Souad Ali - Beit Omar

Category: Campaign Farmers' Stories Created: 30 April 2015

Suad Ali 2015Souad was seven years old when she started to work on the land. She knows nothing but a farmers life; she has never been to school. In her youth, the life of a Palestinian farmer looked very different from today. Before 1967 there was no disruption by the Israeli occupation and colonisation. Back then Souad's land was filled with various crops, such as fruit and almond trees, tomatoes and vegetables. As a result of the restrictions, demolitions and the lack of water this is not a reality anymore. Once, Beit Omar had the largest vegetable market in the southern West Bank, where local farmers sold their produce. Not anymore.

Nowadays, access to Jerusalem is no longer possible due to the military checkpoint, and thus the agricultural production can not be sold in the city. The farmers are therefore forced to sell their products along Route 60, the highway that connects
Jerusalem to Hebron.

"A farmers life has become burdensome," says Souad. "We work very hard under difficult circumstances and get little in return. Our goats are slain and our trees destroyed. But we can not leave our land. Our land is our source of life, and the blessed olive tree is our sacred symbol".

Farmers like Souad can use all the help they can get to keep the Palestinian land and hope alive. That is the mission of the Olive Tree Campaign.