Exports are resumed amidst turmoil in the West Bank

December 11, 2023

A season of hardship for Palestinian communities

With the world’s attention rightly focused on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza, a quieter crisis is brewing in the West Bank. Lives and livelihoods have been taken amidst a sharp rise in settler violence and a harsh crackdown on travel. 

‘Ghost towns’ 

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian workers have lost their livelihoods in the wake of the revocation of their permits to work inside Israel – a hard hit for the Palestinian economy where a quarter of the labour force relies on income from these jobs. 

We spoke to a friend based in the Salfeet district of the West Bank, who informed us that the roadblocks that were erected across the region two months ago are mostly still in place. These barriers have significantly impeded movement to and from farms and places of work. Coupled with an alarming surge in settler violence, many villages and towns now echo with an eerie emptiness, resembling “ghost towns,” as he described.

Our suppliers have not been immune to the impact of these challenges. With employees often feeling unsafe to leave their homes or struggling to reach their workplaces, the factories have experienced delays in processing harvests and completing customer orders. 

This disruption extends into their family lives too, as children and teachers find it challenging to attend schools safely. Many have reverted to remote home schooling, reminiscent of lockdown days. 

An uncertain harvest  

The unsettling situation has cast a sombre shadow over the olive harvest season, traditionally a joyous time for Palestinian families when generations come together to pick olives, enjoy wood fire teas, and celebrate with sumptuous picnics. However, with unprecedented levels of violence, which have claimed over 270 lives so far, farmers have been forced to confront an agonising choice between their lives and their livelihoods.  

In a tragic incident, farmer Bilal Saleh was shot dead in front of his family while picking olives in his grove in Al Sawya village, near Nablus. This story sent shockwaves, understandably leaving some farmers unwilling to risk their lives for the annual olive harvest. The harsh economic reality for many is a loss of much-needed income for the entire year. 

Ensuring continuity

Our suppliers’ resilience and resourcefulness never cease to amaze and inspire us. 

Despite the challenges and after several weeks of uncertainty and delays, they have found ways to ship products out to us so we can get them to the many people choosing to show support by buying Palestinian products.

Our first container of new harvest dates reached us in November – and a few more shipments of olive oil and dates have arrived since.  

We are now well stocked across most product lines and are working closely with our suppliers on getting further shipments in January.  

A word of thanks 

We, and our suppliers in Palestine, have been heartened by the swell of support that you’ve all demonstrated in your words and actions for Palestine over the past months, standing steadfast in solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank as well as in Gaza. Thank you! 

Manal Ramadan White

Other related posts

October 30, 2023
Over the past three weeks farmers have been increasingly at risk as they go to harvest their olives. We are…
October 31, 2023
You can take action by demanding a ceasefire, donating to humanitarian appeals, raising funds & awareness, as well as supporting Palestinian producers’ livelihoods through fair trade.
February 27, 2021
Over 34OO trees were uprooted in the village of Deir Ballout in Palestine in January 2021. Khitam Ismael Ya’qoub, a…

We use cookies. Read our privacy policy for more details.