Pickup from Airport (can be arranged for $120 USD)
Lunch on Arrival & Departure Day
Every year, the Israeli military and Israeli settler movement uproots, poisons, and sets fire to hundreds of olive trees. Holy Land Trust’s Olive Harvest Program is organized as a means to stand in solidarity with the indigenous communities who wish to remain on their lands despite this harassment. This effort to help Palestinian farmers is one of our longest-running programs and remains vital and necessary even to this day. Whether they come for a one day trip or for two weeks, each year we bring hundreds of participants to go out with Palestinian farmers to pick olives from their groves. Join us in the fall to help us with this critical project. While you are here, you can participate in one of our fact-finding tours. This will help situate your olive harvest experience within the broader political and cultural context in the Holy Land.
Holy Land Trust continues to update its curriculum to reflect the shifting realities on-the-ground. The political situation continues to change, and new research continues to shed light on the culture and history of the region. As an organization, we push ourselves to keep the program relevant to the realities of the present-day. With the Olive Harvest, we also make sure to put a focus on the regional development of Israeli settlements and how that impacts local communities.
From ancient times to the present-day, we explore the historical connection between the indigenous people of the Holy Land and the olive tree. The olive tree represents more than just food and commerce, it has become intimately connected, as a symbol, to the work of peace and justice. As a group, we will examine how olive trees have been systematically destroyed since 1948 and, in many cases, replaced with non-indigenous forestry by the Israeli government, leading to subsequent degradation of the environment.
During your time spent with local families, you will delve deeper into rural life and learn how these communities center their life on the land. You’ll learn customs, historical narratives, and a way of life that in many ways is very different from living in the urban centers of Jerusalem, Ramallah, or Bethlehem.
As you get to know more about the role the olive industry plays in the economic development of the Holy Land, you’ll come to understand why Israeli policies specifically target the olive trees as a mechanism for displacement – a key feature in any program of settler-colonialism. You will also learn about the different initiatives enacted by Palestinian, Israeli, and international NGOs to change the legal landscape and safeguard the rights of indigenous communities.
You’ll find that working hand-in-hand with locals leads to a greater sense of the Palestinian concept of “Sumud” – steadfastness. Through these experiences of solidarity, our participants come to a deeper understanding of what it means to live under, and resist, systems of oppression.
Day 1: Arrival. Meeting representatives from the organizing institutions for an overview and discussion of the program.
Day 2: Half day picking olives at a selected field. After lunch, political tour and sightseeing in Bethlehem, including the visit of a refugee camp and Church of Nativity. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 3: Visit to the Palestine Museum of Natural History with Dr. Mazin Qumsieh. A tour in the old city of Hebron: Visiting the Ibrahimi Mosque. Guided tour in Hebron old city, market, H1/H2 areas, Shuhada street. Visiting a glass factory. Free time. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 4: Half day picking olives at a selected field in, followed by Presentation on the ongoing displacement, the refugee questions and ongoing displacement with BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugees’ Rights. Dinner and Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 5: Free day.
Day 6: Half day picking olives at a selected field, followed by lunch. Visiting an olive press. Geopolitical presentation for a presentation on the Apartheid Wall, colonies (settlements) and land confiscation. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 7: Full day of picking olives at a selected field, lunch included. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 8: Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem. Lunch, followed by a tour with an Israeli activist around Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 9: Half day picking olives at a field. Lunch. Advocacy session and future planning. Farewell dinner with Palestinian Folklore Dance Performance. Overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 10: Departure.
Unlike other tours that focus more on going from city to city, the Olive Harvest allows participants to spend longer periods of time with a handful of communities. This creates an environment conducive to forming bonds of friendship and solidarity with the Palestinian families we interact with. By immersing yourself in these communities, and living the local lifestyle, you will be able to form deeper, and more authentic, relationships.
The information provided on your tour will also provide a better understanding of Israel’s program of settler colonialism and indigenous resistance to domination. You will tour with other international participants, visit NGOs, and meet civic leaders on-the-ground in places like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ramallah. This sets the table for you to build a network of other individuals dedicated to a just peace and to stay fully immersed in the program and engaged in meaningful ways.
Explore all the historical sites and political centers of the Holy Land: Ramallah, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Hebron, Bethlehem, and more!
Develop connections with leading NGOs that are working to create a better, sustainable future of peace and justice in the Holy Land.
Engage in over a dozen lectures that range from the themes of the Nakba to the construction of Jewish identity.
Eat all the authentic Palestinian and Israeli dishes you can handle!