Harvesting the Olives in Bil’in – Oct 15, 2011 – video

Related: Palestine Olive Harvest 2011

Throughout the centuries, Palestinians farmers have made their living from olive cultivation and olive oil production; 80 percent of cultivated land in the West Bank and Gaza is planted with olive trees. In the West Bank alone, some 100,000 families are dependent on olive sales. Today, the olive harvest provides Palestinian farmers with anywhere between 25 to 50 percent of their annual income, and as the economic crisis deepens, the harvest provides for many their basic means of survival.

But despite the hardships, it is the festivities and traditions that accompany the weeks of harvesting that have held Palestinian communities together and are, in fact, a demonstration of their ownership of the land that no occupation can extinguish except by the annihilation of Palestinian society itself … such heartbreaking reality has led the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, to say, “If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil would have become tears …” (Sonja Karkar).


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