Palestine Olive Harvest – Annis Nusseibeh Reflecting on it

With Fall in full effect here in the Midwest and across the United States. The landscape is dominated with the season’s red, orange, and yellow colors. Over in Palestine, this time of year is the start of the olive harvest season. An important part of Palestinian culture and heritage. Annis Nusseibeh, a Palestinian living in Minnesota, reflects on Palestine during the olive harvest season. He explored the

Olives are the main source of income for around 80,000 Palestinian families. And 48% of agricultural Palestinian land is planted with olive trees. Roughly 90% of all olives gathered in the harvest are used to make olive oil. Olives are both a symbol of Palestinians’ attachment to their land and a symbol of resistance. Being drought-resistant and haven grown in poor soil for thousands of years, they represent the resilience of the Palestinian people. 

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The olive harvest season also means enduring hardship for many Palestinians in the West Bank. For trees growing in Area C and in the seam zone, Palestinians require permits from Israel in order to harvest their olives. These often only name one person, preventing families from effectively gathering their crop and hindering their harvest. With that in mind, 78% of farmer permit requests to access lands behind the separation wall were denied in 2018. An additional hardship is endured via the destruction of property. Since 1967, an estimated 2.5 million trees, one-third of which are olives trees, have been uprooted. 

Despite all this, Palestinians find a way to celebrate this time of year. The olive harvest season is a time for family and friends to come together and partake in a tradition that has endured for generations.

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