They are symbolic of Palestinian identity and attachment to their land, of resistance, and resilience. The uprooting of centuries-old olive trees has caused significant losses to farmers and their families. It has economic, environmental, social, as well as serious cultural impacts for Palestinians. The construction of the separation wall by Israel has caused huge damage to the agricultural economy in Palestine, as it has destroyed large areas of agricultural land, as well as key infrastructure such as: irrigation canals, water tanks, terraces, agricultural roads, etc. In addition, the Israeli army has built numerous obstacles to make it difficult for farmers to access their farms behind the wall.
As well as their symbolic meaning, olives are a main source of income for around 80,000 Palestinian families. According to UN figures, around 48% of the agricultural land in the West Bank and Gaza is planted with olive trees. Olive trees account for 70% of fruit production in Palestine and contribute around 14% of the Palestinian economy. Of the olive harvest, 93% is used for olive oil production, while the rest is used for olive oil soap, table olives and pickles. Much of the olive production is for local consumption, with a small quantity of olives being exported, primarily to Jordan. With the growing interest in organic food and fair trade, Palestinian olives are now also reaching European and North American markets.
The average olive tree produces between 20-90kg of olives per season depending upon the age of the tree; the older the tree, the more olives.
Since 1967, Israel, through its military forces and settlers (all armed) in the West Bank and Gaza, has uprooted, burnt, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of olive trees that belong to Palestinian small-scale farmers and landowners – most of these trees had survived hundreds of years. A recent study made by the ARIJ Center revealed that the estimated number of uprooted trees by Israel since 1967 is 2.5 million trees.
Our projects are restoring the livelihoods of the most marginalized olive farmers throughout the West Bank, by planting new seedlings to replace those destroyed, re-establishing the farmers' olive groves. Rehabilitating and replanting the land will also help to protect the farmers’ land from confiscation. Replanting the land provides economic, legal, and political empowerment by maintaining the land status and rights of the title holder. Returning the groves to productivity also helps to preserve the land and environment; restoring green spaces, preventing soil erosion, and restoring water to the aquifer and groundwater table.
In 2022, we worked with 180 farming families across the West Bank and planted 6,380 olive seedlings on 356 dunums of land, to re-establish olive groves there.
The produce from the planted olive trees will meet household requirements in the first year. By the second year, the harvest will be sufficient for the families to begin earning an income.
In 2023, this project will support the livelihoods of a further 120 marginalized farmers, by replanting their lands with olive tree seedlings.
Please support more West Bank Olive Farmers.
£10 will buy 2 olive trees. £50 will buy 10 olive trees.
Around 18 olive trees are required per dunum -
with approximately 2-5 dunums planted per farmer.
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