Update from Zaytoun

October 13, 2023

Thank you for your messages of support and concern for our suppliers and friends in Palestine. We can reassure you that everyone we work with is currently safe, albeit very apprehensive about what lies ahead as we all witness the devastating violence that has taken the lives of countless innocent civilians. All lives are precious and should be safe from the sort of heinous attacks we’ve seen over the past week. 

We are witnessing the relentless bombardment of Gaza and the displacement of hundreds of thousands. Water, electricity, fuel and food supplies have been cut off, and a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented magnitude is unfolding before our eyes. Today, we woke up to news that 1.1 million Gazans have been told to evacuate their homes and make a perilous and uncertain journey to the south of the Gaza strip. This would be the largest population transfer in Palestinian history. Gaza’s population, already comprised of 70% refugees from the Nakba of 1948 and the 1967 war, are to become refugees again in that small, overcrowded open air prison. 

West Bank
Meanwhile, the West Bank is under a military lockdown. Roadblocks have long made movement difficult, but it is the increasingly violent attacks by settlers – armed and under full police protection – that now pose the highest risk to anyone wishing to travel within the territory. At the time of writing, the death toll in the West Bank since Saturday is said to have reached 44 civilians, with several hundreds injured. 

These horrific developments come at a time of year when Medjoul date and olive producers would be reaping the fruits of the hard work they had put in all year. These harvests provide crucial livelihoods and food security for hundreds of thousands of rural families. 

Growers are only halfway through harvesting and sorting the Medjoul dates and there is a risk of their harvest spoiling if not processed in a timely manner due to workers’ inability to reach their places of work. The situation is equally grim for the olive harvest which is not yet gathered. 

Everyone we speak to in Palestine shares our absolute horror at the escalation of violence. They ask for: equality, justice, dignity, freedom, and an immediate end to the siege on Gaza. We continue to hope that the international community recognises the urgent need for a viable long-term solution, based on international law so that all communities can live in safety and peace.

What can we do together?
We trade with Palestine in order to support the resilience of communities living under an illegal and increasingly brutal occupation. It is at times like these that our and your support really counts.

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