Olive harvest season is under way across the occupied Palestinian territories…Traditionally a festive season, this year’s harvest is once again overshadowed by tight Israeli restrictions, settler attacks and a weaker yield due to harsh climatic conditions.
A study published in 2012 by The Applied Research Institute Jerusalem estimated that since 1967, Israeli authorities have uprooted 800,000 Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank.
In the past year alone, more than 9,300 trees were destroyed in the West Bank, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross…
Besides the physical destruction of these olive trees, many Palestinian farmers in the West Bank require Israeli permits to access their land in restricted areas near illegal Israeli settlements.
Israeli settlements are Jewish communities built illegally on Palestinian land. Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in at least 250 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Both sides of my family come from a farming history…from Scotland and Canada on my father’s side…from Italy and SudTirol on my mother’s side; but, my youth and adult life is urban and industrial. Till retirement, that is. Here I am in semi-rural northern New Mexico. Still, no farming in my life. But, I understand the needs and pride that accompanies farming life. And fightback against illegal colonial settlers doesn’t require a stretch to get my support.