Why the Olive harvest?
The olive harvest encompasses many of the most difficult problems Palestinians face every day, stretching from the restriction of movement to ‘settler’ violence. Many of the olive trees I was lucky enough to have been picking with farmers were hundreds of years old; some even older than that. These trees have seen it all: the massacres, the ethnic cleansing, the occupation in ’48, the war and occupation in ’67, the ‘’settlements’’, the arrests, the harassment. And some trees have not made it through the time. In the year I was harvesting alone, 4000 olive trees were uprooted or burned by settlers. In my first few weeks in Palestine, I can remember responding to an attack by ‘settlers’ in Burin where we later found out that 200 trees had been burnt. This sick display of mindless aggression, which has become so common for Palestinians to bear witness to, just confirms that this land cannot belong to the culprits of these crimes because who burns their own land?
I joined the Olive Harvest because Palestinians are restricted from getting to their trees, attacked and arrested when they do and this is watched by the world every year, with few people whispering about how awful it is. I am sick of hearing whispers when people should be shouting. What is going on every day in Palestine is an outrage and one that demands attention and solidarity. The apartheid, the brutalisation, the colonising of land, the imprisonment are all made possible by an international lack of action. I joined the Olive Harvest to speak with Palestinians and show them that my government, doesn’t represent me and that I, like many others in my country, are angered and moved to action by the government’s incapacity.
The Palestinian Olive Harvest is a plight made by families and communities every year all over Palestine. This year I went to The West Bank to join in solidarity with the small communities trying to harvest their olives. I saw what must be the most harmless and un-aggressive act put down by a military and apartheid regime. Palestinian farmers constantly harassed by soldiers and made to leave their own land due to ‘security reasons’, it was frustrating and upsetting for all us involved. However when the farmers did manage to work their lands it was really fun. Internationals and Palestinians all with a common goal not only to harvest the olives but also to resist the occupation and the ethic cleansing of the Palestinian lands.