ZaitoonTree: What is ZaitoonTree?

What is ZaitoonTree?

In Palestine, olive trees are grown by hand throughout the years and the local farmers harvest them every year on a special season when the olives mature, thus producing better oil. It is said that 80% of the farmed land in Palestine consists of olive orchards1.

An olive tree can live for hundreds of years. In fact, some trees in Jerusalem are said to have lived since the times of prophet Jesus 2. Unfortunately trees in the West bank cannot live that long any more as the occupation tends to bulldoze olive farms often 3. Fancy tasting the Palestinian olive oil? Check out Palestinian Fair Trade Association in the UK.

The olive tree has always been a symbol for connection with the land; its long wide trunk is used as a metaphor for the people withstanding their rights against the occupation; its dense, thick branches and leafs reflect the networks of people from all around the world supporting the Palestinians to get their rights as fellow humans. This is what ZaitoonTree stands for.

Haja Mahfotha's Trees, (Aljazeera 2007)4

The ZaitoonTree initiative was launched to provide an insight on Palestine from a unique angle. The manifesto of the Palestinian cause on the global and local media networks has always been the political instability, poverty, suffering and humanitarian aid. People from the Americas, Europe, Eastern Asia and elsewhere have long looked at Palestine and the Palestinians through the Israeli perspective.

At ZaitoonTree we aim to view Palestine and its people from their own perspective; How it is like to live there, what are the local and international events that take place, what do people do to earn their living and most importantly, how people are living their every day lives under the direct Israeli occupation. All of which is to be discussed online between communities via video conferencing techniques.

  1. A Brief Study of Olives and Olive Oil in Palestine available at Accessed 7 Dec, 2011
  2. Lewington and Parker (1999), Ancient Trees,pp 110-113 [According to Wikipedia, available at]. Accessed 7 Dec,2011.
  3. Not much of an olive branch , The Economist on Oct 15th 2009. Available at Accessed 7 Dec,2011.
  4. Accessed 9 Dec, 2011 [Arabic]

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