The Olive Harvest Trust, a Charitable Incorporated Trust, has grown out of our close involvement with two neighbouring villages, Madama and Burin, in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Since 2004, an evolving group of mainly British volunteers has been going to help farmers in this area during their annual olive harvest. We work in conjunction with Zaytoun, a UK company dedicated to distributing Palestinian olive oil and other produce.
Madama and Burin lie southwest of Nablus in Areas B and C which are under Israeli military rule. This means any community development is severely restricted and, at times, curtailed. These villages are particularly vulnerable due to being sandwiched between the hilltop settlements of Bracha and Yitzhar, bringing repeated attacks from ideological settlers intent on taking over Palestinian land. Loss of farm land, destruction of olive trees, theft and even death are the results.
Our initial group of 8 people in 2004 now numbers about 30 each year providing a protective presence and showing solidarity to the villagers. Our ages range from mid-20s to mid-70s. Each autumn we spend two weeks living in basic accommodation and working with local farmers and families; this support now extends to two other villages.
We are always overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of the Palestinians, despite their having so little and living under constant duress. This charitable trust is a way of showing our thanks and our belief in their right to a future.