Britain and Germany have blocked Palestinian member in the International Olive Council. Palestinians wanted to join the council to further development of the Palestinian olive industry. Observers believe that Britain and Germany blocked the Palestinian bid on the basis that it threatened the ‘peace process’ between Palestinians and their Israeli occupiers. Palestinians argue that the International Olive Council is primarily a technical body, providing opportunities for grants and training, and that in any case ‘peace talks’ are stalled and it is time to move on in some areas. Sectors of Israeli political spectrum oppose the Palestinian Authority joining international organisations, anything that solidifies the idea of a Palestinian nation.
Olive trees are a vital part of Palestinian life. Palestinians produce a surplus of olive oil and struggle to find export sales from inside occupied Palestine. Thousands of olive trees have been destroyed by militant Israeli settlers in the West Bank in 2012 and 2013. Recently the Palestinian Authority announced a plan to plant 750,000 olive seedlings throughout the West Bank, to expand olive production. Solidarity activists in Britain have mounted a campaign to sell Palestinian olive oil outside Palestine to make Palestinians less dependent on local brokers. (To purchase Palestinian olive oil and other Palestinian products in Hastings, call: Gill 01 424 715881)
Write to Amber Rudd and the Foreign Secretary William Hague, asking them to be aware of this issue and to withdraw British objections to the Palestinian Authority being a full member of the International Olive Council.