For the 13th year in a row, Stop the Wall and the Land Defense Coalition in collaboration with the Palestinian Farmers Union have conducted the “You Are Not Alone” campaign, the collective voluntary efforts to support Palestinian farmers during the olive harvest against Israeli aggression and land confiscation.
Under the slogan “You are not alone – Standing up to settler violence”, Stop the Wall announces the program for this year’s mobilization to protect the olive harvest and Palestinian rights. This year, the olive harvesting takes place in a moment of dramatic escalation of settler and military violence against Palestinian farmers and villages, and on their lands.
Along with the International Campaign to Stop the Jewish National Fund, Stop The Wall Campaign, the Palestinian Farmers’ Union, the Land Defense Coalition and the municipality of Aqraba organized a day of voluntary work to plant olive trees in Khirbet Twaiel, east of Aqraba in Nablus district. Khirbet Twaiel is targeted for destruction and evacuation by the occupation forces and is suffering repeated settler attacks. Last year, Israeli forces have come eight times to destroy houses and animals shelters in the community.
Last Saturday, in Surif, south of Hebron, another action of collective olive harvesting was organized. Many volunteers, including local farmers, international activists and a bus of volunteers from Acre, picked olives in burning sunshine. The farmers cultivating the land of Surif, near Hebron, can look back at a continuous and successful struggle for the rights to their land.
The Land Defense Coalition, a coordinating body of grassroots movements and organizations, announces the program of collective efforts to safeguard the annual olive harvest and are calling on volunteers to stand in solidarity with Palestinian communities and join in the harvest on October 10 until October 25, 2014.
The latest aggressive military attack on Gaza since 7th July 2014, increased a boycott of Israeli produce in the West Bank. The BDS (Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions) movement was founded in 2005, when more than 170 Palestinians civil society organizations called on people across the globe to hold Israel accountable and isolate it until it implements international law and ends its violations of Palestinian human rights.
The Stop the Wall Campaign, the Palestinian Farmers Union, the Land Defense Coalition and Palestinian activists from inside the Green Line organized last Friday a volunteer activity to plant 300 olive trees in the area of Makhrour, in the town of Beit Jala (Bethlehem district). The event brought together some 400 people of the town, volunteers and participants from different provinces of the West Bank, a member of the Legislative Council, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, and the mayor of Beit Jala, Dr. Nael Anton Salman.
Asmaa' Jaber Amed Blasmeh whose age is 72 years, lives in Al Sheab, a small community in Salfit area, since 54 years. That was when she was married to her husband Hajj Abu Hassan, who only few years earlier arrived there as a refugee from the destroyed village of Kafr Qare’a. Both went to Salfit to reside in the community of Al Sheab, where already other refugee families from the villages Salmah, Kafr Qare’a and Kafr Aana had found a space to live. The area in Al Izbat al Sheab that is owned by Hajj Abu Hassan and his wife Om Hassan is 7 acres of land.
Ten years ago, Israel started to build its apartheid Wall that effectively isolates much of the Palestinianolive groves and agricultural lands. The International court of Justice has declared the Wall illegal and defined the legal obligations of the international community to stop the Wall’s construction Last year the Israeli authorities announced to the United Nations their plans to ethnically cleanse Area C from Palestinians. This year they have effectively started to implement this plan – a combined action of administrative orders, military force and settler violence.
Around 80 volunteers attended a day of environmental and solidarity activities, organised by Stop the Wall, in the village of Dura al Qare’ in Ramallah district. The volunteers cleaned the water springs of the village and helped farmers irrigate their crops.
Around 160 Palestinian youths attended a day of voluntary activities in Wadi Qana, a valley in the Salfit district. Stop the Wall called for this activity in order to carry out environmental and agricultural work for the benefit of the Palestinian citizens and the surrounding landscape.
A group of more than 60 Palestinian youths participated in a trip to the village of al Walaja, to the west of Bethlehem, on Friday 15th June 2012 in order to reach out to the local community and to enhance the Palestinian presence in the area which has experienced much land confiscation, settler violence and repression by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) over the years.
Al-Walajah village is located to the southwest of the city of Jerusalem, with a population of about 2,500. In 1948, the al-Walajah people were displaced. Today, the village is threatened with total destruction as Israel continues to construct the Apartheid Wall directly through al-Walajah. On August 13, 2011, nearby villagers along with volunteers gathered at the old al-Walajah village to rebuild the abandoned houses after the 1948 Nakba and to honor the old land, on which ancient olive trees still grow.
Over the past year, Stop the Wall has been working with groups of youth to develop creative means of resisting the Wall and settlements, supporting activities in the Bethlehem and most in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan. The village is in the Salfit district, just north of the “Ariel Finger” settlements of Barqan, Qiryat Netafim and Revava.