British NGO Human Appeal will team up with Palestinian organizations to plant 25,000 olive trees, following widespread disruption to the Palestinians’ olive industry.
Human Appeal has partnered with the Palestinian Hydrological Group and Zakat Al-Quds, a Palestinian charitable foundation operating under the supervision of Jordan’s Ministry of Islamic Endowments, for the project.
Olive farms across Jerusalem, Tubas, Salfit, Bethlehem, Hebron and Tulkarem will benefit from the project, which aims to cover 200,000 square meters of land with 25,000 olive trees. They will support 200 farmers and yield approximately 4,000 kg of olive oil per year.
The product makes up 25 percent of Palestine’s agricultural industry, and is critical for 100,000 families.
“The olive tree carries great symbolic importance for the history of Palestinian agriculture, being synonymous with Palestine for generations across the Middle East,” Mohamad Yousef, head of Human Appeal France, told Arab News.
“Olive trees in this part of the world are among the oldest to be found, with some of them over 1,000 years old, and produce some of the highest-quality olive oil globally.”
Olive trees are a particularly useful crop for the dry weather, poor soil conditions and deteriorating availability of water in Palestine.
“When seeking to provide urgently needed support, it’s vital that we also consider providing long-term support to help the population help themselves,” said Yousef.
“Planting these olive saplings is more than securing land for agriculture and supplying a crop that will help these recipients to support themselves into the future. It’s also an important symbol of regrowth for the region.”
Israeli settlers attack Palestinian olive trees, cutting them down or burning them. Earlier this month, scores of olive tree saplings were uprooted across the West Bank. It is thought that these attacks are meant to stifle the income of Palestinians.