We've had some enquiries at the Archive about possible programs for internationals wanting to help with the next olive harvest. Here's the project we like to promote:
A program for Civil International Solidarity with Palestinians
The Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine and the Alternative Tourism Group
Once again, the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine (JAI) and the Alternative Tourism Group (ATG) are organizing an Olive Picking Program in Palestine between the 21st of October and 30th of October, 2007. This agricultural event is of special significance to the Palestinian economy where all energies and efforts are mobilized during this period.
Since the beginning of the Intifada in 2000, the olive harvest has been overshadowed by the Israeli policies of repression, closure, blockage of streets, confiscation of agricultural lands, as well as repeated attacks against Palestinian farmers by Israeli settlers. Now with the construction the Apartheid Wall at the expense of the agricultural lands, many farmers are separated from their lands.
Building on the experience from the previous years, the Joint Advocacy Initiative of The East Jerusalem YMCA and the YWCA of Palestine and the Alternative Tourism have planned a program for civil international solidarity with Palestinian people and farmers. The objective of this program is to mobilize as many people as possible for olive picking, especially in areas that are situated in proximity of Israeli settlements, and by-pass roads in order to help Palestinian farmers harvest their olive trees that they might be unable to harvest without international support. You are invited to participate.
Besides picking olives, the program will feature introductory presentations about the organizing institutions, current situation in Palestine, effect of the Apartheid Wall, tours in the old city of Jerusalem and the nativity church in Bethlehem, a tour in Hebron, cultural evenings and social gatherings.
Below is a suggested tentative schedule for the program:
Olive Picking 2007 tentative schedule:
- 21/10/2007: Arrival to the airport and transfer to Bethlehem to meet representatives from the organizing institutions for an overview and discussion of the program. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
- 22/10/2007: Picking olives at a selected field followed by lunch. Cultural evening at Jadal / Alternative Information Center (AIC). Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
- 23/10/2007: Half day picking olives at a selected field followed by lunch. Meeting at ARIJ (Applied Research Institute Jerusalem) for a presentation on the Apartheid Wall and land confiscation. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
- 24/10/2007: Half day picking olives at a selected field. A tour in the Bethlehem area to show realities of the Israeli occupation such as refugee camps, the Wall, Bypass roads and fences, settlements, destroyed houses, etc. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
- 25/10/2007: A tour in the old city of Jerusalem. Welcome and lunch at the YWCA headquarters in Jerusalem followed by a settlement tour around Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
- 26/10/2007: Free Day
- 27/10/2007: Half day picking olives at a selected field. Meeting with representatives from the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine for an introduction and overview of the Olive Tree Campaign. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
- 28/10/2007: Half day picking olives at a selected field. Lunch followed by a tour in the old city of Hebron through the market and how it is affected by Israeli settlers. A meeting with a co-organizing institute followed by dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
- 29/10/2007: Half day picking olives at the fields. Evaluation meeting with institutions representatives followed by a farewell dinner at a local restaurant with staff members and volunteers. Overnight in Bethlehem.
- 30/10/2007: Transfer to the airport for departure.
- The cost of the program including accommodation, meals, and local transportation is $500.
- Accommodation can be arranged at a hotel or with a local family.
- A tour guide will be present with the group at all times for facilitation purposes.
- Travel from and to the airport is not included in the cost but can be arranged for groups.
- Baha Hilo, the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the East Jerusalem YMCA and the YWCA of Palestine campaigns officer via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (+972) 2 2774540.
- Jawad Musleh, Alternative Tourism Group, program coordinator, via email at: email@example.com or by phone at (+972) 2 2772151.
- Visit their websites: http://www.jai-pal.org and http://www.atg.ps.