For 19 years, the “You Are Not Alone Campaign” has been one of Stop The Wall’s core campaigns to support the steadfastness of Palestinian farmers in ‘Area C’. In September 2022 we started the latest campaign, organizing collective olive harvesting with the farmers during the harvest season. We continued with tree planting initiatives until end of March 2023.
The “You Are Not Alone Campaign” focuses on not leaving farmers, who are resisting the theft of their lands and settler attacks on a daily basis, on their own in this battle. Apartheid Israel has created multiple obstacles for the farmers to stop them from reaching their lands, in an attempt to alienate Palestinians from their lands to make it easier for Israel to confiscate them. Hence, volunteers from across the West Bank, come together to help them reach their lands and cultivate them.
In October, we supported farmers in harvesting their olive trees in the villages of Deir Al-Ghusoun, Kaffa, Shwaikeh, and Baqa Ash-Sharqiya in the Tulkarm district. Ar-Ras, Deir Istiya, and Eskaka in Salfit district. Sinjel and Deir Jrir in Ramallah district; and Burin in the Nablus district. Our efforts supported them in facing Israeli intimidation and attacks, especially during the harvest season. Apartheid Israel specifically attempts to break farmers’ steadfastness during the olive harvesting season, which traces back to the symbolism of olives and olive trees in the Palestinian struggle. As olive trees symbolize the Palestinian roots in their land. Hence, Israel’s uprooting of olive trees is also an attempt to uproot the indigenous Palestinian identity.
Moreover, towards the end of 2022 until the 47th Palestinian Land Day, Stop the Wall organized efforts by youth volunteers to help farmers reaching their lands, cultivating them, and planting trees in the villages of Sinjel, Dayr Jarir, Turmus Aya, and Al-Mughayyir (Ramallah district), Burqa, Burin and Asira Al-Qibliya (Nablus district), Izbit Shufa, Baqa Ash-Sharqiya (Tulkarm district), Susya (Masafer Yatta), Farkha (Salfit), Nahaleen, and Ghosh Abdeh (Bethlehem). This year, during the “You Are Not Alone Campaign” we planted 2000 olive trees and 3000 grape vines. The planting of trees as part of the Palestinian struggle is of specific importance; it is practiced by Palestinians as an opposition to the systematic uprooting of trees by Israel, aiming to keep Palestinians away from their land for easier annexation. Thus, we choose to support the farmers in planting trees, especially in Area C.
We conclude this year’s campaign while Palestinians are still being subjected to multiple crimes, including the annexation of land for the purpose of settlement expansion. Hence, people should not be alone in this fight. As Israel systematically individualizes the struggle by threatening people’s private properties, controlling the economic status of Palestinians, and creating different fragments in the Palestinian community, resisting settler colonialism and apartheid is a collective effort.