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Olive Harvest Statistics and Thoughts

An anecdotal example: Live entertainment was provided by Sami of Sinjil, a small village south of Huwwara just west of the main road to Ramallah. It only got better as they lit an old rickety grill and threw on big beef steaks. Some days have very pleasant surprises. Often the same day in a different location is full of misery and violence.

Anecdotal reports are interesting but can also be misleading. Sometimes we need good data from reputable sources. The UN came out with a report recently. We have tried to summarize it in a fair and concise manner. We hope this report helps you to understand the scope of the problems in Palestine.

-about 45% of the agricultural land in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories) is planted with 12 million olive trees, mostly in the West Bank

-olives provide about one quarter of the gross agricultural income in the OPT and supports the livelihoods of approximately 100,000 families.

-44 out of 66 Barrier gates are only open during the harvest season, impeding the regular maintenance of the groves and undermining their productivity.

-some 40% of applications for ‘visitor permits’ (to access olive groves behind the Barrier) submitted by Palestinians on the eve of the 2010 harvest season, were rejected.

-In the vicinity of 55 Israeli settlements, Palestinian access to olive groves is limited to certain times during the harvest season, when Israeli forces are deployed on the ground.

-between January and September 2011, more than 7,500 olive trees belonging to Palestinians were uprooted, set on fire or otherwise vandalized by Israeli settlers.

-of 97 complaints about settler attacks against Palestinian trees, followed up by the Israeli NGO Yesh Din, none (zero) has so far led to the indictment of a suspect.

-in the Gaza Strip, over 7,300 dunums of land along the perimeter fence with Israel, that were previously cultivated with olive trees have been leveled during Israeli incursions in recent years.

If you wish, read the full report at http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_oliveharvest_FactSheet_October_2011_english.pdf

How many time do settlers really attack/harass? How many times do they not attack because internationals are present? Accurate answer would be insightful but we are not likely to find them. Could we say "too often" to the first and "not often enough" to the second?

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