Olive trees carry more than an economic significance in the lives of Palestinians. They are symbolic of Palestinians' attachment to their land and right of return (File photo via social media)
Israeli forces on Monday prevented Palestinian farmers from reaching their lands to pick olives south of Qalqiliya city, in the occupied West Bank.
According to local sources, Israeli soldiers blocked the access of Palestinian olive harvesters in different corners of the city into their olive groves located behind Israel’s apartheid wall.
Several Palestinian land lots and olive groves are fenced off by Israel’s separation wall in the southern part of Qalqiliya district.
Olive trees carry more than an economic significance in the lives of Palestinians. They are not just like any another trees, they are symbolic of Palestinians' attachment to their land and right of return. Because the trees are draught-resistant and grow under poor soil conditions, they represent Palestinian resistance and resilience.
The fact that olive trees live and bear fruit for thousands of years is parallel to Palestinian history and continuity on the land. Palestinians are proud of their olive trees; they take care of them with care and appreciation. Palestine has some of the world’s oldest olive trees, dating back to 4,000 years. Some families have trees that have been passed down to them for generations and the olive harvest season in October bears a socio-cultural meaning where families come together to harvest olive trees bearing in mind that their forefathers and mothers had tended to the same trees several years ago.
In addition to their symbolic meaning, olives are a main source of income for around 80,000 Palestinian families. According to UN figures, around 48% of the agricultural land in the West Bank and Gaza is planted with olive trees. Olive trees account for 70% of fruit production in Palestine and contribute around 14% to the Palestinian economy.