As a way of showing solidarity with Palestinians some dioceses in the UK have been using Palestinian olive oil for the Chrism Service in Holy Week and for services that include anointing.
75% of Palestinians live in poverty and often over half the countries olive harvest goes unsold and spoils due to the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation of the land. Farmers bringing in the harvest face severe difficulties arising from military closure of the land and violence from illegal settlers.
Olive trees are the most important cultivated tree crop for Palestinian farmers and nearly all production comes from small terraced fields and old trees of local varieties. Summers are hot and dry, rainfall low, water resources scarce and irrigation impossible. The last harvest was only 20% of the usual crop due to a five year drought and severe water restriction by the Israeli Government and severe winds in the spring blowing off much of the blossom.
Zaytoun is a small UK ‘not for profit’ company established to purchase and import olive oil from Palestinian farmers at Fair Trade prices and Fairtrade certification was awarded last year. The cooperative now supports 1,000 farmers, and 5,000 family members, through its sales of olive oil and other products.
A leaflet showing how we can support and be in solidarity with peacemakers in Palestine and Israel is available free by post from the Pax Christi Office in London. For more information call: 0208 203 4884 or see: www.paxchristi.org.uk/Wall.HTML
The oil can be ordered directly from ZAYTOUN and is available in five litre cans and in various size bottles from: www.zaytoun.org