The Calendar includes stories and reflections of farmers, sponsors, campaign’ partners, picking and planting programs’ participants; Updates on the Israeli occupation measures against Palestinian land, farmers and olive trees; Palestinian and international memorials and feasts, as well as the JAI’ upcoming events and programs.
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One of the Five Marks of Mission widely adopted as an expression of contemporary Christian mission is “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. This reflects the very first instruction found in the Bible. In Genesis 2:15 God tells Adam to care of the Garden of Eden.
I am sure my passion for creation care, combined with my longstanding commitment to campaign for justice and peace for Palestinians motivated me to help with the Olive Tree Planting Project last February. It was a practical way to get my hands dirty (literally) and show solidarity with Palestinian farmers living close to the illegal Jewish settlements.
We were an international team of 20 ranging from teenagers to senior citizens from Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK to participate. A total of 12,000 olive trees were funded by international donors this year. During the week, we managed to plant 800 on four farms threatened by Israeli settlement expansion and land confiscation.
For example, one day we planted saplings on terraces high above the village of Khalayil Al-Louz near Bethlehem which is threatened by an illegal outpost of the Israeli settlement of Efrata. It was very windy and exposed but we managed to plant 200 saplings on the hillside.
On several occasions we encountered Jewish settlers as well as soldiers and I am sure our presence as internationals provided encouragement as well as a protective presence to the Palestinian farmers and helped keep their hope alive. I hope to return next year.
Visit Keep Hope Alive for information on how you can participate in a future olive picking or olive planting project.
Read a report on the 2019 olive planting project