RAMALLAH, Thursday, November 05, 2020 (WAFA) - Through its Civil and Democratic Participation of Palestinian Youth Programme, ActionAid Palestine (AAP) supported Palestinian youth initiatives seeking to help Palestinian farmers and show solidarity with them during olive harvest in the Bethlehem-district village of Walajeh and the Tulkarem-district village of Shweikah.
The programme, implemented in partnership with the Alternative Information Center (AIC) and Al-Awda Center for Childhood and Youth, also aims to promote the role of youth in strengthening the resilience of farmers in their lands.
These advocacy activities implemented by the youth aim to highlight the effect of Israeli colonial settlements and barrier on the lives of Palestinian and their livelihoods. They also shed the light on the humanitarian consequences on farmers due to restricted access to land, confiscation of water sources, restricted access to markets, livelihoods and effect of settlers' violence on security and physical safety of farmers.
The 24 attacks documented by OCHA, which took place between October 7th and 19th, resulted in the injury of 23 Palestinian farmers, the damage and burning of over 1,000 olive trees, and the theft of large amounts of produce.
Olive products are an essential component of Palestinian culture and economy. According to Palestinian official figures, there are more than 12 million olive trees planted across the West Bank, making the olive harvest “one of the biggest sources of economic sustainability for thousands of Palestinian families.”
The olive oil industry reportedly supports the livelihoods of more than 100,000 Palestinian families and accounts for a quarter of the gross agricultural income of the occupied territories.
Raneem , a Palestinian young woman who volunteered in olive picking in Walajeh, said: “this participation is important since it strengthens our affiliation with land. Land and olives symbolize our case, which the Israeli occupation tries to damage using different means.”
Reflecting on his participation in helping farmers pick their olives, Muhannad, a Palestinian youth, said: “We aim to strengthen the resilience of the Palestinian farmers and send a message stating that we are here to stay, and this is our land.”
Shareef Shaheen is a youth community activist from the south of West Bank. He also participated in the olive picking in Walajeh. Reflecting on his participation, he said: “we participate in olive harvest to support the residents of Walajeh and we are here to stay like the existence of olives.”