Since March 2013, Sumud Palestine has sponsored 364 olive trees for farmers who are losing their land to the Israeli military occupation.
You can Keep Hope Alive for Palestinian farmers by sponsoring an olive tree for £15.00. This includes a young tree 1.2 meters high which is strong enough to grow well, irrigation of a field and a protection tube as well as administrative costs, transport and administration.
One million olive trees and thousands of acres of farmland have been destroyed by the Israeli army and by settlers since the beginning of the Intifada in 2000. The confiscation of land and the uprooting of trees is, according to the Israeli authorities, for ‘security reasons’. However, the land is often used for the expansion of illegal settlements and their bypass roads and for building the Apartheid or Separation Wall.
Sumud Palestine’s partner, the JAI Keep Hope Alive Olive Tree Campaign, aims to:
- Plant 10,000 trees a year in places where trees have been uprooted and destroyed or in fields that are threatened with land confiscation.
- Advocate for farmers whose land in Area C is threatened with confiscation.
- Support farmers by enlisting international volunteers to plant trees and harvest their crop on land which farmers are prevented from accessing.
- Document Israeli attacks on land and call for action when attacks take place.
- Collect stories to share in JAI reports.
- Keep visiting the planted areas to give support to farmers and to make sure that all is fine.
- In certain cases, to provides water pipes for irrigation.
- Undertake international advocacy in resisting settler group attacks on the farmers.
- Support the Palestinian people in their pursuit of freedom and justice.
In 2013-2014 the JAI received 300 applications for support from farmers. Farmers with eligible land are selected according to certain criteria: their land is threatened with confiscation by the Israeli Military Authorities or by the expansion of an illegal settlement and bypass roads and its distance from the Apartheid Wall and the number of uprooted trees in a field. Farmers must show proof of land ownership and a determination to look after their land and trees.
Sponsoring an olive tree is a sign of solidarity with Palestinians to Keep Hope Alive. It is a non-violent way of working constructively towards peace with justice.
- Places a plaque with the names of sponsors in each field where trees are planted, and
- Sponsored trees can be tracked online through the JAI website so sponsors know where their tree/s was planted. A GPS system is to be added later.
The planting and picking seasons are short and often farmers are harassed or prevented from planting trees or harvesting olives. This is one reason why international volunteers are invited to the West Bank every February and October to plant trees and pick olives with Palestinian farmers.
A full time and a part time member of staff work on the campaign at a local and national level. Planting trees and picking olives is seldom without difficulty but it contributes to saving the land and preventing confiscation by empowering farmers to cultivate their land despite all the obstacles and difficulties they confront daily.