Olive harvest season is underneath manner throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.
About 80,000 to 100,000 Palestinian households depend on the olive harvest, which takes place yearly between October and November, for his or her earnings – together with greater than 15 p.c of working ladies.
According to the Palestine Trade Center, or PalTrade, the olive sector is price between $160m and $191m in good years.
Traditionally a festive season, this yr’s harvest is as soon as once more overshadowed by tight Israeli restrictions, settler assaults and a weaker yield attributable to harsh weather conditions.
The olive and olive oil business
Olive bushes have been cultivated throughout Palestine for 1000’s of years and have turn into a logo of Palestinian resilience in opposition to Israeli occupation.
Almost half of all cultivated land throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza is planted with an estimated 10 million olive bushes (PDF). The small inexperienced or black stone fruits are primarily used to provide olive oil, which is rarely lacking from a Palestinian dinner desk, in addition to desk olives, pickles and cleaning soap.
The Palestinian metropolis of Nablus has lengthy been famend for the manufacturing of olive oil cleaning soap which is wealthy in antioxidants and delicate on the pores and skin.
In 2019, about 177,000 tonnes of olives have been pressed, producing 39,600 tonnes of olive oil – roughly 30,000 litres (7,925 gallons) in response to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
The governorates of Jenin, Tubas and Northern Valleys produced the best amount of olive oil at 10,442 tonnes, adopted by Tulkarm (6,031 tonnes) and Gaza (5,582 tonnes).
Olive harvesting underneath occupation
A research revealed in 2012 by The Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ) estimated that since 1967, Israeli authorities have uprooted 800,000 Palestinian olive bushes within the West Bank.
In the previous yr alone, greater than 9,300 bushes have been destroyed within the West Bank, in response to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Besides the bodily destruction of those olive bushes, many Palestinian farmers within the West Bank require Israeli permits to entry their land in restricted areas near unlawful Israeli settlements.
Israeli settlements are Jewish communities constructed illegally on Palestinian land. Today, between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers reside in not less than 250 unlawful settlements within the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinian farmers are forbidden from accessing a lot of their land in areas near settlements, aside from just a few days a yr. According to human rights group HaMoked, allow approval charges have been declining over time. In 2020, solely 24 p.c of land entry permits have been permitted.
Israeli settler assaults
During the 2020 olive harvest season, OCHA documented not less than 26 Palestinians injured and greater than 1,700 bushes vandalised.
As of October 4, 2021, the UN group for humanitarian affairs recorded not less than 365 settler assaults in opposition to Palestinians. This week, a 10-day marketing campaign to assist and shield farmers was launched in areas thought of to be at excessive danger of Israeli settler assaults.
The marketing campaign, organised by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), will cowl 12 villages, primarily throughout southern Nablus, but in addition within the Ramallah and Bethlehem areas.
Muayyad Bsharat, head of advocacy on the UAWC, advised Al Jazeera the principle intention of the marketing campaign is to “strengthen control over our natural resources, by getting Palestinian farmers to their lands in Area C [under full Israeli control], and to other areas under threat by the Israeli occupation”.