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On United Nations Day, UNRWA with sister UN agencies join Palestine refugee farmer in Beit Iksa for olive harvest

On United Nations Day, UNRWA with sister UN agencies join Palestine refugee farmer in Beit Iksa for olive harvest
On United Nations Day, UNRWA is joined by UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNOPS and UNESCO to stand in solidarity with the community in Beit Iksa for Olive Harvest (UNRWA photo)

JERUSALEM, Wednesday, October 26, 2022 (WAFA) - To mark the theme of United Nations Day 2022, “Nourishing Peace”, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and other UN agencies in the West Bank held an olive harvest event. UNRWA organizes this event every year in solidarity with Palestine refugee farmers, said an UNRWA press release.

Held this year in Beit Iksa village, northwest of Jerusalem, the event was attended by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in the West Bank, Adam Bouloukos, and more than 100 employees from UN agencies in the West Bank. The UN colleagues helped the Hababa family of 80 refugees with picking olives.

“To Palestinians, the annual olive harvest is of vital economic, social and cultural significance. Olive orchards represent nearly half of all cultivated land in the West Bank,” said Bouloukos. “Beit Iksa and the families here have been undergoing very challenging circumstances due to their isolated location. Over the years, Israeli land confiscation has resulted in the loss of tens of dunams of the village land, denying residents access to their basic livelihoods.”

The activity included a brief presentation by Beit Iksa mayor, Murad Zayedon on the challenges faced by refugees in the village in which he noted, “The suffering of Beit Iksa villagers is endless; no one is allowed to visit us in our village without prior coordination through the village council, this includes commodities and all of Beit Iksa needs. Even guests who visit us after coordination can’t stay later than 11 pm. We feel isolated and forgotten. In the name of the people of Beit Iksa, I congratulate all of the UN agencies on UN day and I thank them for this very nice gesture.”

Residents of Beit Iksa village face severe restrictions accessing their lands, particularly those living adjacent to the Israeli settlement “Ramot". The Israeli authorities have closed most roads that lead to the lands. Residents are often unable to do plowing and tree trimming. Many are now forced to walk more than half an hour to reach their land when previously this took a few minutes.

In addition to UNRWA, the following UN agencies participated in the event: UNOPS, UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and the UN Resident Coordinator Office.


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