You may remember I spoke of an Olive farmer that I met in a previous blog- Zaytoun Olive Oil. At the time I couldn’t remember his name. I recently received a forwarded e-mail from a friend. It was dated back to May this year. In it was the Zaytoun newsletter and an update of Riziq and his olive farm. Unfortunately, Israel has ordered the uprooting of 2,000 olive trees in the area where his farm is, therefore, destroying about 5,000 kgs of olives. Local farmers and activists were forming a protest camp trying to keep the bulldozers away.
“May” I thought, “gosh, I bet his livelihood has been destroyed already.” This news actually made me all the more determined to visit Riziq later this month (that sounds really odd now saying that as this trip has seemed such a long way off) Then, there was an update, a recent one! Riziq contacted Zaytoun to say that the Order to destroy the trees is on hold. The farmers hired a lawyer who appealed against the uprooting order. The Israelis claimed that THEIR land was “a natural reserve and olive trees are a strange elements in the valley”. The Palestinian Environment Authority countered this claim as olive trees have been in the valley for over 2000 years. An online petition also helped the cause. So to date there is that shadow over their trees, but if the world gets to know we all can and will make a difference. I am hoping that when I get there (and I so hope I manage to get there) I can report back that Riziq can continue to grow his trees and harvest his land as his forefathers have and his sons will continue to do so.
(The online petition for this cause has now finished otherwise I would have added the link)
As was mentioned, I am now going this month. It has now all become real. Manal and Martin are already there and daily I am treated to fabulous photographs and stories of places they have been and people they have met. We have another group entering imminently and then some more next week…..all of us are excited to be making a difference and spreading the word to the world about this little forgotten country and her people.