Launched in 2002, the JAI' Olive Tree Campaign distributes olive saplings among farmers, sponsored by individuals, YMCAs, YWCAs, churches, church related organizations, human rights organizations, as well as solidarity and advocacy groups around the world, as an act of solidarity and support to help 'Keep Hope Alive'. The farmers supported are these who suffer from the various Israeli policies that put their land and property under the threat of confiscation, and the sponsored olive trees get planted in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip areas where olive trees have been uprooted and destroyed by the Israelis, or where fields are threatened to be confiscated by the Israeli military Occupation, or where parts of the Israeli apartheid wall and settlements are constructed on part of the land.
"Security reasons" is the Israeli excuse given for the uprooting of trees, while in reality Palestinians' olive trees are destroyed for the expansion of Israeli settlements and their bypass roads, the building of the Israel's "Apartheid wall", and as a result of Israeli settlers' violence in the occupied West Bank.
Since the year 2001 Israel through its military and settlers in the West Bank and Gaza has uprooted, burnt and destroyed hundreds of thousands of olive trees that belong to Palestinian farmers and land owners, most of these trees have survived hundreds and thousands of years. We know that we will not replace the life of such olive trees, nor the stories and life lived around them, but we try to overcome such barbaric, irresponsible and careless practices by providing a sign of hope that future generations might than us for.
The JAI widely shares those farmers' stories and reports on the Israeli attacks on Palestinian lands, or farmers, or olive trees, including the ones planted through the Campaign. Partners, sponsors and JAI friends are informed about the Israeli violations related to the olive trees and ask them to act accordingly. Hence, the Campaign is an educational, lobbying, and advocacy tool which targets policies that continue to support this ongoing land confiscation. The Campaign is also a development tool which helps to stabilize the Palestinian farmers' economic situation by allowing them to continue to stay on their land and provide a livelihood.
The Campaign has an expanding network of friends and partners who have decided to join into the campaigns mission in keeping hope alive. They all work to bring about awareness about Palestine and encourage others to get involved through the sponsoring of planting of an olive tree. The campaign's networks exist in many countries like Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, UK, Switzerland, USA, Ireland, and many others.
The annual objective of the campaign is to bring in about 350 new sponsors and to help in replanting 8,000 new olive trees each year.
The trees planted so far have helped the farmers to steadfast on their land and confront the unjust Israeli military practices, and more importantly, to get individuals from all over the world involved and become more aware of what is happening in Palestine.
In spite of the destruction of the very foundations of their existence, and in spite of the ever increasing violence in the Holy Land, Palestinian women, men and children are committed to rebuilding their society and its structures without the use of violence. They do need your support and involvement.
Help Keep Hope Alive - An Invitation for Action
For the amount of USD $20 you can Sponsor an olive tree. Sponsorship covers the cost of the young plant, distribution, planting and information for the farmers on the best techniques for olive tree care and production improvement. The cost also covers an official certificate, a sponsor label to be inscribed with the sponsor's name and put up in the field where his/her tree is planted and miscellaneous implementation costs of the project. Three-year old, solid, young plants, agriculture tubes are used in order to optimize survival potential as well as irrigation pipes for fields that have access to water.
The Olive Tree - Symbol of Peace, Prosperity and Wisdom
In the whole of the Mediterranean Basin, the olive tree is an ancient source of basic livelihood and nutrition. Approximately 1,000 km2 of land in Palestine are planted with olive trees. An average olive tree produces 9 kg of olives, yielding 2 liters of oil which has many uses: food, sacramental oil, fuel, or as an ingredient of medicinal ointments. The olive tree is plain and frugal; it grows in poor soil, yields precious fruit, and can live for more than a thousand years. Throughout history, the Olive branch has been used as a symbol for peace, and together with the vine and the fig tree, the Olive Tree is also a symbol of wisdom, prosperity and happiness.