` A Palestinian Man's Long-Awaited Olive Harvest - Olive Oil Times

A Palestinian Man's Long-Awaited Olive Harvest

Nov. 4, 2014
Cam Waller

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Hashem Azzeh (Photo: O Território)

As a pri­mary crop and source of income for many through­out Palestine, the olive har­vest is a crit­i­cal time for Palestinians. Unfortunately, har­vest­ing has been dan­ger­ously dif­fi­cult or impos­si­ble for many farm­ers as a result of Israeli mil­i­tary con­trol and oppos­ing settlers.

One such man is Hashem Azzeh, who said he had been unable to har­vest his olive trees since 2000. Azzeh lives on Tel Rumeida — a street in the H2 part of Hebron — and set­tlers live mere meters from his home.

For those who live in H2, which is under Israeli mil­i­tary con­trol, a per­mit from the Israeli Army is required before olives can be picked. If the per­mit is granted, the farmer gets one day to har­vest all of his olives, but the army can turn down per­mit appli­ca­tions with­out pro­vid­ing any rea­son. For the next six years, Azzeh was unable to obtain a permit.

Azzeh was finally granted a per­mit in 2007, but he had watched as his olives were stolen and destroyed year after year, so he knew that hav­ing per­mis­sion was no guar­an­tee that things would go well. Even with the help of two activist orga­ni­za­tions — The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) — Azzeh said he was attacked dur­ing the har­vest, bring­ing it to an end.

Azzeh did­n’t get another per­mit until 2013. He was sched­uled to har­vest on October 8, but his olives were again stolen five days before­hand. This year, his per­mit allowed him to har­vest six of the more than 50 trees he owns on October 20.

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ISM and CPT helped Azzeh this year too, and though there were protests by set­tlers, all six trees were suc­cess­fully harvested.

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