International Committee of the Red Cross

Trees uprooted: In the West Bank, a struggle to harvest

Video 07 December 2017

The olive harvest season is traditionally a joyous time for Palestinians, an occasion for families to get together and celebrate.

However, as more farmers face restrictions on access to their land, the joy associated with the season becomes mixed with other emotions: fear, sense of uncertainty, anger and frustration.Some farmers give up on their lands; others spend years defending their right to access them in courts, accumulating paperwork and lawyers’ fees.

The expansion of settlements in the West Bank has restricted Palestinians' freedom of movement and their access to agricultural lands and natural resources.

For people, whose livelihoods depend on access to land, the consequences are dramatic. In recent years, more and more farmers have witnessed their olive groves swallowed by settlements or security buffer zones surrounding them. This means farmers can only access their fields with permission from the Israeli authorities.