In the village of Salem, as elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinians are forced to harvest their olives according to the whims and restrictions of Israeli authorities.
Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org
As every year in October, Palestinian families in the West Bank head to their groves in order to begin the olive harvest season. The harvest for any given family might take a few days or several weeks depending on the number of olive trees they have.
In the village of Salem, near Nablus, the daily olive harvest routine is for families to go out at 6:00 in the morning and work until sunset. All family members participate in the harvest, from children to the elderly. The families that have groves near their houses and far from settlements can work freely. Families that have groves near Israeli settlements, military bases or bypass roads can only harvest according to a schedule imposed by Israeli authorities.
This year, Israeli authorities gave only five days to Salem residents who have lands behind the Israeli bypass road and nearby settlement outposts of Elon Moreh. These families have to finish their harvest in this limited time regardless of their number of olive trees.
Some families decided to start harvesting on the days before those dictated by the Israeli authorities’ schedule in order to be able to finish all of their trees. Some succeeded, while others were caught by Israeli authorities and forced to stop working and leave their land. At the same time, other residents said that soldiers forced them to stop the harvest at noon even on days that were supposed to be allowed according to the schedule.
In areas such as...Read More