The East Jerusalem YMCA and the YWCA of Palestine have initiated a campaign to replant olive trees in areas where they have been uprooted and destroyed, or in areas where the fields are threatened by land confiscation by the Israeli occupation army or settlers.
The campaign goal is to replant 50,000 olive trees in the Palestinian Territories with the sponsorship of YMCAs and YWCAs, as well as churches and other groups and individuals around the world. Through replanting olive trees, Palestinians will be encouraged to keep hope alive and to reaffirm their commitment to work constructively toward peace-building.
One million trees and thousands of acres of farmland have been destroyed in the Palestinian Territories by the Israeli Occupation Army since the beginning of the Intifada in October 2000. As a part of this policy, 367,346 olive trees have been uprooted (31.05.2004), and this destructive practice continues daily in the Occupied Territories . Some of the excuses given for the confiscation of Palestinian land and the uprooting of trees range from the expansion of Israeli settlements and their bypass roads to the building of the “Apartheid wall” which annexes 50% of the West Bank to Israel.
In spite of the destruction of the very foundations of their existence and in spite of the ever increasing violence in the Holy Land , most Palestinian women, men and children have not lost hope, and they are committed to rebuilding society and its structures without the use of violence. The East Jerusalem YMCA and YWCA of Palestine are in the forefront of this effort to KEEP HOPE ALIVE through projects like the Olive Tree Campaign, which aims at planting 50,000 olive trees in the very places where they have been uprooted and destroyed, or in areas where the fields are threatened by land confiscation.
Through the sponsorship of YMCAs and YWCAs, as well as churches and other groups and individuals around the world, olive tree planting will be a sign of solidarity that encourages Palestinians to keep their sense of hope alive, and to reaffirm their commitment to work constructively toward peace-building.
In the first season (December 2002 – March 2003)we planted 2105 olive trees in 13 fields. About 3,940 olive trees were planted in this second season (December 2003 through March 2004) in 24 different fields; this represents an increase of 87% from the number of trees planted in the first season.
You are invited to participate in the campaign
The amount of US$ 20 covers the cost of the young plant, distribution, planting, and information for farmers on the best techniques for olive tree care and production improvement. The cost also covers an official certificate, a sponsor label to be inscribed with the sponsor’s name and put up in the field where his/her tree is planted and miscellaneous implementation costs of the project. Three-year old, solid, young plants are used in order to optimize survival potential.
Planting will only take place in agreement and cooperation with landowners and farmers. They are given information on the project and participate in the planting of the trees. In addition, specialists will give them the tools necessary to ensure the future care of the tree. Every sponsor will receive a certificate, and an indication of the location of the tree.