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On United Nations Day, UNRWA with sister UN agencies Join Palestine Refugee farmer in Beit Iksa northwest of Jerusalem for Olive Harvest
Download multimedia material from activity here.
To mark the theme of United Nations Day 2022, “Nourishing Peace”, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and other UN agencies in the West Bank held an olive harvest event. UNRWA organizes this event every year in solidarity with Palestine refugee farmers.
Held this year in Beit Iksa village, northwest of Jerusalem, the event was attended by the Director of UNRWA Affairs in the West Bank, Mr. Adam Bouloukos, and more than 100 employees from UN agencies in the West Bank. The UN colleagues helped the Hababa family of 80 refugees with picking olives.
“To Palestinians, the annual olive harvest is of vital economic, social and cultural significance. Olive orchards represent nearly half of all cultivated land in the West Bank,” said Bouloukos. “Beit Iksa and the families here have been undergoing very challenging circumstances due to their isolated location. Over the years, Israeli land confiscation has resulted in the loss of tens of dunams of the village land, denying residents access to their basic livelihoods.”
The activity included a brief presentation by Beit Iksa mayor, Mr. Murad Zayedon the challenges faced by refugees in the village in which he noted, “The suffering of Beit Iksa villagers is endless; no one is allowed to visit us in our village without prior coordination through the village council, this includes commodities and all of Beit Iksa needs. Even guests who visit us after coordination can’t stay later than 11 pm. We feel isolated and forgotten. In the name of the people of Beit Iksa, I congratulate all of the UN agencies on UN day and I thank them for this very nice gesture.”
Notes to Editors
- Beit Iksa village is only seven kilometers away from Jerusalem. It is home to 2,000 residents, most of them Palestine refugees.
- In addition to UNRWA, the following UN agencies participated in the event: UNOPS, UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and the UN Resident Coordinator Office.
- The village has been isolated by a wall, part of the West Bank Barrier, and a checkpoint at its entrance. As a result, it is now segregated from the surrounding villages. Non-residents are allowed to enter the village only after going through inspection and delays.
- The Beit Iksa village is surrounded by the three Israeli settlements: Ramot, Mavaseret and Har Shmuel.
- People of the village were displaced twice in 1948 and 1967. The majority of them fled to Jordan and did not return to their village.
- Many of the village’s residents receive medical-health services from the UNRWA Health center in the neighboring village of Biddu.
- Residents of Beit Iksa village face severe restrictions accessing their lands, particularly those living adjacent to the Israeli settlement “Ramot". The Israeli authorities have closed most roads that lead to the lands. Residents are often unable to do plowing and tree trimming. Many are now forced to walk more than half an hour to reach their land when previously this took a few minutes.
UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.
UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.
UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.
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