SALFIT, Wednesday, October 20, 2021 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said today during an olive picking event in the north of the West Bank that the olive tree symbolizes resistance in the face of settler colonialism.
Speaking while picking olives with local residents in the city of Salfit that his government will do all it can to help the farmers sustain on their lands.
“The olive tree symbolizes our resistance in the face of settler colonialism. We're in Salfit today to pick olives with our people here: we affirmed the government's commitment to exerting all possible efforts to support the farmers' steadfastness in Salfit and all of Palestine,” said the Prime Minister, explaining that since the Israeli occupation started in 1967, Israel uprooted more than 2.5 million trees in Palestine, including 800,000 olive trees.
“This shows that Israel wants to uproot not only the people from their lands and homes, but also the trees," he said.
"The attacks on the trees, the stones and the people in Palestine were on the agenda of the (United Nations) Security Council this week," said Shtayyeh. “Our battle with the occupation is on the ground and our battle is a battle of steadfastness.”
The olive harvest season is meant to be an annual celebratory time in Palestine. However, the joyful time has become overshadowed by Israeli land restrictions and brutal settler attacks.
Settlers have recently stepped up their attacks against olive harvesters throughout the West Bank.
Over 9,000 olive trees have been destroyed in the West Bank since August 2020, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which called on Israel to ensure safe, timely, and adequate access for Palestinians to their olive groves in the occupied West Bank.
With more than 12 million olive trees planted across 45% of the West Bank’s agricultural land, the olive harvest constitutes one of the biggest sources of economic sustainability for thousands of Palestinian families.
According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory, the olive oil industry supports the livelihoods of more than 100,000 families and accounts for a quarter of the gross agricultural income of the occupied territories.