Fairtrade farmers ordered to uproot 1400 olive trees by Israeli Civil Administration
Fairtrade International has received news that the Israeli Civil Administration has ordered nine Palestinian olive farmers of Deir Istiya, Salfit on the West Bank to uproot 1,400 olive trees in Wadi Qana area by 1 May 2012. An additional 600 trees were added to this number as a second notice was handed out.
According the Fairtrade Foundation’s report: “This is the largest order to uproot trees that the farmers of Wadi Qana have ever been given. Most of the trees were planted about five years ago on privately owned Palestinian property. The orders, placed on retaining terraces, rocks and fences in the vicinity of the trees, state that if the farmers do not uproot their trees they will face punishment which could, according to Deir Istiya mayor Nazmi Salman, include large fines and imprisonment.”
There is a protest camp of approximately 70 local farmers, international and Israeli activists at the site. As of this afternoon the olive trees were still standing but protestors and supporters are worried that the bulldozers could come at any time.
“These olive oil farmers are very valued partners in our Fairtrade system. We have been very inspired by stories of how Fairtrade certified olive oil cooperatives in Palestine have worked to improve their communities. We are now quite concerned about the impact this will have for their livelihoods,” said Tuulia Syvaenen, Executive Operating Officer at Fairtrade International.