East Kent Justice for Palestinians - Joint with Fairtrade

7.30 pm Wednesday 2 March 2011
St Peter's Anglican Church Hall, St Peter's Lane, Canterbury

impact of the Occupation on Palestinian olive farming

Our speakers on 2 March

On Wednesday 2nd March, the East Kent Group for Justice for Palestinians will be hosting a visit by two Palestinians olive farmers who produce Zaytoun olive oil – the world’s first Fairtrade olive oil, from the country with some of the oldest olive groves in the world, now farmed under very difficult conditions.

The two olive farmers are Bassema Basalat and Riziq Abu Nasser, and they will be accompanied by Taysir Arbasi, Zaytoun’s Director in Palestine.

Bassema Basalat is a Palestinian mother of 4 as well as an olive and za'atar producer. She lives in Haja village with her farmer husband and a wide farming family. She also trained as an architect - “Women are best at multi-tasking” she laughs.

In 2004 she co-founded the women's development association in Haja, to help train women to be economically independent, and bring income to their families. Bassema's family is facing land theft from nearby Israeli settlements. Twenty dunums of her family grove is no longer accessible due to illegal settlement building

"Our Friday activity is to go and plant olive trees, for our future and for the children as well. We love the olive tree as part of the family"

“My favourite recipes use za'atar – I plant the herbs in my land, watch them growing and mill them for my own kitchen”

Riziq Abu Nasser is an olive farmer from the village of Deir Istya, in the Salfit district. Riziq did a tour of Devon during Fairtrade Fortnight 2009. His village, Deir Istya, faces a number of challenges including raw sewage from the settlements being pumped into their valley, polluting their water, and military destruction of their olive trees.

Taysir Arbasi is Zaytoun’s Director in Palestine. He lives in Salfeet district which is an area highly dependent on olive cultivation and one which has seen much of its rich agricultural resources stolen through the construction of illegal settlements.

Taysir has been working with community agricultural projects for over ten years and has been instrumental in the grass roots campaign against the building of the illegal annexation wall in the West Bank. Taysir is passionate about the rights of the small farmer and of the Palestinian people and an advocate of the power of fair trade.

Taysir works as Zaytoun’s Palestine Operations Manager and is our central contact and representative there. With an in depth knowledge of the agricultural sector Taysir keeps Zaytoun informed of all developments within the fair trade movement in Palestine. He guides tours organised by Zaytoun in Palestine and participates in UK speaking tours.Our speakers on 2 March:

The meeting will be at 7.30 pm in St Peter’s C of E Church Hall, Canterbury (that’s NOT the Methodist Church but the one opposite, on the corner of St Peter’s Street and St Peter’s Lane). See map.

For political background to the olive tree campaign see this YouTube clip

There is also a lunch time meeting at the university with Mark Thomas.

Where to buy Zaytoun olive oil locally.