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Virtual Palestine

Upcoming Tours in Palestine

Olive Harvest
October 10 — October 30, 2004

The Traditional Olive Harvest in the year 2004 starts October 10th and continues to the first week of November. The Holy Land Trust Travel & Encounter harvest will take place in two locations: Daher's Vineyard near Bethlehem, and in the village of Doma just outside of Nablus.

Daher's Vineyard:
The Daher Vineyard is about 400 dunoms (40 hectares) and is located outside of Bethlehem. It belongs to the Nassar family, who bought the land from Nahaleen village in 1924. The Nassar family has been working and cultivating the land ever since. In October 1991, the family learned that Israel was planning to confiscate their land. They discovered this news by chance when one of the nearby village residents happened to pass them in the street and mentioned that he had seen the Israeli military authorities surveying and marking the family's land. There is little doubt that the fact that the area is surrounded on three sides by newly established settlements is significant. Clearly these settlements intend to use the land for their own government-sanctioned expansion and will receive all the necessary resources including water, electricity, and construction permits to do so. Five hundred meters to the north lays the Neve Daniel settlement; equidistant to the south is Eliazar; in the valley to the west is the ultra-orthodox community of Betar; and just across the road to the east is the rapidly expanding settlement of Efrat. The family has suffered numerous acts of persecution by the settlers from these surrounding settlements. Israeli soldiers have also prevented them on several occasions from working their land, in one incident threatening the family's lives if they were to continue their work. Residents of the nearby Neve Daniel settlement have also been involved in at least one confrontation with the family members, raising the possibility of a concerted attempt by settlers and soldiers to systematically harass the family into retracting their claim to ownership. Despite these difficulties, the family has succeeded in cultivating and planting the land and is deservedly proud of their determination to remain in the face of the Israeli threat. The Nassar family and friends are willing to make the Daher Vineyard into a place for people from all over the world to meet and dialogue. (For more information on this initiative: www.tentofnations.org.)

Doma:
Doma is located in between Ramallah and the outskirts of Nablus. The village is about 17,000 dunoms of land including the built-up residential and town center areas. The village overlooks the Jordan Valley revealing one of the most beautiful views in Palestine. All the villagers were farmers before the 1967 war and then most of them turned to cheap labor in Israel in the early 1970s. After 1967, Israel announced 10,000 dunoms of the village land as a Nature Reserve on which Palestinians were forbidden from building on, farming or eventually even accessing their land. This initial zoning regulation began the process for land confiscation, which has resulted in the building of a new Israeli settlement on the former land of Doma. Until today, the villagers are not allowed to cultivate some of their land that reaches the Jordan valley.

Before 1948, there were all kinds of trees in the village, especially almond and olive trees. But after 1967, many of the people planted more and more olive trees, because they need less water and live longer than any other kind of tree. Now Doma contains thousands and thousand of olive trees. After the beginning of the second Intifada, more people are turning to the land; however, less land is being cultivated because the expenses of working the land are much greater than what they are able to produce under current conditions and when faced with competition from Israeli products. In these times, most people plant and work their land for two reasons: 1) Because they need the produce and crops to sustain their own household consumption, and 2) On moral grounds, because this is the land of their ancestors, and the current generation wishes to keep it alive. For both these reasons, working with this village will be both helping the families earn their own daily bread and preserving their history and traditions with the land.

Costs:
Every participant is responsible for covering their own travel costs and arrangements to Bethlehem. In Bethlehem, HLT will conduct a one-day training for all participants in cultural differences. The next day, participants will be transferred to Daher Vineyard or to Doma where they will live until the end of their stay. Costs include a $50 registration fee and $20 per day for accommodations and meals in the village. One roundtrip transport between Bethlehem and the village will be provided at no additional cost. Participants may stay for one day or for the entire 20-day period. Advance registration is required and the deadline for reserving your place with us is September 10. Space is limited, and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Holy Land Trust can arrange your flights to Palestine. For more information about flights please contact: airfares@p-ol.com

For more information about the Olive Harvest Encounter please contact:
George S. Rishmawi: encounter@holylandtrust.org
Elias Ghareeb: operations@holylandtrust.org


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