tarps and then in buckets and bags. We will have traditional Palestinian lunch on the fields and we will visit an olive press. Besides volunteering on the land you will have the chance to discover Palestine and travel around with your guide Baha, to understand the reality of the geo-political situation. There are excursions to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Lifta, Hebron and the South Hebron hills, Ramallah (the Arafat Museum) and Nabi Saleh, known for its continuous non violent resistance.
The olive harvest season that was once a safe and joyful time has become a stark reminder of the reality of the occupation, land theft and destruction which the people of Palestine face every day. During this season Israeli attacks on farmers and trees increases. Families separated from their olive groves by the Wall, settlements, settler ‘only’ roads, and military security zones are stark reminders of their loss and the force used to remove them from their land, up root their trees and orchards and wipe out their presence and identity. The olive tree planting and the olive harvest seasons are ideal opportunities for people from around the world to visit Palestine, stand in solidarity with its people, and help to secure the land and its resources and bounty for future generations of Palestinians.
Although considered a sacred tree to all the major religions rooted in Palestine: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the very existence of this tree has been under constant threat which continues through to this day. As a part of a systematic programme to eliminate Palestinian identity and their presence on the land, the Israeli authorities, including the Israeli government, military and the Israeli settler colonialists, have destroyed over 800,000 since the Israeli occupation of 1967.
What are we going to do?
We will work with and have the opportunity to live amongst people in these communities, supporting four families who have olive fields within the proximity of Israeli settler colonies, near military outposts, and ‘Israeli only’ bypass roads; or have olive fields that the families cannot access or visit because of Israeli restrictions. However, you can reach these fields and ensure that the olives are safely harvested contributing to the economic well-being of the families and communities.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about Palestine’s past and present, its refugees living both in and outside of Palestine, life under military occupation, Palestinian political prisoners, and get a taste of Palestinian life.
Why should we come?
All our programes provide a unique opportunity to learn about Palestine and the lives of its people living under one of the world’s longest hostile military occupations of the 20th and 21st centuries (48 years and counting!). Increasingly, Palestine is covered in social and mainstream media, yet many people do not get the full picture -- this is the opportunity to learn more and to share what you see and learn when you return home. The combination of learning, witnessing and working alongside families will guarantee you the best introduction to Palestine you can hope for.
One of the most important roles you play during your visit as that of a witness. From experience, we have observed that Israeli settlers and soldiers behave differently in the presence of ‘internationals’ which contributes to a greater sense of safety felt by Palestinians. They feel more assured in the knowledge that they, and their plight under occupation, are not being ignored – that they are not invisible. Importantly, your help with the olive harvest really makes a difference to families during a period of intense work – often more than they can manage on their own, particularly with Israeli restrictions on the numbers who can access their land. Imagine the difference your efforts will make to a family of a few people with limited time and access to their land and orchards – it is a significant contribution!
What should we bring to wear?
Palestine is a beautiful country and autumn is no exception with its blue skies, warming sun which will catch the fading of green on the hills and valleys (called wadis) from the heat of the summer. Come prepared with shoes appropriate for unpaved agriculture land and walking tours in towns and cities.