In the midst of the horrific Israel-Hamas war, it's olive harvest time in the West Bank where PARC olive oil is produced. Palestinian olive farmers are currently picking their olives with challenges and threats because there have been many Israeli settler attacks against them. Farmers can only harvest from the olive trees close to them since their lives would be at risk if they picked olives in the hills far from their homes. The olive mills started operating in mid-October, but have not run at full capacity given the Israeli settler violence against Palestinians. In addition, the Israeli military is prohibiting farmers from entering some of their lands to pick their olive trees behind the separation wall. Also, this year, due to alternative fruit-bearing years and climate change, the productivity of the 2023 olive oil season is expected to be lower in comparison with last year—about half of what it was.
Olive farming is both economically and culturally important in the West Bank. Many of the olive trees on these farms have been passed down from generation to generation, representing deep familial ties to the land. The farmers work closely with the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC). As a nonprofit organization they promote the sustainable economic development of 41 farmer cooperatives, improve water supply and critical infrastructure, and provide social services for women, children, and families in the West Bank.