The olive harvest season that was once a safe and joyful time has become a stark reminder of the reality of the occupation, land theft and destruction which the people of Palestine face every day. During this season Israeli attacks on farmers and trees increases. Families separated from their olive groves by the Wall, settlements, settler ‘only’ roads, and military security zones are stark reminders of their loss and the force used to remove them from their land, up root their trees and orchards and wipe out their presence and identity. The olive tree planting and the olive harvest seasons are ideal opportunities for people from around the world to visit Palestine, stand in solidarity with its people, and help to secure the land and its resources and bounty for future generations of Palestinians.
Although considered a sacred tree to all the major religions rooted in Palestine: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the very existence of this tree has been under constant threat which continues through to this day. As a part of a systematic programme to eliminate Palestinian identity and their presence on the land, the Israeli authorities, including the Israeli government, military and the Israeli settler colonialists, have destroyed over 800,000 since the Israeli occupation of 1967.
What are we going to do?
We will work with and have the opportunity to live amongst people in these communities, supporting four families who have olive fields within the proximity of Israeli settler colonies, near military outposts, and ‘Israeli only’ bypass roads; or have olive fields that the families cannot access or visit because of Israeli restrictions. However, you can reach these fields and ensure that the olives are safely harvested contributing to the economic well-being of the families and communities. We will also visit the cities of Bethlehem, Hebron, and Jerusalem.
You will also have the opportunity to learn about Palestine’s past and present, its refugees living both in and outside of Palestine, life under military occupation, Palestinian political prisoners, and get a taste of Palestinian life.
Why should we come?
All our programes provide a unique opportunity to learn about Palestine and the lives of its people living under one of the world’s longest hostile military occupations of the 20th and 21st centuries (48 years and counting!). Increasingly, Palestine is covered in social and mainstream media, yet many people do not get the full picture — this is the opportunity to learn more and to share what you see and learn when you return home. The combination of learning, witnessing and working alongside families will guarantee you the best introduction to Palestine you can hope for.
One of the most important roles you play during your visit as that of a witness. From experience, we have observed that Israeli settlers and soldiers behave differently in the presence of ‘internationals’ which contributes to a greater sense of safety felt by Palestinians. They feel more assured in the knowledge that they, and their plight under occupation, are not being ignored – that they are not invisible. Importantly, your help with the olive harvest really makes a difference to families during a period of intense work – often more than they can manage on their own, particularly with Israeli restrictions on the numbers who can access their land. Imagine the difference your efforts will make to a family of a few people with limited time and access to their land and orchards – it is a significant contribution!
What should we bring to wear?
Palestine is a beautiful country and autumn is no exception with its blue skies, warming sun which will catch the fading of green on the hills and valleys (called wadis) from the heat of the summer. Come prepared with shoes appropriate for unpaved agriculture land and walking tours in towns and cities.
Suggested Schedule (please not that the program can have minor changes due to circumstances)
|Day One||20 October||Arrival and meet the To Be There guides and other participants; introduction to the programme.|
|Day Two||21 October||A tour of Bethlehem and its Old City including the Church of the Nativity; Israel’s wall around Bethlehem; Israeli settlements, bypass roads; and Palestinian Refugee Camps. The day will include a lecture on the geopolitical reality of the West Bank under Israeli military occupation|
|Day Three||22 October||First day of olive harvesting. Work alongside a Palestinian family in their olive harvest followed by a lecture to learn about the ongoing displacement of Palestinians.|
|Day Four||23 October||Visit Hebron, one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the world, with evidence of habitation dating back to 4,500 BC. In the Old City of Hebron you will visit families living in the Old City and see one of the most glaring examples of life for the Palestinians under Israeli military occupation. On our return journey, we will visit the famous Hebron Glass and Kuffya factories.|
|Day Five||24 October||Second day of olive harvesting. Work alongside a Palestinian family in their olive harvest; visit to an olive press co-op, followed by a lecture on the infrastructure of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine|
|Day Six||25 October||Visit the city of Jerusalem to see not only the touristic sites but also the reality of life that includes evictions, house demolitions and displacement.|
|Day Seven||26 October||Third day of olive harvesting working alongside a Palestinian family.|
|Day Eight||27 October||Fourth day of olive harvesting – one half day followed by an evaluation of the programme and an evening event of Palestinian culture and farewells|
|Day Nine||28 October||Departure|
We will have several lectures during afternoons or evenings regarding the political situation and human rights focused on the Palestinian case.
The fee for this visit is $1,000 (US Dollars) per person.
Fees will cover
- Accommodation in a hotel on twin bases (you can request for a single room for an additional price)
- 3 meals a day
- Guides present at all times
- Fees for lecturers and guest speakers
- Transportation inside the West Bank and on the days designated for visits to Jerusalem and Hebron
- A portion of the fees will be used for the purchase of sapling trees we will be planting
Fees will not cover – please note:
- Fees do not cover the airport transfer or transportation from and to the Jordan boarder. You can either organize it yourself or request us for help. We can advice you on public transportation or arrange a private taxi for you to pick you up and take you straight to the hotel.
- Fees do not cover any travel or medical insurance. You will be responsible for organizing your own insurance coverage for the trip and the duration of your stay.
- Fees do not cover your travel and activities on free days and periods with the exception of breakfast and dinner provided by the hotel.
- Fees do not cover any personal items, gifts or souvenirs you may wish to buy.
If you have any questions about the fees and what is covered, please contact us. We are happy to provide any guidance or information you may need to ensure your experience with To Be There meets your expectations.
CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION. We will send you a link to an online registration form.
SEE YOU IN PALESTINE!