Sunday, May 20, 2007

Take Your Olive Branch and Shove It! - Part 3

Today is Day 14,281 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Rabbi Akiva said, “ ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ Lev. 19:18 - is the major principle of the Torah.”

Olive Trees and Olive Harvesting

As I have written previously, the actions of Jewish Israeli squatters and security forces in uprooting of ancient olive trees, stealing olives and preventing Palestinians from having access to the olive trees has been destructive to the Palestinian agriculture, its economy and its identity. I think it is important enough and gets so little attention as the media continues to slavishly adhere to one of the lowest standards of journalism - "If it bleeds, it leads." - that I thought I would include some additional excerpts from the World Bank report cited previously.

Olive and the Olive Oil Secton in the Palestinian Territories Page 16-17

How time is significant during harvesting and pressing?

To produce the best oil, olives must be harvested at the correct time and moved to the presses as quickly as possible. Delays in harvesting or in moving harvested olives to the presses reduce the yield and quality of oil produced. Palestinian farmers in the West Bank now face over 500 physical obstacles and closures restricting their movement40 percent increase since 2005. Farmers are often prevented from accessing their trees making it difficult to prune the trees, plow and control weeds, which reduces yields. To produce the necessary high quality olive oil, Palestinian farmers should be granted access to their fields and presses, and kept safe from settler attacks. Unlike previous years, the Israeli army and ministry of defense made some effort to ensure farmers’ access

What are the main challenges that are facing the Palestinian olive oil industry?
Second, the limited access to water supplies is hindering the ability of many farmers to provide partial irrigation when the fruits are blossoming and the rains have stopped early. The full access to water supplies and the removal of any Israeli restrictions from digging new wells or developing new irrigation projects is vital in terms of substantially increasing yields.

What are the main challenges that restrain Palestinian producers from entering the export market?
(T)he movement restrictions raise transport costs and prevent Palestinian exporters from committing to specific delivery schedules. According to one Palestinian exporter, the cost of moving a 20-foot container …(E)ntering the world market requires Palestinian producers to develop the necessary contacts and marketing skills. As in all aspects of the industry, the closures have an adverse effect on marketing. It is difficultand expensive for Palestinian entrepreneurs to travel abroad to make market contacts. Foreign buyers often will not enter the Palestinian territories and Palestinians are often not allowed into Jerusalem to meet them.

Deuteronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

No comments: