Between October 15th and November 18th, we’re bringing Jewish activists from around the world to join in the olive harvest for week-long shifts in this timely and impactful act of coresistance.
Applications for our Olive Harvest program are currently closed.
About the project
The olive harvest is a significant time of the year in Palestinian society, as it is vital to Palestinian agricultural economy and cultural heritage. Tens of thousands of Palestinian families depend on the olive harvest as their primary source of income. During the harvest season, participants will accompany Palestinians farmers and families on their lands to help in the harvest, act as a protective presence, and document when necessary. Oftentimes we will be accompanying families to fields that are targeted by settlers, and are therefore particularly difficult to access. For that reason, it is crucial that there are activists present to support in the harvest, document, and nonviolently co-resist against this settler-state violence.
Participants will communicate their experiences to international audiences, crafting narratives that advance co-resistance efforts. They will work with Palestinian activists and communities to highlight their stories and experiences living and resisting under apartheid, serving to further amplify partners’ voices. Over the course of the project, participants will build relationships that will expand and strengthen CJNV’s working network of solidarity and co-resistance.
CJNV will provide participants with group lodging, food, logistical support, training, and facilitation. Participants will be staying in a collective-house environment.
The olive harvest season is usually from mid-October until mid-November. We hope to have a presence of activists for the entirety of this season, but that is contingent upon availability and interest. We are asking those who wish to join to plan to spend a minimum of 7 days in the area, with the possibility of joining for longer if you are able. Our hope is to have at least 4 activists in the region during any given week (accompanied by CJNV staff). A week-long period of participation will include an orientation, field work (for the majority of the time), and a debrief session.
Background and Context
The olive harvest is a powerful moment of sumud (steadfastness), in which Palestinian farmers and families tend their olive trees and work their land as they have for generations. It is a symbolic and material act of resistance to land theft and expulsion and an affirmation of Palestinian livelihood and culture. For this reason, it is also a time of increased settler-state violence, where settlers and army violently try to keep Palestinians from reaching their ancestral lands and harvesting their olives. As Jews, it is a meaningful act of solidarity and co-resistance to show up with our partners in this moment – to materially support by harvesting olives and documenting human rights violations, as well as to stand in solidarity with our partners against land theft, settler-state violence, and systems of oppression and segregation that allow one community to flourish at the expense of the other.
We know from experience that the presence of solidarity activists mitigates settler and military violence against local activists and community residents in Area C of the occupied West Bank. CJNV has forged dynamic, sustained, and trusting relationships in solidarity with communities throughout the region across more than eight years of co-resistance against state violence and dispossession.
Purpose and Desired Impacts
This project will offer solidarity while expanding the capacity for joint civil disobedience and sustained action in the region. We will leverage our Jewish privilege to mitigate violence against residents of the region and provide frontline support to Palestinian communities at this crucial time. We will amplify the voices and stories of our Palestinian partners while meaningfully contributing to nonviolent popular struggle and resilience in the region.
This project aims to model a Jewish ethical vision anchored in values of solidarity, justice, and equality. During a time central to Palestinian livelihood and culture, when Israeli settler-state violence functions in full force to suppress and harass communities, we choose to stand in solidarity with them, struggle against these violent realities, and actively demonstrate a Jewish commitment to joint resistance and collective freedom.
We are committed to creating an environment that is comfortable, safe and supportive for all participating activists, but individuals must decide for themselves if this kind of activity is within their capability. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Time doing solidarity work in the West Bank can be draining and intense! Some days/nights will involve time outside in the heat and/or cold, variable weather is to be expected, and activities will include physical labor (primarily harvesting olives which involves standing underneath a tree and picking olives). Participating activists will likely be climbing staircases without railings as well as walking on dirt roads and over rocky landscapes. Sleeping and housing conditions will be comfortable, but it is important to note that we may be staying in rural communities with limited electricity and water access, and comfort and amenity standards may be different than what you are used to. No one will be asked to overexert themselves, and participating activists will be encouraged to set a work pace that is comfortable for them.
Additionally, we recognize that each of us brings different relationships to our health. We’ll do our best to support everyone. While we warmly support folks to wear masks if you choose, mask wearing in Israel/Palestine is very uncommon right now and it’s likely that people will not be masked in most places where we’ll be.
If you have more questions about accessibility during CJNV’s on-the-ground programming, please reach out to a member of CJNV’s on-the-ground staff: Oriel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dina (email@example.com)