Olive branch   [59 x 40 cm]

Source of image: PHT design
Embroidery: Iman Shehaby [Tabariyeh], Ein el Hilweh, Lebanon

The olive branch,  a symbol of peace.

Nothing symbolizes Palestinian land, identity and culture as olives and olive oil do. Olive trees are the hallmarks of national pride and the veritable heart of Palestine’s agricultural economy

Palestinian olive oil production contributes millions annually to some of the poorest, most disadvantaged families and communities in the occupied West Bank. It is a primary source of revenue for the economy and nearly half of all agricultural land use is devoted to olive trees. As one of the territory’s major exports, the extent to which olives and olive oil contribute to employment opportunities and income for 100,000 Palestinian farming families cannot be overstated.

Yet, the Israeli government deliberately prevents access to land where olive farms are located.

Physical barriers such as checkpoints and road blocks have restricted the free movement of people and goods within the West Bank and obstructed access for Palestinian agricultural produce, including olives and olive oil, to internal, Israeli and international market.

Settler attacks and harassment against Palestinian olive farmers are common.

The Israeli government overlooks settler violence against the groves and their owners, which includes stealing their fruits, torching or uprooting tens of thousands of trees, and attacking farmers to intimidate them, and prevent them from harvesting their olive crops.

It’s a tragedy that the olive branch – a symbol of peace – has become a casualty of settler violence.

Era: Sumud - Steadfastness (1948 onwards)

Further reading