A group of 70 elderly internationals today participated in picking olives in Wadi Fukin village, southwest of Bethlehem, central West Bank, which is located in area C which falls under Israeli control according to the Oslo Accords.
The group aims to help Palestinian farmers in these lands and provide a sense of international protection in the area, especially that it is surrounded by illegal settlements and is threatened with settlement expansion and settler extremism.
Coordinator of the YMCA Olive Picking Program, Mohannad Al-Qaisi said that this program is held every year in cooperation with the Bethlehem based Alternative Tourism Group.
“The participants come to Palestine to see our lifestyle and how we live here, under occupation. They offer to provide help to farmers in area C,” Mohannad said.
“We target lands that are close to settlements and the apartheid wall, especially since there are a lot of settlers and soldiers who assault the Palestinian farmers during the olive picking season,” Mohannad added.
The participants stressed that they want to show solidarity for the Palestinian people by being here and delivering a message of support in the face of settlements and occupation.
One participant from Belgium said that he aims to go back to Europe and tell his friends about the occupation and how it oppresses the Palestinian people.
Another participant, who is here for the third time, said that the settlement in the site was not there last year during the same season, adding that now, she is very aware of the situation and the occupation.