The British Consul General, Dr. Alastair McPhail, announced today the launch of the ‘UK is with you in the olive harvest’ initiative. The initiative was launched with PA Chairman of the Commission Against the Wall and Settlements, Walid Assaf, at the Commission’s office in Ramallah.
Dr. McPhail explained that the initiative, a joint partnership with the PA Commission Against the Wall and Settlements, will support 19 vulnerable communities in Area C and the East Jerusalem district during this month’s olive harvest. Overall, the initiative will provide over 500 Palestinian farmers with the needed tools and equipment to harvest their olives, including ladders, olive collection sheets, olive harvesting combs and fire extinguishers to prevent damage from arson.
Some of the communities chosen for support are among those most affected by settler violence, being located adjacent to settlements and settler outposts, where farmers aren’t able to access their lands at all times. As part of the initiative, the communities will be visited by British Consulate General staff and representatives of the PA Commission to provide a supportive presence while harvesting olives in these vulnerable areas.
After the meeting, Dr. McPhail, said:
I’m very pleased to launch this exciting new partnership with the PA Commission Against the Wall and Settlements today. I hope that this initiative will give Palestinian farmers in some of the most vulnerable the confidence and resilience to harvest their olives during these troubling times.
The British Consulate launched the initiative to support Palestinian olive growers, many of whom rely on the olive harvest as their main source of income, through the difficulties they face. Additionally, we launched the initiative as a demonstration of our support to Palestinian development of Area C and East Jerusalem, and our opposition to Israeli settlement building. Settlements are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace and take us further away from a two state solution.
At the same time, the UK will continue to condemn all acts of violence and urge all parties to work together to restore calm and to avoid escalating tensions.