Taking a stand for Palestine

June 5, 2024

Zaytoun at 20: Mike Whitehead is one of the dedicated Zaytoun supporters who has gone the extra mile to sell Zaytoun locally, and visit Palestine to see farming life there for himself. This is his perspective on what drives him.

When I first visited Palestine in 2005 my eyes were opened to the extent of the oppression under which the Palestinians lived. Trying to engage my trades union branch with the need to take action, I encountered resistance from the Branch Secretary. 

So, instead of campaigning against Israeli occupation, I looked for ways to support Palestinians. Zaytoun olive oil was the answer. I was able to buy some bottles from a local distributor, Sandy Stuart. And the trade union branch was happy for me to sell them at union meetings. 

Thereafter, I became a distributor myself and worked with Sandy to become a presence at local events. I’ve enjoyed meeting people on so many occasions. I’ve also been to Zaytoun events while on trips to Palestine. Meeting the farmers and producers there has been so inspiring. Particularly to see the energy and efforts of the local farmers while taking their olives to the Sabastiya olive press for processing into their delicious olive oil. It was a privilege to witness this. 

With COVID-19 putting an end to meetings, I started to sell to friends and supporters.  They are also keen to maintain this important connection with, and support for Palestinians living under a harsh military occupation. Aid has its place, but trade is a balanced relationship – both sides benefit. For me, it’s the delicious Zaytoun olive oil and other products which keep me healthy and connected. 

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