ASIA/HOLY LAND - #PeacefulHarvest: World Council of Churches supports olive harvest in Palestine

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 middle east   area crisis   ecumenicalism   human rights   farmers  

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Nablus (Agenzia Fides) - The ecumenical accompaniment program of the World Council of Churches (WCC) launches a public campaign to ensure that Palestinian families can live the olive harvest season without problems, and are not affected by political or military obstacles that can make access to their olive groves difficult or impossible. In this period of the year - reads the appeal launched by the World Council - Palestinian families and members of the community, young and old, "come together in the olive groves to do hard work for days there. Your olive trees, which are sometimes several hundred years old, tell stories of perseverance and resilience", says the appeal. "Laughter and food are shared under the trees. It is a time of joy, but also a time of struggle for many Palestinians living under Israeli occupation". The appeal reports that often "traffic restrictions, denied access to land, demolition of agricultural buildings, construction of settlements and violent attacks and harassment by extremist settlers affect the lives of Palestinian farmers and their families", making them even more vulnerable this year due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are also preventing many of the Israeli and international peace activists who normally support the olive harvest in Palestine from being present.
The campaign to monitor and support "remotely" Palestinian farming families, also characterized by the hashtag #PeacefulHarvest, will use social networks to disseminate information and updates on the concrete progress of the olive harvest.
In early October, a group of settlers occupied Palestinian agricultural land near Nablus. Under the protection of the army, the settler group built a connection road with a nearby colony, as well as a power line and water supply pipes. First, the settlers uprooted the olive trees in the adjacent areas.
According to reports from the Palestinian Documentation Center, the Israeli military authorities have already issued 63 orders prohibiting access to Palestinian olive groves in connection with the start of the olive harvest. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 21/10/2020)