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A Glimpse in the life of a Palestinian farmer

Omar uses his donkey to transport tarps and bags to the picking site.

For the past three days MPT has accompanied Omar, a Palestinian farmer to his olive trees. A month ago he had 350 trees burned by the settlers. Today he heard that the Israel army would come to protect him from the settlers but the army didn’t come. Omar used his cell phone but was unable to learn why the army didn’t come. He chose to pick olives in a safer valley area further from the Israeli settlement of Har Bach.

During lunch he talked about the Intifada. “It didn’t help me.” Although a nonparticipant in the conflict, he talked of the Occupying Israeli army and the Palestine resisters battling right in front of his house. Due to a serious injury to his leg, during the Intifada, Omar has been unable to maintain his previous livelihood. In his limited English, Omar described the time before the Intafada as a time of "too much money, too much happy." As his family attempts to rebuild their homes, they have been ordered to stop mid-construction, due to denial of a building permit by the Israeli officials.

Education is very important to Palestinians. There are 11 universities, 5 university colleges and 25 community colleges in the West Bank and Gaza. Literacy among 15-24 yr olds is 98 %. Girls are equally represented in the school population. Israel’s occupation of Palestine has killed children and teachers, damaged 300 school buildings, intermittently closed schools and severely restricted travel of these highly educated people thus limiting their employment opportunities in the world economy.

In spite of the many hardships, Omar continues to experience, both he and his son could be heard singing Arabic songs while picking olives.

Omar picks up the newspaper that served as a ground cover
during our picnic lunch and begins to read.

1 comment:

Martha Larsen said...

How many are the problems of the Palestinians! And they continue to struggle as best they can against the harshness of occupation. This unjust occupation is supported by US military aid. We need to end that aid.