The Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and its popular committees are coordinating 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, which will begin 15 October 2009.
The harvesting of the olives is becoming more difficult every year as farmers face an intensification of settler attacks, the confiscation, isolation and destruction of their lands, and continued closure and permit restrictions, all of which have led to the strangulation of Palestinian communities across the West Bank. Local farmers have refused to be forced off their land, and continue the harvest each year in the face violence and repression from both soldiers and settlers.
This year, we will be focusing our efforts again on various hot spots in the Nablus, Salfit, Qalqilya and Hebron districts. Last year, attacks on farmers were the worst in these areas, with dozens injured during 64 recorded attacks by soldiers and settlers (to see the full 2008 Olive Harvest Report, click here).
Attacks in these areas are not limited to the olive season. In the village of Borin, also near Nablus, settlers from Gilad Zoher burned 1,213 dunums of agricultural land in the beginning of June 2009 as soldiers and police stood by. The people of Borin are currently in the midst of weekly demonstrations, protesting the seizure of more agricultural dunums by setters from Bracha.
Wall construction this year has also severely affected farmers across the West Bank. In Qalqilya, the new path of the Wall south of the Alfe Menashe settlement will collectively isolate or destroy 2,500 dunums, 70% of which is planted with olive trees, from the surrounding Palestinian villages. In the village of Jayyus, hundreds of olive trees were uprooted for the new path of the Wall. Now more than 5,500 dunums of agricultural land remain isolated, forcing residents to rely on permits for access.
The collective efforts during the olive harvest, a vital season for Palestinian farmers and villages, have become a symbol for Palestinian steadfastness and solidarity. International volunteers are encouraged to join groups of Palestinian students and harvest olives alongside farmers and their families in the threatened villages.
For information on local and national activities, harvesting locations or general queries, please contact the Stop the Wall offices. Housing can be arranged for volunteers wishing to stay and join in a particular villageâs harvest.
The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign
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