During olive harvest Palestinians concerned about losing land

12/15/09 Doris Norrito
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Olive trees are the source of livelihood for many Palestinian farmers. This year, the harvest was poor. Drought and insects added to the destruction of olive groves by Israelis, devastating the Palestinian economy and further obstructing chances for peace.

The small farm village of Rummaneh lies directly on the Green Line, the border meant to separate Israel from Palestinian lands. Abu Khaled prunes the trees while his children and grandchildren pick and sort the olives. It’s a happy time often accompanied by singing.

This year the family is joined by five international volunteers and a translator. Abu Khaled tells about the difficulties facing olive farmers.

All Abu Khaled’s trees are on the Palestinian side of the barrier wall. But farmers in other areas face trouble.

There are seventy trees in Abu Khaled’s olive grove. They have been in his family for generations and he says each is like a beloved old friend. He fears that one day the land he hopes to leave his children will be taken.

Hamde, a translator, expresses the hope of many Palestinians. The olive branch is a universal symbol of peace. Yet, thousands of olive trees have been uprooted and burned by Israeli soldiers. Replaced by walls and concrete, the price has been peace.

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