‘The season has passed’: Gaza olive farmers struggle to salvage harvest

west bank olive IOF IDF
(Photo: Twitter/X)
GAZA – The temporary ceasefire in Gaza has provided a crucial window of opportunity for farmers to salvage what remains of their olive harvest. After enduring weeks of relentless bombardment, many were forced to abandon their lands, resulting in severe damage. According to Al-Mamlaka TV, the Israeli Occupation Forces destroyed, drove, and forcibly expelled farmers from their properties.اضافة اعلان

"The war has utterly destroyed us; there is virtually no production... all the fruits and trees are on the ground," lamented Fathi Abu Salah, a farmer from Gaza.

Abu Salah revealed that under normal circumstances, they would harvest enough olives to fill 12 containers, but this year, they anticipate filling just one due to the extensive damage. Compounding their challenges is a shortage of fuel essential for transporting olives to the nearest press.

"As a farmer, I utilized these six days of the ceasefire to collect the olives. I tried every available means during these six days despite the difficulties," shared Abu Salah.

The season has passed
At the Wafi press in Khan Yunis, olive oil pressing machines faced weeks of delays. To transport sacks of olives to the press, farmers resorted to using donkey-drawn carts. Mohammed Wafi, the press director, explained that the press operation requires electricity and solar power, both of which are scarce in the region. He recounted how his olive harvest fell to the ground before he could reach his land to gather it. Wafi pointed out that some farmers couldn't harvest any olives, while others managed only a small fraction of their anticipated yield.

In lamentation, he concluded,  "The season has passed."

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