Issues Home About Contact Us Issue 27 - December 2022 عربى
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The Olive Tree`s Palestinian Roots

Statement by Land Research Center – Jerusalem, Palestine


Since 2019, 26 November has been officially recognized by UNESCO in its 40th session as World Olive Day .

The Palestinian olive tree is known for its popular significance . The indigenous Palestinians were the first to develop olive plantation, and devised methods to extract its oil and extract optimum potential from the olive harvest.

Testimony to the historical meaning that the olive tree holds to our particular land is seen in the case of al-Walaja village, south of al-Quds (Jerusalem).The eldest olive tree in the world--more than 5,500 years old--is found there. The rocky Palestinian hills nearby are punctuated with holes in the ground that used to be olive oil mills in ancient times. The agricultural production in Palestine also innovated grape plantation, another feature of Palestinian food basket that, like olive oil and ground thyme, is an important staple of every Palestinian table.

The olive tree has become an essential part of our heritage and cultural identity. This iconic tree, mentioned in the Holy Qur`an, is a symbol of Arab territory, standing tall in the land. It provides undeniable evidence to the falsehood of the Zionist narrative, while the wind-blown olive branches play hymns of love and freedom.

The Israeli occupation is pursuing its attempts to cut the inextricable link between the Palestinian People and the olive tree, by severing that holy bond and confiscating the land.

On this occasion, we Palestinians raise our voices to urge the world to end the silence at, and complicity with Israeli criminal violations against Palestinian olive trees, including hacking, poisoning, ravaging and uprooting. These deliberate acts of environmental destruction pain the Palestinian People as much as the occupation is cutting down our sons and daughters who have fallen as so many martyrs.

During this year alone, the Israeli occupation has contaminated with waste water from Israeli settler colonies, uprooted and torched about 13,130 olive tree in the Palestinian West Bank. And since the beginning of the 1967 Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, Israelis authorities, military and settlers have destroyed about 2 million olive trees. This ecocide should be prosecuted as a crime against humanity in the pursuit of environmental justice.

We in Palestine cultivate, plow, prune and embrace the olive tree as part of ourselves. We call on the world to protect it from the occupation’s attempts to uproot it from its homeland, as it seeks to do to its Indigenous Palestinian People.


26 November 2022


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