“The season is fun and joyful and brings people together,” says Samaher Abu Jame of the annual olive harvest.
“Everyone participates in the olive picking, it’s a group effort,” says the woman, whose family has an olive orchard in southern Khan Younis.
In addition to playing a significant social and cultural role, the autumn olive harvest is a cornerstone of the Palestinian economy. An estimated 100,000 Palestinian families depend on the annual olive harvest for their livelihoods.
Olive production has significantly dropped in Gaza after decades of occupation and successive Israeli military assaults.
Despite olives being one of Gaza’s main crops, 500 tons of olive products are imported to the territory every year, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture.
Israel’s blockade restricts Palestinians in Gaza from exporting olives abroad, so local producers cannot sell to a wider market.
Despite the challenges, 23,000 tons of olives were harvested in Gaza this year, according to the ministry.
Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.