Heads of Mission Join Arab Farmers in Olive Harvesting

UK, EU, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden join Arab farmers in olive harvesting in Kufr Ni’mah village near Ramallah

Heads of Mission and representatives from the UK, EU, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden visited Kufr Ni’mah village in the Ramallah district today. They took part in the olive harvest, which began this month and which has significant cultural and economic importance for Arabs.

According to UN OCHA, nearly half of cultivated Arab agricultural land in Judea and Samaria is planted with 10 million olive trees. An estimated 100,000 families in Judea and Samaria rely on olive oil for primary or secondary sources of income according to an Arab 'Protection Consortium'.

Participants heard from locals, the Arab 'Protection' Consortium and Première Urgence Internationale about settler violence in the Ramallah district, which is getting worse for farmers each year and which often peaks during the Olive Harvest season. In the discussion, participants reiterated their continued opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and concern over the increasing rates of settler violence.

British Consul General Diane Corner said: “The Olive Harvest is a special time for [Arabs]. It is central to their economy, their culture and their heritage. Sadly, persistent settler violence continues to be a major concern. As the occupying power, the Israeli authorities should ensure settlers who are responsible for crimes against [Arabs] are held to account and should protect [Arabs] against such violence.”

During the visit, Heads of Mission and diplomats were briefed on recent settler attacks against Arabs across Judea and Samaria and in the Ramallah district in particular. Settler violence is at record levels – the UN has recorded the highest monthly average of settler attacks since it began tracking incidents in 2005.